12 Ways Healthcare Practice Specialists Can Increase Patient Referrals

Like most businesses, healthcare and specialty care practices are always looking to increase patient referrals. Growing your number of patients can be achieved by improving relationships with staff and referring physicians. By providing the best patient experience and utilizing the right tools for scouting PCPs and managing referrals, specialty practices should be able to grow and thrive.

A Caucasian female doctor, sitting on her desk with mammograms on a view box behind her, speaks with an African-American female patient. 1990 Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash






Here are 12 ways a healthcare practice or a specialty care provider can grow their practice and increase the number of referrals seen each week.

1. Choose suitable physicians.

Identify PCPs that already refer out and will do so for you if you’re able to garner a relationship.

2. Build relationships.

Develop relationships that extend outside of the practice. Invite them to TopGolf or schedule a similar team outing.

3. Buy lunch.

The idea is to give first, and then they will voluntarily reciprocate by sending referrals your way.

4. Create patient experiences.

Provide experiences that their patients would genuinely enjoy, like simple appointment scheduling and automated follow-ups to check their unique conditions.

5. Produce new content.

With blogs, newsletters, podcasts, and videos educate patients on your healthcare practice and how it can help what ails the patient.

6. Update Referring Physicians.

Quick updates to the referring physicians about the condition and progress of referred patients is a professional courtesy that tells your network you are committed to patient care. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of your current process and include the improvements in talks with new referring physicians to show them you’re worth it.

7. Show appreciation and gratitude.

When you receive a new referral from a primary care physician, take the time to acknowledge and say thanks.

8. Increase Employee Engagement.

Host an open house with your healthcare practice employees. It is worth the time, investment, and effort.

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9. Embrace Technology.

Healthcare IT tools, such as those for communication automation, can be invaluable assets for providers.

10. Develop a Strong Rapport.

Develop a relationship with referring physician’s staff members.  It is vital to have a great rapport with the office receptionists, nurses, assistants, etc., to learn their names and interests. Use these insights to your advantage during your outbound outreach to PCPs.

11. Be a Thought Leader.

Be an expert in whatever specialty you practice. Please talk about your skillset, create content, and publish it online.

12. Make your Website Unique.

Offer a unique landing page on your website for patients to create an appointment. For example, “YourWebsite.com/PeakPrimaryCare.” In this example, we used a primary care practice called Peak Primary Care and created a URL specifically for their patients to create an appointment. This offers a high level of exclusivity to their patients and staff.


Most importantly, always be yourself and be genuine. Be frank about what you want and what you can offer. Treat everybody with kindness, empathy, and love.

For more information about referrals, download our guide, “The True Cost of Poorly Managed Referrals.”

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Joseph Lucero

Joseph is the founder of Belmar Health, a medical practice growth agency where his teams' daily mission is to help practice owners overcome stagnant revenue.

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