For post-acute care organizations, growing and strengthening your referral network is the key to operational success. In our latest blog series, the Trella team will be diving into the most common, most effective, and most efficient targeting strategies you can use to improve your referral relationships and grow your post-acute care organization – through both admissions and revenue. The first three posts in our series cover the basic strategies every post-acute care organization should consider:
These core strategies focus on identifying the right physicians for you to engage with to improve your referral partnerships and patient outcomes overall. By demonstrating the value of post-acute care – and, more specifically, your organization’s strengths and performance metrics – you can help ensure patients get the right type of care at the right time from the right agency.
Unlike physicians who underutilize post-acute care, those who are unaffiliated understand the value of home health or hospice care. The difference with these physicians is there doesn’t appear to be a trend or pattern to where they’re referring their patients – that is to say, they spread their referrals out across a wide range of post-acute care agencies. This can indicate the physicians who are treating these patients aren’t necessarily the ones making the determination or referral to post-acute care. In many cases, the recommendation ultimately comes from the attending physicians at the hospital, skilled nursing facility, or another downstream setting that the patient has visited.
When a physician leaves these decisions to their downstream providers, their patients may end up being treated at any number of different agencies. The more agencies the physician’s office is responsible for fielding paperwork to, the more likely things are to get missed or improperly handled. An unaffiliated physician is not officially attached to or connected to one specific agency or group. This is a huge opportunity to showcase who you are as an agency and how you can impact his or her patients’ care with the care you provide. Without a complete view into performance metrics and patient outcomes, they are missing a chance to ensure their patients receive the care most suited to their unique needs.
Better patient care and outcomes depend on finding the right organizations for a given physician’s patient population and ensuring accurate knowledge transfer of patient cases. Creating professional, trusted relationships with your agency can give your referral partners confidence their patients will be well taken care of. And, as good news travels fast, your reputation for excellent patient outcomes will open the door to winning the referrals of other unaffiliated physicians in your network.
When looking for unaffiliated physicians in your market, the key is to look for physicians with a high number of Medicare patients receiving post-acute care at a wide range of destinations. Most physicians who are closely affiliated with a small number of post-acute destinations will show much higher referral rates to those agencies than other destinations in the market; if a particular physician has a very low share of referrals spread throughout your market – or even the county – they’re likely a good target to increase your level of affiliation. Let these metrics help you ask the right questions as you try to uncover where their patients are going as well as why they’re being spread so far. The physician’s response will help formulate a plan and guide your data-driven message.
Suppose your initial discussions with unaffiliated physicians lead you to believe they aren’t the ones involved in the final recommendation. In that case, you can build your data-driven message using metrics as to why they should be. Demonstrate the difference in outcomes for his patients versus another physician in your market who does utilize post-acute care. A streamlined referral process gets patients into the right care setting at the right time and makes sure nothing gets overlooked. The physician who is actively involved in his patients’ post-acute discharge instructions will likely have better overall patient outcomes. And, ultimately, no one knows a physician’s patients better than he does – so why would he leave their post-acute care recommendation up to another provider who isn’t as familiar with their unique needs.
For physicians without strong ties to a few post-acute care organizations in their market, your approach will be a bit different. Explain that, by understanding their differentiators and what services each agency provides, they can refer their patients to the agency best suited to their needs. Do the majority of their patients fall into a diagnostic category that your organization specializes in? Show the physician he or she can achieve better results by partnering with agencies like yours.
Unaffiliated physicians need to understand their role in their patients’ care journey. Part of this means knowing how the strengths of specific post-acute agencies in their market align with their patient population’s needs. Your goal should be to educate them on the benefits of taking a proactive role in recommending the right post-acute agencies for their patients. Leveraging the right data to strengthen your data-driven message for your agency is crucial.
An effective strategy to use with unaffiliated physicians is to show the relationship between using trusted post-acute care partners and improved patient outcomes. Here’s a sample presentation outline a home health agency could use to guide their conversation:
Physicians have the potential to impact their patients’ outcomes significantly. By remaining involved and recommending the best post-acute agency based on a patient’s needs, they can ensure a smooth transition of care. Build a relationship with physicians in your market and help them see how valuable partnering with your organization can be for their patients.
Trella Health customers have access to all the metrics we discussed in this article. For more information on how to use Marketscape to identify underutilizing physicians or to create sales collateral, contact your Customer Success Manager or request personalized training.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Marketscape from Trella Health can help you improve patient care and increase admissions with this and other targeting strategies, schedule your personalized demonstration today.
Stay tuned for the next installment of our targeting strategy series where we discuss competitor-affiliated physicians. And come back in early November to snag your copy of our Core Targeting Strategies Guide.