Why establish a referral physician network?
While physician networking might not be an unknown term to most research sites, it is surprisingly underutilized by a large majority. A lot of the sites that we come into contact with are of the opinion that their site’s recruitment and enrollment goals will always be obtainable from within their own database of patients. Why bother with involving another practice/physician if it isn’t necessary, right? Wrong.
The purpose of the network is to help sites branch into new therapeutic areas and to serve as a back-up when the needs of the sponsor are not being met through internal means. Without occasional contact and relationship building, the back-up resource is ineffective when it comes time to call on them in crunch time.
How do I build and maintain a referral physician network?
As you run online and traditional advertising campaigns, use the visibility in the community to build new networks… Depending on the study… PCPs and Specialists can become involved in actively recruiting patients on behalf of your site. Stopping in to speak with providers and staff members (especially front-line contacts) about any ongoing studies is the first step in building the relationship that can yield patient dividends for years to come. Discuss a few of the studies that might meet the needs of some of the patients within their practice. Often times describing the patient profile and who might benefit from becoming involved in a particular research study could trigger a provider to think of, and identify, a patient for potential follow up or referral.
What happens next?
Start small and let the provider know that the patients are theirs. You and your site are only looking to advance the patient’s treatment options, while at the same time providing data so that all patients dealing with the condition might benefit through this research. If the provider has a potential patient that might want to become involved, assure them that there will be continuity of care established and their progress will be shared. If the provider does not have a patient that they think fits the profile, let them know that you will occasionally touch base regarding this study and other future research opportunities. Maintaining these relationships are key to becoming a resource when needed.
The BTC Network team has decades of experience building effective physician outreach strategies. Give us a shout; we look forward to developing your networking strategy!
About BTC Network
BTC Network is North America’s leading clinical research group. Based just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, our network includes more than 50 multi-therapeutic sites. All BTC research sites collaborate with or are part of private practices, giving us access to over 100,000 patients.