Build Your Fitness Business with Doctors' Referrals
Gyms and fitness centers are always looking for new ways to build and maintain fitness center membership. However, some fail to recognize some of the best avenues for doing so. One lesser-known approach with major potential? Doctor referrals. Here’s a closer look at this strategy, aimed not just at supporting your membership, but also at helping your members reach their health and wellness goals.
A Healthy Trend
The connection between exercise and health is well documented. However, the health care and fitness industries haven't necessarily been ideally linked. This is changing due to a growing focus on prevention.
As doctors increasingly accept the critical role of fitness in promoting optimal health, more are including exercise alongside blood pressure, pulse, and other “vital signs.” In other words, whether or not a patient exercises is now regarded by many doctors as an important indicator of health and factor in holistic wellness. As a result, they are taking steps to bridge the gap by not only emphasizing the dangers of inactivity but also by recommending exercise and even referring patients to a particular gym or fitness program as an alternative (or supplement) to prescription meds.
Opportunities for Health Clubs
This shift represents a unique opportunity for health clubs -- particularly those with relationships with local practitioners. Which begs the question: How can you position your health club to benefit from doctor referrals?
For starters, if a physician or practice doesn’t know about your club, how can they refer patients to you? Luckily, there are several ways to catch the attention -- and referrals -- of doctors. One of the simplest tactics to make sure doctors know about your facility and programs is by sharing information with them. Your success in reaching them largely depends on understanding what they’re looking for in the most specific terms. For example, doctors are looking to help their patients reduce risk factors for certain health issues, manage chronic health conditions, and lose weight. Meanwhile, they have limited time to spend with patients. Preparing and presenting professional materials which demonstrate how your gym can help them best help their patients is a great way to increase referrals. Remember, the focus should be on how your gym can help support a healthy lifestyle, not on flashy quick fixes.
In addition to certified personal trainers, fitness centers which have staff members with expertise in nutrition, kinesiology, exercise science, physical therapy, clinical nutrition, and health education and promotion are likely to be received positively by physicians.
And keep in mind that valuable connections can be made with office staff as well as doctors so building positive relationships with everyone from receptionists to nurses can increase the chances of getting your materials in front of a physician who can make referrals. In addition to having materials at the ready, everything from lunch-hour presentations to free passes can help engage doctors as well as their staff.
Lastly, there’s no better way to prove that your programs work than by with first-hand proof. Encouraging patients who have improved their health under the guidance of your staff to mention the role your club played in their success at their appointments.
Ultimately, healthcare professionals and your fitness center business are partners toward the common goal of helping the patients and members enjoy healthier lives. One last thing to keep in mind? Your job isn’t done when you start getting physician referrals. You also have to demonstrate how those referrals are working. The latest fitness monitoring technology offers invaluable partnership in collecting data an member progress so you can report back to doctors on how your gym is impacting patient outcomes. Request a demo to learn more about the Accurofit System today.
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