Creating relationships with primary care physicians is a process, the same as it is with patients. The main ingredient is mutual trust, and that trust develops over time. Once mutual trust is attained, there will be an abundance of reciprocal referrals.
The most important thing to remember is that you have a stake in your patients’ health, and so does the medical doctor. Chiropractic does not replace traditional medical care; it is a partnership.
Here are some tips to help foster positive relationships with your patients’ primary care physicians:
- You should update your patients’ personal information regularly. It’s a major inconvenience if you can’t contact your patients because they have moved, changed phone numbers and/or changed jobs. At least once a year (and preferably twice a year), update your patient files. Give patients a form asking them for the following information: name, address, home phone, work phone (ask if you have permission to contact the patient at work, if necessary), e-mail address, insurance information, and the name and contact information of their primary care physician.
- Create a letter of introduction to a PCP commonly listed by your patients by beginning with the statement: “According to our records, several of our patients have listed you as their primary care physician. It is for that reason that I am contacting you. I would like to introduce myself and give you some information with regard to the care your patients receive in my office.”
The introduction should be in the form a professionally presented report folder and should include the following:
- cover letter introducing you and your practice;
- your office brochure;
- a pamphlet about chiropractic care;
- several business cards;
- your treatment philosophy (care plans, exercise program, nutritional counseling, etc.);
- your referral policy (especially with regard to returning patients to their PCP);
- any articles that you have had published;
- end your letter with the request for similar information from the PCP.
- Send progress reports to the PCP regularly (be sure to ask permission from your patient). Educate the PCP on ways chiropractic adjustments can augment the care of their patients. You can do this by sending pamphlets or newsletters regularly.
- Ask your patients to let their PCP know how they are responding to your treatment. When your patients get results, the PCP will begin to send others your way.
- Invite the PCP to lunch and to visit your office.
- Send a fruit basket to the PCP and his or her entire staff, when you receive one or two referrals.
- Consider delivering your professional report folder personally so you can introduce yourself to the PCP and his or her staff.
- Creating relationships with primary care physicians can be a valuable way to expand your practice, but the most important reason to cultivate these relationships is to give your patients the best care possible. When your patients know you are ensuring they receive optimal care, you will be establishing a health-care partnership. It just doesn’t get better than that.