Maintaining Profitability with a Shrinking Patient Referral Base
In today’s hyper-competitive healthcare marketing landscape, it’s hard to stand out and make your practice visible to those in need. Especially with health systems and regional hospitals throwing around large marketing budgets and buying up and and recruiting quality physicians and independent practices in your area.
In fact, patient referrals to physician groups have begun to decline as hospital systems hire more doctors and gain more control over where patients are sent for specialty care. With traditional patient referral streams drying up for independent physicians, small, independent physician groups are feeling the heat as their reliable referral sources disappear.
The Physicians Foundation, which conducts surveys of America’s doctors, found that 62 percent of physicians were independent in 2008. By 2014 that number had dropped to 35 percent – a precipitous decline in such a short timeframe.
Today, about 95% of physicians see corporate medicine supplanting the traditional private practice. And with increasingly limited resources, many physicians are taking a “can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” stance. Rather than struggle to maintain profits and grow their patient base, they are choosing to sell their practice and operate under the health system or regional hospital group’s name.
The Consequences of Consolidation
As a result of this consolidation, patients have less choices when it comes to personalized healthcare plans. Where independent physicians used to be able to prescribe a treatment plan that was personalized for the individual, they are now operating with their hands tied as physicians are forced to comply with mandated courses of treatment by their new employers.
If you’re a independent physician dealing with the blowback associated with consolidation in your market, direct to patient marketing can help disrupt the traditional referral model to help you secure more patient volume for your practice. To learn more contact David M. Williams.