Specialists: Improve your referral relationships
If you provide emergency or specialty services on a referral basis, then Jon Cunnington, MBA, CVPM, hospital administrator at Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic in Loomis, Calif., has a tip for you: Hire a referral case coordinator. A referral case coordinator can improve your communication with referring practices by ensuring that all follow-up communications and materials are sent to the referring practice in a timely manner.
By tracking all emergency and specialty referrals from check-in to checkout, the referral case coordinator helps to make sure no information or recommendations fall through the cracks, thus improving patient care, referral relationships, and overall business. Does it sound too good to be true? It isn't. Just take a look at how a referral case coordinator helped Cunnington's practice.
Before developing this position three years ago, Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic learned through a survey that its referring veterinarians were somewhat dissatisfied with their follow-up communications. In the September Veterinary Hospital Managers Association newsletter, Cunnington writes about receiving disappointed calls from referring doctors from time to time. But since appointing a senior client service representative to the position of referral case coordinator, Cunnington writes that displeased phone calls have diminished and that the number of referral cases continues to increase. Here’s what Cunnington says his practice’s referral case coordinator does—and what yours should do too.
>Field calls from referring doctors. A client service representative or a registered veterinary technician should field emergency calls.
>Call the referral client to schedule an appointment. Advise him or her on what materials to bring to the consultation.
>Work closely with the surgical assistant to schedule surgery cases and prepare written estimates.
>Send the referring veterinarian a case summary along with any materials—digital radiography images or CT scans—after the patient is seen.
>In cases where the patient passes, send a sympathy card.
If you suspect that your emergency or specialty practice isn't meeting the critical needs of your referring veterinarians, consider hiring a referral case coordinator.