Ask for referrals!!!

Asking for referrals, sourced from Practice Builders

Did you ever wonder why some Healthcare Practitioners only get 10% of their new patients from patient referrals, while others get as many as 70%? Probably the biggest reason is they let their existing patients know they like to get patient referrals – that means they consistently “ask” them for referrals

Me, ask for referrals? I don’t think so – I’d look needy, greedy, even sleazy! Well, if that’s the reason you don’t ask for referrals, I suggest you change your thought patterns. Think more in terms of “helping” your patients’ friends to prevent them from developing problems. Isn’t that what you really do?

Develop one or two “scripts” that you feel comfortable with and practice delivering them. Here’s an example of a general script you can adapt:

“Well, I’ve checked for skin cancer and you’re in good shape – nothing to worry about. But, you know, some people go 2 or 3 years without a comprehensive check up, sometimes resulting in very serious problems which could have been prevented had the condition been identified in the early stages.

So, if you have any friends who are putting their health at risk by not having annual checks, please send them along to me and I’ll check them out…. OK?

(And for those brave hearts amongst you) Here, let me give you one of my brochures you can pass along to them”

Or if you are treating a specific condition (for example) patient:

“You know, so many people in this area suffer from skin cancer because they don’t know that it is so easily treated if caught early. So, if you know anyone you think may have skin cancer, please get them call me so we can help them with it, just like we did with you…. OK?”

Need an incentive to do it? How about adding 10% to your revenues every year with the additional patient referrals you can generate. Maybe worth making the effort, huh?

This is sourced from

  1. #1 by Dr Ian Katz on January 2, 2011 - 7:09 am

    John Pyne wrote:
    Referrals are important and facilitate the passage of information between the Doctors involved. This is a fundamental foundation for good practice and should be the routine for Doctors with a recognized higher level of training and skill in a particular area of medicine.

  2. #2 by Dr Ian Katz on January 2, 2011 - 7:14 am

    I think what I was referring to was referrals/recommendations from existing patients to their friends and relatives to come to you for a skin cancer check.

    John, I think, is referring to referrals from other doctors for patients to come and see you.

    Both are important for building your practice.

    Referrals from other doctors can be formal or informal. How many skin cancer doctors formally send letters to the patients’ regular GP or even copies of Pathology reports, even if not formally referred? Is there a recommendation/policy from the Skin Cancer College?

  3. #3 by John Pyne on January 18, 2011 - 10:15 am

    Hi Ian,

    No formal College policy. What you said is correct.


  4. #4 by Dr Gamani Goonetilleka on June 10, 2012 - 11:54 am

    I agree with what John and Ian have stated. I have a practice of always asking patients to continue their skin checks as an ongoing process for the rest of their natural lives and asking them to ensure anyone they know including relatives to do the same. I must however add that I personally believe Skin Cancer Clinic Doctors MUST liaise with their patients’ GP’s as a matter of routine, and write to them giving them at least every now and then, a summary of what has been done to their patient INCLUDING copies of Histopathology as necessary. I believe in this way there will be invariably far better relationships with the GP’s and further, MANY GP’s would willingly REFER their patients to Skin Cancer clinics most easily accessible to their patients, for skin checks and the like, provided they believe the service given is GOOD and when they know they get necesssary feed back. In this way the overall patient care and outcomes for everyone concerned will be far better. There IS another factor to consider here however. Something I have personally encountered fairly often, in that many patients on asking if I could write to their GP re their consultation and treatment by me, have specifically said “NO”. In these instances the referral has been from sources OTHER than the patient’s GP. This of course causes a ‘Gap’ in the communication system. I am unsure how to deal with this. In such instances I have not communicated with the relevant GP though I ALWAYS write back to the referring Doctor or convey what has happened via a linked IT communication system.
    Dr Gamani Goonetilleka

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