Top Guns

Sunday, August 31, 2008

CENTER LINE, Mich.--Many providers think maintaining good referral relationships with physicians extends beyond dropping by their practice with a box of doughnuts.

Binson’s Home Healthcare recently invited several physicians to lunch-by way of a ride in a WWII-era C-47. The event was hosted by a veteran and former prisoner of war.

“You fly low, so you can see everything on the ground,” said Tracey Dettmer, sales and marketing director for Binson’s. “There was a definite cool factor.”

Staging a special event or holding an open house doesn’t have to be elaborate, but a little extra effort can go a long way, say industry experts.

Appealing to the recreational interests of physicians is smart thinking, says industry consultant Eric Kline, CEO of HME SalesPro in Pensacola, Fla.

“I always recommend bringing in someone outside of the industry but of interest to whoever’s attending,” he said. “You could bring in a golf pro to mix and mingle or a flight instructor if they’re interested in flying.”

Even holding an event at the provider’s location can have a social atmosphere. SleepQuest, a provider of home sleep testing, hosted an elegant open house at its newest location in San Carlos, Calif., said Lori Schulman, director of contracting.

“We do it with wine and cheese and keep it simple,” she said. “They can kick back and relax.”

The open house allowed the sleep provider to show off its new facilities and demonstrate just how well it can care for the patients referred their way.

“You definitely want them there to check out your new digs,” agreed Kline, “to highlight all the special things you do.”

Kline recommends inviting more than physicians to events.

“You especially want the receptionists and nurses,” he said. “The nurses are often the ones who make decisions. Make sure you hit everyone.”