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Referrals: Tips for specialists to build relationships with GPs

Doctor with patient explaining details with a tablet

GP referrals help you grow your patient base, so it’s important to build rapport with your GPs in your local area to ensure the success of your practice

Tips for building your relationships with GPs 

Communication and support runs both ways. Try to arrange a virtual or in-person session so GPs can expand their knowledge of your specialty and build trust in your skills. If you work in public hospitals, build awareness with other doctors in the hospital, including other specialties. 

You can also:

  • Send newsletters or some form of regular communications to your GP network, so your practice stays front of mind.
  • Once you’ve seen a GP’s patient, give the referring doctor a call to fill them in on the consult. If a phone call isn’t practical, send an electronic letter to keep the GP informed and suggest a course of action. This ensures the GP is prepared to discuss next steps with the patient.
  • Give them your mobile number so you’re easily contactable.
  • Define your unique selling points and promote them to GPs. 
  • Attend industry events so you can meet providers, including GPs, outside of your specialty.  

Learn more about your referrers by analysing practice data

Do you know which GPs are referring their patients to you? How often they refer? And what those referrals mean to your practice financially and in terms of building your reputation?  

One of the great benefits of practice management software like Genie and Gentu is that you can see where your main referrals are coming from – including the name of the doctor, their location, the number of referrals over time and the amount of revenue generated from those referrals.

How to maintain referrals

If you know who is referring, you can focus on fostering existing relationships, which generally leads to more repeat referrals over time. To show your appreciation to high-value referrers or frequent referrers you can:

  • Send thank you notes
  • Call them for a more personal thank you
  • Recommend your patients who are in need of a GP 

Relationships with other specialists can also help you build your network and expand your patient base too.   

Provide good communication to patients and peers

Like any business, your practice needs to provide a good experience to peers (GPs, other specialists) as well as patients in order to maintain and grow your existing customer base.

To provide a good experience:

  • Make sure you answer your phone and respond to queries from referrers.
  • Have a receptionist, rather than a phone-answering service so patients and colleagues find it easy to contact your practice. This helps reduce the chances of disappointing patients who can’t get through to your practice, who then tell the referring clinician who may choose to stop referring.
  • Provide timely clinical correspondence so patient care is not delayed and so referring GPs know working with you is efficient. This can be helped by dictation tools such as Dragon Medical One and Voice.

Read more of our new to private practice series below:

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