Sophrona’s Survey on Eye Care Referrals
Survey on Eye Care Referrals
Last month, Sophrona sent out a survey on eye care referrals ahead of Hawaiian Eye. We received 59 responses from eye care practices across the country. Participants ranged from solo/private practices to those with more than 10 eye doctors. Not represented in this survey are academic and hospital settings.
To view the questions that were asked in the survey on eye care referrals, see detailed questions and responses below.
Survey on Eye Care Referrals: Takeaways
With 59 practices responding from around the country, the responses received helped to confirm what we already know to be true – 97% reported that referrals from other doctors are important. Still, the majority of practices (55.6%) struggle with lost referrals and/or tracking where referrals come from. Furthermore, 72% are spending 25% or less of marketing/practice development dollars in this area.
When asked about the method of receiving referrals, 87% indicated that referrals are primarily received by fax or phone. In addition, 74% still rely on fax to send information back to the referring doctor.
How Sophrona Can Help
As the eye care industry continues to adopt technology to improve efficiencies within the patient setting, it is just as important to adopt technology to improve communication with referring doctors. It is not only a MIPS requirement, but also an increasing patient expectation.
Sophrona’s Referral Portal is helping practices move ahead of the curve. The Referral Portal’s universal interface allows referring doctors utilizing a different practice management system to efficiently communicate with your practice. Our technology helps practices track every referral from start to finish with more transparency and visibility. From the time the patient is referred until the final outcome is sent, the referring doctor is able to see where their patient is in the process.
To learn more about how Sophrona’s Referral Portal is helping other practices, check out our recent Case Study with Boston Eye Group: Optimizing the Referring Doctor Experience.
Results: Sophrona’s Survey on Eye Care Referrals
Are patient referrals from other doctors important to your practice? 96.7% of participants responded with a 4, 5 or 6 indicating referrals are important to very important.
What percentage of your marketing budget, if any, do you allocate to new patient referrals? 55 of 59 participants answered this open-ended question. 38% indicated that $0 marketing dollars are allocated for referrals. 34% reported spending 25% or less of their marketing budget on referrals.
What is the primary method your practice current receives patient referrals? 86.5% indicated that referrals are primarily received through fax (47.5%) or by phone (39%). The remaining 13.6% of participants report that the practice is utilizing technology that interfaces with an existing system, HIE, email or other source to receive patient referrals.
What is the primary method your practice uses following a patient referral to send information back to the referring doctor? 57 out of 59 participants answered this question. 73.7% of participants who responded are utilizing fax to return information to the referring doctor. 19.3% are using interfacing technology and 1.8% send information back with the patient.
Do you have a way to track every referral to make sure none are lost and that every referral gets a response? 58 out of 59 participants answered this question. 51.7% indicated they do not have an efficient way to track every referral, while 48.3% reported they do.
What do you do to keep referring doctors engaged so that they continue to refer patients to your practice? 56 out of 59 participants answered this open-ended question. A wide variety of answers ranged from CE events, hiring a marketing liaison, newsletters, letters to the referring doctor, sending patients back to the referring doctor, sending business cards or brochures, etc. Our findings revealed that the majority of responses indicated a more traditional approach to communication, as opposed to a small percentage who are utilizing technology.
What does your practices most struggle with in the area of referrals? 54 out of 59 participants answered this question. 55.6% report that they struggle with knowing where referrals came from (31.5%) or lost referrals / referrals that are made but the patient is never scheduled (24.1%). The remaining 44% of participants were divided evenly, reporting that their biggest struggle was either being considered good communicators (14.8%), easy to work with (14.8%) or getting back to referring doctors promptly (14.8%).
How many eye doctors are in your practice? All 59 participants answered this question. The majority of responses came from practices with more than 10 doctors (40.7%) or 6 to 10 doctors (25.4%). Also responding were practices with 2 to 5 doctors (28.8%) and private practices with 1 doctor (5.1%). Not represented in this survey are practices with hospital or academic settings.
Move Ahead of the Curve on Referral Communication
If your practice is ready to grow your referral base, Sophrona can help you move ahead of the curve. Contact our team today to learn more about the Referral Portal.