Dental Referral Partnerships As A Growth Strategy
A steady flow of new patients is required to maintain and grow a successful dental practice. Partnerships are the best way to grow a patient base fast, this can include other dental practices who do not offer a particular treatments. Referrals can work on a formal or informal basis depending on objectives and practice preferences.
The fact is that not all practices offer all types of treatment. Therefore it is an advantage to partner with other practices such as DFW on a bespoke or reciprocal basis. Some practices also partner with each other for emergency out of hours cover as typically dentists in an area will all know each other through their professional or social lives.
It should be noted that patients can also refer themselves individually to another practice, there is no need for a dentist or practice referral as such. However if a practice is recommending a treatment to a patient which they do not provide then recommending a practice or choice of practices is the norm. The patient can then choose their preferred practice based on location and other factors, and the practice would then write to the other practice who would then contact the patient to schedule an appointment.
This would then provide a record, so that if a formal patient referral process is in place metrics can be tracked by both practices to ensure that any remuneration or other reciprocal arrangement is managed.
It is also in the patients best interest for a practice to have a referral partner as patients appreciate a professional opinion, recommendation and referral. Without a referral a patient is left to find their own practice often relying on research or word of mouth which they may not have access to.
Some treatments are specialised such as Invisalign, Incognito braces, All on 4 or veneers. A referral scheme provides benefits for all concerned. On a reciprocal basis practices can refer to each other if they do not offer a specific treatment, or if they have long waiting lists. This ensures that patients get the best care and provides benefits for both practices and the patient.
If a practice does not have a referral arrangement in place, they may wish to review the treatments offered by other practices and contact the principal dentists to discuss a reciprocal arrangement. This can be quickly set up both on a formal or informal basis, and the day to day management can be handed over to reception teams.