Strengthening connections with referring providers

Specialist looks at mammogram
Maintaining connections with referring physicians are the lifeblood of specialty practices

As a specialist the life-blood of your practice is likely to be referrals from primary care physicians. Developing relationships with medical professionals is a complex and challenging process that requires strategic thinking that is not often covered in practice management.

Just as implementing a patient engagement strategy is key to patient connection, activation and retention; adopting an engagement marketing strategy for your referral physicians will produce greater connections with PCPs that will yield long-term benefits in referrals.

As a physician yourself you already know what works and doesn’t work for those who want to contact you for the purpose of establishing a business relationship.

For a broader perspective, the annual survey by the HealthLink Dimensions Healthcare Professional Communications Survey polled 734 physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to gain further detail on provider preferences in terms of marketing and communications. Here are some key findings:


Healthcare providers are continually seeking quality information backed by clinical evidence. Respondents cited UpToDate, medical journals and WebMD as their most frequent resources when looking for clinical information. At the same time, they welcome new sources of reliable information about diagnostic and treatment innovations. Tops among alternative information resources are continuing education opportunities (77 percent), followed by news of research findings, product approvals, prescribing updates and educational events.

Email is preferred communications channel

An overwhelming majority (73 percent) of respondents said they prefer contact by email, compared to only 29 percent who use social media for communications with other professionals. It is important to note that half of the respondents view their email on their mobile devices while on the go.

While the volume of email providers receive is huge, respondents indicated they pay particular attention to insurance carriers, PPO networks, and pharmacy benefits plans with 72 percent saying they would welcome more frequent updates and nearly 53 percent citing email as the most efficient way of getting such information to them.

Information that empowers patients

Patient education and support materials provided by healthcare companies and advocacy groups are welcomed by 78.6 percent of the providers, and information from pharmaceutical and device companies that promotes better patient outcomes are welcome by 68 percent of respondents.

The takeaway

If your physician liaison program is already using email to connect with your referring physicians, make sure to hone the messaging to provide your PCPs with new and useful information and education specifically about changes, or advances in your specialty and how those benefit your PCPs patients.

If your liaison program doesn’t include email, consider adding some form of regular email communication with your referring providers. The advantage to email are many, but for your PCPs email is preferred, allows regular connection, drives traffic to your blog where you have the the ability to strengthen your authority and enhance your relationships with referring providers.

Medical Digest Publications is dedicated to providing the healthcare content that connects with your patients and referring providers. We work with your liaison program to augment and enhance your referrals. For more information, contact us at 206 499-3479 or at