Referral Targeting with Business Intelligence
Panorama Orthopedics & Spine Center, based in Denver, Colorado, prides itself on delivering cutting-edge, quality orthopedic and wellness care to its patients. With offices in Golden, Westminster, and Highlands Ranch, as well as a variety of ancillary and specialty care centers throughout the metro area, Panorama assists its patients with orthopedic care all the way from diagnosis and surgery to rehabilitation and wellness services. Outstanding customer service, teamwork and accountability are integral to how the independent group of more than 30 orthopedic surgeons interacts with patients. And these same attributes are also the cornerstone of how Panorama approaches differentiating itself from the competition—including its marketing efforts.
“Panorama has always taken marketing very seriously,” says Michele Bergh, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Panorama Orthopedics & Spine Center. “In this practice, we have very strong leadership and it’s made clear upfront what the expectations are for physicians around the level of work and the marketing of their practice.”
“Every doctor that works here – and this is very unique – is involved in marketing themselves and marketing the practice,” explains Bergh. “When we host a suite at a Rockie’s baseball game, we’ll have five or six of our doctors attend and they don’t just sit down and watch baseball. They’re pouring cocktails for the referring doctors, they’re talking to them, they’re passing out their business cards.”
Therefore, when it came to Panorama’s attention that a competing orthopedic group would no longer be accepting insurance from two major commercial insurance providers, Panorama knew they had an opportunity to leverage the active engagement and teamwork of their physicians to gain a large new block of patient business.
To be strategic about efforts, they needed additional intelligence on:
- Physician online ratings & patient reviews
- Referral patterns of primary care physicians
Drilling into the Data for Insight
With about 4,000 physicians considered as referral sources locally or within the state of Colorado, Panorama was already using Marketware as a central repository for taking notes and documenting interactions to referring with physicians.
To be more strategic in their approach to winning physician referrals over competitors, they needed to know:
- What percentage of business did their competitor currently get from the two commercial payers?
- Who were the primary care doctors their competitors were getting the bulk of their referrals from?
- How did their own doctors stack up to those physicians who were getting the referrals?
- Where were their strongest network connections?
“We were able to see right up front by looking at the information in Marketware that for some of the physicians, 50 percent or more of their business was coming from these two large insurers,” says Bergh.
Knowing that there was a large swath of patients they could likely bring into their clinic, Panorama next began to look closely at the referral relationships of their competitors.
“We looked up every one of their physicians, and then we accessed their network connections with the primary care providers. We put in general medicine, internal medicine, family medicine—anybody that would be considered a primary care provider—and we were able to see by doctor who their biggest referral sources were,” says Bergh.
Next, Panorama took those referral sources and used another tool called MDValuate to determine the reputation of their own physicians and their competitors. Instead of looking at their Press Ganey surveys, they looked at online patient reviews.
“Through this tool, we could aggregate the data from the Internet to determine which doctors had poor patient reviews,” explains Bergh. “We were able to ladder onto that information in Marketware to have a more intelligent look.”
For example, they could see that a particular joint replacement surgeon had great reviews and was probably going to be difficult to move patients away from. On the other hand, a particular foot and ankle doctor or spine doctor, might have really low reviews—making it much easier to draw those patients over to Panorama, especially when their own doctors in these specialties had excellent reviews.
“We were able to determine what areas that we wanted to hit the hardest and find the low hanging fruit,” says Bergh.”
Another aspect unique to Panorama’s approach to increasing patient referrals is the way they engage their own doctors to help. Every orthopedic surgeon or physician working at Panorama is coached through a media and business-to-business (B2B) service training.
In addition, Panorama’s doctors have access to the right data to help their visits be as successful as possible. For example, physician will have on hand:
- Any information from past visits or conversations
- Who they are currently referring patients to
- Data that shows the patient review numbers of Panorama’s physicians and competing physicians, insurance they accept, and network connections
“It’s a very different approach,” notes Bergh. “If we go into a practice, we have a doctor that comes with us. They are the face of the organization.”
Bergh acknowledges, however, that their strategy works in part because of the narrow focus of their organization. “It’s easier for us because our market is more narrow and highly segmented,” she says.
Using the Data to Drive More Referrals
At Panorama, all marketing, including physician referrals, comes down to what the data says is working. It’s a more technological approach than most medical clinics use, but by melding their network connections data with patient reviews, Panorama can determine what physicians they want to go after and what actions are going to deliver the most bang for their buck.
Bergh emphasizes the importance of spending some time to get to know the technology as well. “It is very difficult to explain to executives if you personally don’t understand it,” says Bergh.
“I guess it comes down to getting your hands dirty and saying, ‘I’m going to make an effort to learn this and figure it out.’ Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and learn it yourself and become a little bit more self-enabling,” says Bergh.
For Panorama Orthopedics & Spine, the investment in technology and business data combined with their teamwork-based and highly personal approach to marketing their organization and boosting referrals has paid off—they are able to better target what referring physicians will drive the most patients to their clinic and use their own physicians in building these relationships more strategically.
For others looking to emulate Panorama’s success, here’s a run-down of the key strategies to incorporate:
- Onboard physicians who are willing to be participants in marketing and referral efforts
- Invest resources in training physicians on how to best generate referrals
- Become familiar with and use technology solutions to gain better business intelligence
- Identify top referral practices to visit based on hard data
- Track all information in a central repository related to referring physicians
- Have doctors personally involved in building relationships with referring physicians
Marketware provides a comprehensive suite of solutions designed to enable strategic growth and provide actionable outcomes. The experts at Marketware combine industry best practices with cutting edge technology to empower health systems. Built on an enterprise-grade platform, our Growth Suite enables health systems to effectively communicate care options, analyze multiple data sources to visualize the system’s market position, understand competitive threats and analyze referral network patterns to support strategic planning, market expansion, service line development and referral development.