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Here are three simple ways you can strengthen your relationship with your practice's technical partners.
How do you strengthen your relationship with your technical partners? Be part of their work and effort to grow their business.
Be a visible part of the radiology enterprise. The traditional ways of doing this would be things like business cards and perhaps lunchtime visits to practices with marketers. Those still have their place and if you have a marketing partnership, have your marketer carry the cards and visit with them. But I’ve found the bang for the buck is pretty low with that.
So what might work better? Make it easy for people to find you. Consider putting your cell phone number and e-mail on reports. Yep, you might get a call or two from patients; but that might not be bad either. Hesitant to do it? Try it for 90 days and see what happens. You can always rein it in. You’ll be surprised that people like knowing they have access to you, even if they don’t use it alot. Along those same lines, connect with your referring peers on Linked-in and Facebook or other social networks. Catch up with a couple of them for breakfast, coffee, or dinner. Commit to some regular amount of contact and check yourself regularly to be sure time doesn’t slip away. Think about going to local subspecialty meetings and even presenting there. Emphasize not only your strengths but the strengths of your technical partners.
Find synergies that allow you to show value. Technical partners need expert evaluation and feedback on staff. Don’t hesitate to offer to do that for them. Fill out staff evaluations and offer suggestions. You’ll be seen as more of a partner. They need education as well, so offer talks or other ways to educate them. Look for areas or niches where you can help them gain market share. Do you have someone in the practice who can learn vascular imaging or has some other niche? Trumpet it. Have the marketer point it out to referring physicians. Go to marketing meetings for your partner and see where they need help. They are looking for sales angles and you have the inside information on what is hot. Examples right now include emphasis on dose safety and specialty expertise or ease of access.
Communicate. Above all else communicate freely with your technical partners. Tell them when you find problems or when you reach out to referring offices. Make suggestions and be involved in their culture. You’ll start to see more and more areas where you can help. Radiologists are steeped in process improvement, whether you know it or not. So you can offer lots of help in improving processes. To do this, you should help establish clear lines of responsibility and adhere to them. Work together to improve communication with your referring physician practices as well. Collect information on how practices prefer to receive results and important calls and use them be it Short Message Service (i.e. text messages), cell, or back line. The more actively you do this, the more it will make contact easy. You’ll not only deliver results, you can seek feedback and share it with your technical partners to make the whole process work better.