Academy of Chiropractic
MD Referral Program
MD Meetings – Primary Care
William J Owens Jr DC DAAMLP CPC
“If you do NOT have a plan, you are part of someone else’s” – Terrance McKenna
Concentrated Exposure – Part I
One of the most common mistakes in marketing your practice is assuming that people will remember you. I had this mindset for many years and mistakenly thought that once I made an introduction to a medical doctor, specialist or mid-level (physician’s assistant/nurse practitioner), I was on the grid; they would see patients and remember who I was, what I did and refer me hundreds of patients. All I would have to do is show up at the clinic, adjust patients, collect my money and go home. WRONG.
What I had yet to experience was the benefit of concentrated exposure. The primary tenant of concentrated exposure is to AVOID over-exposure. Concentrated exposure is about being on the medical community’s mind at the time you are fading. I cannot stress enough that there is a line between concentrated exposure and over-exposure; with some people that can be very thin, so you have to be persistent but not annoying. Let’s take a look at a typical scenario done the right way.
Your office identifies a medical practice that you would like to build an ethical relationship based on cooperative patient care and mutual respect. Here is the list of things to do:
Enter them into the grid – Forward the name of the new office contact to your staff or marketing person (if you are just starting out, you will probably be doing this yourself) to be put into the MD relationship grid. That is a living list and contains the names of all the potential referring practitioners, the addresses of their clinics, phone numbers, fax numbers and if you can get them, e-mail addresses of the providers. E-mail is not a “first date” thing and usually does not apply until later in the relationship, you have to know them a little bit before you ask for it. Obtaining an office or personal email is key for your long-term success and will automate your efforts.
The information that you take to the MD office should contain an updated version of your CV. Remember, the CV is a living document. If you have staff, please take the 10 minutes required to teach your staff members what your CV is. Then all you need to do each time you take a CE course or get a new certification is to e-mail them the entry. They can keep it updated. The most resent date of update should be in the footer. That way you don’t get confused and send the wrong outdated copy. Your staff needs to be familiar with the CV builder at www.uschirodirectory.com. If you are just starting out, you will need to do this yourself. If you need help, schedule a time to talk to me about this, I will help you. If you are far behind and never had a CV completed before, simply call the organization that approved your course work for CE. That may be a State Organization or a chiropractic school, either way they are required to keep copies of all your CE in one transcript. Additionally, you will take a copy of the patient’s more current evaluation (E&M) and any imaging studies or special tests that you have.
This new office is added to your scheduled stops. Always be sure that you are recalculating your route to make it as efficient as possible. You, the doctor, MUST make an appearance at least every 6-8 weeks. The rest can be done by your staff. Remember, the goal is to share information clinically and demonstrate credentials. That is why the CV and report, keep it clinical and profession and you will succeed.
Climb the ladder – This is the part that should be foremost in the doctor’s mind AT ALL TIMES. In any professional relationship, it is critical to get to the decision maker. In this case, it is the people that refer. In fact, this may not even be the MD. I personally get more referrals from mid-level providers than I do from MDs, especially in the family/primary care world. You will most likely get more direct referrals from the MD specialists (ortho, neuro or pain management). The visiting person from your office (staff member, CA or you) is looking to build relationships in the following order. Follow this golden rule and don’t skip anyone. This is what makes it work.
The speed at which you reach the providers depends on how you are received and whether you have met them previously or not.
Meeting with the provider is the end of the first stage of the game. The second stage is to continue to be there and provide clinical documentation on shared patients. The initial meeting is about reviewing credentials and putting chiropractic on the evidence-based level. This is NOT about soliciting patients or pandering for referrals. You are discussing with the MD (or mid-level) your expertise, the patient report and their response to your care. You provide an explanation about proper documentation and being part of a team. Teaching through reporting, that showcases your credentials.
When you see one of the provider’s patients (referral or not, sometimes it was a family referral to your office, but they are under the care of the MD you are building a relationship with), complete the examination and the note as usual and have your staff call the MD’s office and say,”This is [staff member’s name] from Dr Owens’ office. I wanted to let you know that Ms. Jones has been seen in our office and I will be sending over the consultation on her visit for your records.” SHORT, SWEET and to the point. In a normal course of work you would typically fax the document over to the MD office, however when you are looking to make an introduction or visit them, I would HAND DELIVER the report along with an updated copy of your CV. That is it…