Compliance: Deepen referral relationships

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Q. How can our updated adherence program deepen our referral relationships and help drive more referrals?

A. One of the great side effects of a good CPAP adherence and patient follow-up program is that you will, almost automatically, see your relationships with your referral sources go much deeper. They will start thinking of you as a “partner” versus just a “service provider” because you will become a source of office visits.

When you stay in touch with patients on a regular basis, you routinely identify issues that should be managed by the patient’s physician. As long as you make sure you help facilitate the office visits that will be needed for a percentage of your patients, you will, over time, become an important source of patient flow through their office.

Also, a more intangible way your relationship will deepen is your role in delivering a good patient experience. Referrals grow, largely, by word of mouth. Happier patients equal better word of mouth and, ultimately a higher volume of patients.

Finally, consider adding one or two additional “encounters” or contact points to your follow-up program at 13-15 months post-setup. We call these “annual assessment” calls and they focus on understanding how the patient is doing on therapy and identifying those patients who should visit their physician for an evaluation or a follow-up sleep study.

If you pay attention to the “upstream referral” possibilities as you implement your follow-up program, you will soon find that you have a much different, and more mutually profitable, relationship with your referral sources.

Doug Hudiburg is vice president of marketing and sales for CareTouch Communications. He can be reached at or 303.565.2345.