As we discussed in our first outreach blog, step one is to establish a relationship with a provider or a network of providers through education or other interactions. Once you’ve created this relationship, you will want to capitalize on the potential additional volume for your program and institution, as well as be able to continue to provide the outstanding service your program is known for. In order to do this, you must be able to make working with you seamless and easy, without increasing the actual or perceived burden to the organization’s patients.
If the volume is sufficient, one option is to have certain members or the entire team go to the location to provide specific out-patient services. Frequently, this allows for more efficient capturing of referrals since patients have the ease of being seen without significant travel. Should the volume be sufficient, you may consider establishing a brick and mortar facility that is branded to your program. In either case, seeing the patients locally provides the patients with the perception that you are an extension of their trusted local healthcare team.
For providers, this approach allows them to increase local prestige as they are working with a tertiary care program in their community. You also manage any perception of "stealing" their patient since most of the care is provided in the local community.
As you increase the volume and activity, it is critical to maintain accurate data since this data will be used in your communications with the referring physician(s). Nothing can negatively impact a working relationship more than inefficient data transfers that tax staff and provide a disincentive to work with you. Accurate data is required for listing and managing patients as well as regulatory compliance. Your organization’s capability for seamless data transfers that are accurate and timely will not only improve patient outcomes and experience while maintaining the necessary compliance. This competency will also free up staff to provide superior customer service and maintain excellent relationships with providers and patients.