As a home health leader, you know that referrals are crucial in keeping your business running. But often, home health agencies focus on the same referral sources as their competitors, or they simply don’t have insight into where their best referrals come from.
Here are a few easy ways to increase your referral network now.
Prioritize patient and caregiver satisfaction
First and foremost, you want to build a business that’s worthy of referrals. By prioritizing patient care, you can ensure that your agency is a successful, people-first organization.
Once you’ve built the kind of home health agency you and your caregivers can be proud of, you want to spread the news about your good work. Gather patient and caregiver satisfaction scores through surveys, reach out to your clients for feedback, and monitor your caregiver performance indicators. Then, you can share those results on your website and in your outreach to hospitals and physicians to show them that you’re an agency they can trust.
Experiment with online advertising
Not all online advertising solutions are right for all agencies. However, armed with detailed data about your current clients and patients, you can make wise decisions about how to allocate your online marketing budget.
For example, if some of your most successful referral sources are physicians’ offices, you can build LinkedIn campaigns targeting schedulers at physicians’ offices in your area.
Or, if you find that your best referral sources are hospital discharge planners, you may build out Facebook ads targeting professional groups that discharge planners might be a member of.
A best practice is to combine these two strategies: share the user-generated content from your patient satisfaction surveys in your online ads to let your good work speak for itself.
Use third-party referral sites thoughtfully
Third-party referral sites like A Place for Mom, Caring.com, Home Advisor, and Care In Homes are a mixed bag. While they can provide a steady stream of qualified referrals, some home health agencies find that, in the long run, the ROI just isn’t there.
The key is to use these sites strategically. For example, if you’re a new home health agency just starting out, a third-party site can be an invaluable tool in growing your clientele and getting your name on the map. If you’re an established agency, you may want to consider scaling back your reliance on these tools.
One way to guide your thinking on the value of these sites is to compare them to other lead sources. Evaluating your entire referral ecosystem and assigning a cost per referral indicator to each source can help clarify how much you should invest in third-party sites.
Be responsive to all referrals that come in
As you know, time is of the essence in home health. A referral often comes in when a patient is ready to transition out of hospital care, and they require urgent support. To show your partners that your organization is responsive and trustworthy, you need systems in place to ensure that every referral receives a quick and knowledgeable response.
“The quicker we can get to a provider, the quicker they can respond to us and come up with a quality solution to meet the discharge need,” says Jacqueline Bechtold Gordon, a veteran hospital discharge planner. “They’re going to be at the top of the list.”
If your agency doesn’t currently have constant phone and website support, you may want to consider hiring a dedicated call center that can field incoming referrals and requests so that you never miss out on a patient.
Remember that hospitals want a robust referral list so that they can accommodate every patient’s needs. They want you on their list — give them every reason to put you at the top.
Know your most successful lead sources
Nothing succeeds like success. And while this might seem like a no-brainer, many home health agencies don’t have clear insight into where they get referrals most consistently.
Often, this comes down to a lack of clean data. When home health administrators are tracking patients with Excel sheets or even with CRMs that weren’t built for the industry, the source of patients can get lost in the shuffle. And, without this awareness, it’s easy to misallocate funds, pursuing referrals from sources that seem fruitful when the data might tell a different story entirely.
A CRM built with post-acute care in mind can help you keep track of your top referral sources. This will give you a better understanding of your business and your patients.
Looking for more on how patient surveys, dedicated call centers, and a home health CRM can help you succeed? Schedule a demo today.