A few years ago, BioMed Central produced a wonderful paper which examined the referral habits of Medical Doctors. Specifically, they looked at how PCP's refer amongst themselves, and also how they refer to Doctors of Chiropractic. What they found may be some of the most important information currently available on building interdisciplinary referral relationships.
Over 500 Primary Care Physicians took part in the study. Surprisingly, over 80% of Primary Care Physicians reported that their patients requested information regarding Chiropractic. Additionally, close to 75% had patients request a Chiropractic referral. This is very good news as it shows the public has significant interest in Chiropractic care despite the fact that Chiropractic utilizations stands at a woeful 10% (on a good day).
When referring to other Medical Doctors, the studies participants reported initiating a formal referral 99% of the time. When referring to Chiropractors, the PCP's initiated a formal referral in only 11% of cases. This proves that nearly all PCP's are comfortable making formal referrals, however, they are not making these formal referrals to Chiropractors.
Finally, and most significantly, the researchers found that roughly 25% of PCP's have referred a patient to a Chiropractor. Again, while this number is exceptionally low (considering the research on the safety and efficacy of Chiropractic care), it provides us with the information that-
1) Patients are asking their PCP's about Chiropractic care
2) 1/4 of PCP's have referred patients to Chiropractors
3) Only 10% of these referrals are "formal" referrals
In my opinion this study emphasizes the need for chiropractors to reach out to other physicians in their communities and build referral relationships. The public is inquiring about our services to their most trusted health professionals; their family doctor. The onus is on us to build the relationships necessary for these PCP's to make the referrals to our offices'. We have the research to substantiate our place in the health care world; now its time to reach "across the aisle" and make sure our neighbors are receiving the best conservative care possible.
-The Evidence Based Chiropractor is the leading DC/MD marketing and outreach group in the world. Our service is dedicated to increasing chiropractic utilization by showcasing research. Marketing to medical doctors through research is efficient, cost effective, and can dramatically improve your incoming referrals. Join us. Lets grow chiropractic together.