7-Step Checklist for Increasing Periodontal Referrals
More patient referrals—all periodontists want them. To help you achieve your goals, follow this seven-step checklist to ensure that you’re on track to increasing your periodontal referrals.
1. Acknowledge all referrals—quickly. Demonstrate that you value referrals and that your office is responsive by quickly thanking the referring professional after the patient makes an appointment or comes to your office. Keep in touch with referral sources, subtly and professionally.
2. Get the details. Of course, you want to understand each patient’s medical condition and history. Be sure to ask the right questions. Referring dentists’ offices don’t always share important health concerns when they send patients to specialists. Avoid assumptions, and get to the details.
3. Schedule the appointment promptly. No dentist wants to refer a patient, only to find out that the next available appointment is a long time away. We’re sure all of your patients are important to you, but never lose track of how important it is to treat referred patients like VIPs. This is especially true of a patient with a severe need or who is in pain.
4. Keep the communication flowing. Informing the referring dentist about your treatment plan is paramount. No dentist wants to be caught unaware of treatments when that patient returns to the office. Plus, the referring dentist deserves that courtesy for their patient. As you treat the patient, be sure to work with each office to identify its preferred format for feedback. Some will prefer e-mail, while others will request a phone call or letter, or may even have a web portal for you to use. Continue to provide status reports to update the referring dentist about the patient’s progress.
5. Compliment the referring dentist when appropriate. Be sure to say positive things about the referring dentist. If you don’t know him or her well, this is an opportunity to begin building a relationship—and receiving more referrals!
6. Capture performance feedback for your office. This is a bonus tip for those truly outstanding practices. We recommend you ask for feedback on the patient’s experience at your office and the quality of care received. This can be done through a brief exit survey, which can be shared with the dentist. Also, ask the referring dentist for feedback, and be open to areas of improvement. This will demonstrate your commitment to excellence and make a terrific impression.
7. Stay in touch. It’s essential for periodontists to stay in touch with referring dentists. A professional, education-focused way to do that is with a periodontal newsletter to referring dentists. Contact us to learn more about Periodontics Report or Update on Periodontics.
We also offer Perio Health eNewsletter for those periodontists who want to keep in touch directly with their patients.
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