Top 3 Referral Sources for Finding Patients Interested in Weight Loss Surgery

Sep 01, 2022

This blog includes key information for bariatric surgeons I wish I had known years ago!

Anyone who knows me knows I am a numbers girl! So each and every month, I recommend tracking the referral source for your patients.  Sounds like a no brainer but you would be amazed at the practices I consult with that have no idea where their patients are coming from.

Tracking patient referral sources can easily be assigned to one of your staff such as your surgery scheduler or whatever trustworthy, detail oriented employee you choose. You might understand it is helpful to track the referral source for those that watch your webinars or attend your seminars, but in addition (or in replace of) I recommend tracking the referral source for those that actually have surgery.  These have a higher conversion rate (more on that in my next blog).  You can usually do this in your current scheduling software or in a simple spreadsheet.

Referral source information can help you focus your marketing efforts and effectively track your return on investment. It can also help you stop wasting money on the latest marketing trend or high price pitch thrown your way.  Once you see where your ideal patients are coming from, you can focus efforts to attract more of them.  When I say ideal patients, I mean those that you enjoy working with the most.

I have been tracking referral sources for weight loss surgery patients for about 25 years. Primarily for my husbands practice in Virginia (he has performed over 6,000 primary weight loss surgery procedures).  His practice is at a ‘sweet spot’ now (through tracking and tweaking marketing efforts) so that top referral sources for motivated people interested in weight loss surgery include:

  1. Internet
  2. Patient Referrals
  3. Physician Referrals

I call this a ‘sweet spot’ because these are his favorite type of referrals. From the internet, he attracts people who have researched the procedure for quite some time and often are willing to travel to get the program/surgeon they desire.  They are very motivated and tend to do extremely well.  Patient referrals are the best!  These are referrals from your family of patients and they also come motivated since they have seen a loved one or someone they know well go through the process.  They understand that weight loss surgery is a tool (not a magic bullet) and something that needs to be utilized properly for optimal results.  Physician referrals are also important and desirable.  It is a high complement for physicians to feel comfortable in your abilities and to entrust joint care of their patients.

Do you track your referral sources? What are your top three?  Do you need help setting up a tracking system?  I’d love to hear your ideas, comments and questions.  If you ever want to hop on a quick call to chat, you can access my schedule here and/or e-mail me at [email protected]  Cheers to you and your success!

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