Tea Buzz

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Nov
21

Welcoming a New Specialty Care Provider

Posted November 21, 2016

When a new specialist begins practicing with your system, your outreach goals should be two-fold: first, notify consumers (including prospects) in your market who are at risk for needing the services offered by the provider, and second, make the referring providers aware who can drive referral traffic into the new specialist.

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Tea Leaves Health frequently works with clients who want to promote new providers, and we recommend a strategy that drives messages to both at-risk prospects/patients and primary care providers to make them aware of services rendered. We suggest sending personalized, timely messages to these identified individuals to experience the most success.

While it’s recommended to target homes twice (at minimum) throughout the year to get the best returns without overloading new providers, we recommend touching consumers with a total of six messages. A direct mail with a welcome message should be sent four weeks prior to the new provider’s start date. This welcome communication could include the following:

  • Provider photo
  • Provider expertise; locations where provider was educated & trained
  • Why the provider selected your community
  • Contact information
  • Clinic location(s)
  • How to make an appointment
  • Details regarding access (any special referral information required for scheduling?)
  • Examples of conditions treated
  • Names and locations of other members of the existing team to further endorse/market all of the providers in the group.

Subsequent reminder emails with similar messaging should then follow one week, 30 and 60 days after the provider’s start date. Then, six months after the provider’s start date, individuals should receive a direct mail piece with messaging that lets them know the new provider is accepting patients. If at 12 months after their start date the provider is still accepting patients, a follow up piece could go out reminding patients that the provider’s services are still available.

The strategy for reaching other providers is slightly different. We recommend reaching providers with four messages, instead of six. Six weeks prior to the new provider’s start date, a welcome direct mail should drop in provider offices that contains the following content:

  • Provider photo
  • Expertise of new specialist, including unique services and opportunities offered, such as clinical trials
  • Provider’s key differentiators and referral opportunities
  • Contact information, including fax
  • All locations and appointment numbers, highlighting the new provider location
  • Details regarding access (Require referral? Telemed? Offers to consult.)
  • Examples of conditions treated/Areas of specific interest or training, clinical interests, advanced training or procedures
  • Outcomes, case studies, relevant statistics
  • An offer to schedule an in-person meet-and-greet or educational activity
  • Personal contact numbers for urgent need or patient care questions

This same welcome piece can then be re-sent one week prior to the provider’s start date as a reminder. Then, 60 days after the provider’s start date, the same message can be sent, however liaison office visits and targeted physician-to-provider meetings should also be added to your strategy (specific to the providers and market area) based on volumes. Liaisons can use the welcome marketing piece during visits, and should schedule an educational activity for referring providers around this time. Lastly, six months after the provider’s start date, a message should go out to providers’ offices saying that the provider is accepting new patients (if they are).

Offering new or expanded specialty care provides inferred value of other services available, and improves your organization’s overall brand and reputation in the market. Ideally, consumers will take the initiative to either request appointments and/or referrals, while providers will hopefully speak intelligently to existing patients about newly offered/expanded services. Proactively reaching both audiences with the right messaging is important to build the new practice. If you have new specialty care providers joining your organization and you are unsure of how to best promote them, contact us for more information.