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How To Use Online Referrals In Your Therapy Practice To Grow

Starting a private practice is a big undertaking, but doing extra groundwork before opening your doors will pay dividends. Building your client list is an aspect of running a private therapy practice that isn’t discussed much. Most therapists work with other professionals as part of a whole-person treatment team. Making and receiving referrals from your colleagues often falls to front desk staff who are already overwhelmed with work. All too often, a patient will show up for an appointment, but their chart can’t be located or vice versa. Using a comprehensive EHR system for online referrals makes the process easy and efficient, minimizing the manhours from you and your staff.

Online Referrals from a Variety of Sources

Whether you’re starting out or have been practicing for years, online referrals are essential to any private therapy practice. That said, there are a few key points to consider when using online referrals to grow your therapy practice.

The referral may take place online, but the opportunities to build your name aren’t just virtual. Building a solid referral network is key to starting and growing a therapy practice. Your relationships with other therapists and providers will generate word-of-mouth, which is still one of the best ways to get referrals. Getting involved in your local community and your professional organization is a simple way to generate business and develop a strong reputation.

Have an online presence so potential clients can reach out directly. Make sure your website is easy to find and easy to use. Avoid having too much information on the landing page, which can overwhelm people. Highlight the ease of using your practice: teletherapy, front-door apps, and access to educational materials are all valuable services to people looking for a therapist.

Online referrals can take place through insurance company websites. Forbes considers Kaiser Permanente and Blue Cross Blue Shield to be the top two for mental health coverage. Both are available through the Healthcare Marketplace, so they are widely used. Each has a network of providers listed clearly for its subscribers. It will often include a link to your practice’s website too, so patients can easily make an appointment.

Online referrals from other local practitioners are part of the collaborative care model. This evidence-based treatment model shows promise in addressing health inequities by coordinating care between a patient’s various providers. Clear communication between providers and agencies or clinics creates a continuous net of services that frees the patient from the burden or relaying information themselves. This dramatically increases follow-through and reduces errors and misunderstandings.

Behavioral health EHR platforms can facilitate the smooth transfer of information between practices. For example, CarePaths Connect is part of an overall system that includes practice management software, so you can send an invitation key to make a referral. When it’s accepted, it automatically creates a chart for the client. A video tutorial and excellent customer support make it easy to get started.

EHR Platforms Make Online Referrals Easy

Comprehensive behavioral health EHR platforms simplify the referral process. Rather than multiple phone calls and faxes between offices, charts and information are received electronically. Then, it’s just a simple matter to schedule the patient’s appointment and get them started. Digitalized referrals speed up the whole process and get patients into the mental health treatment they need more quickly.

Behavioral health EHR platforms facilitate the smooth transfer of information between practices. For example, with CarePaths Connect, patients can quickly access your clinic through the front-door feature to complete any missing information before their intake appointment.

Another advantage of comprehensive EHR platforms is that they often offer lists of providers on their websites. When you sign up for a subscription, the company will list you as a provider in your geographic area. The patient can read a brief bio that you create as part of your profile. Your digital front door will be visible to new patients using the app to search for a therapist. Clients can see your open appointments and schedule directly from the app. Patients can also enter their insurance information to make sure you accept their plan and see their expected copay.

Joining other online networks can also expand your reach. Places like Psychology Today and WebMD offer listings for mental health providers for a fee. This is especially helpful if you are licensed in multiple states and offer teletherapy where you are not physically present most of the time.

Sophisticated EHR systems like CarePaths meet interoperability standards, which emphasize the transferability of information from system to system. ONC Certification was developed to support the coordination of care through the secure adoption of digital health platforms. ONC standards focus on portability and interoperability. Systems that use Software as a Service are secure options that increase information accessibility. This means that your EHR system will communicate with other providers regardless of what system they use.

A Final Note

Therapists are increasingly incorporating digital aspects of care into their practices. From streamlining front office functions to higher patient engagement, these tools have proven beneficial to both clinicians and patients. Referrals are no exception: online referrals are efficient, accurate, and straightforward.

At CarePaths, we help therapists work more efficiently and empower them to manage their practice their way by offering online therapy services, online referrals and scheduling, appointment reminders, secure messaging, and more. Learn how we can help you get up and running fast. Start your free trial today!

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