#1 Referral rate - a deeper understanding

by Stuart Stokes on January 23, 2017

Following on from our last blog post which looks at the metrics that make up a good service, in this blog post we delve deeper into referral rates. Often seen as a measure of how good a service is at attracting people we see the referral rate from a couple of different angles.

Referral rate

How many referrals did the service receive. Simple right? What about referrals made? Is this a one to one relationship or something more complex. Without knowing how many referrals were made, simply looking at referral rate will only provide one side of the story. For example Dr. No makes 35 referrals in the month. Due to inefficiencies in the communication of these referrals only 20 are received by the service. The service is happy that they have received 20 referrals (their referral rate) but time has been wasted at the referrers end and could lead to patients not receiving access to a service.

This figure becomes more powerful when the relationship is one to one. For every referral made a referral is received by the service.

With this rate we can explore other metrics. Does the service receive a greater number of referrals from primary care or from community outreach teams? Further investigation allows us to track whether within primary care, practice nurses refer more people than GP's. With this information a service is better placed to market their services and promote to referrers that are not currently active.

Monitoring the flow of referrals

We advise all Scheme Administrators to monitor the flow of referrals entering their service. An increase in referrals may be welcome, but can lead to capacity and staffing issues. A downward trend in referrals may be symptomatic of dis-engagement by referrers or waiting times that our building up. People may be communicating negatively on social media. Understand what is normal for your service. 

Our next blog post will focus on uptake rate.

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Running an effective referral scheme


Topics: Referral Schemes