BUPA Finder - Improve your ranking & increase your referrals

Bupa assess Consultant’s practices again a set of criteria that are in line with UK legal and regulatory requirements to practice. This includes surgical techniques, intervention rates, out-patient consultation rates, follow-up care and the total episode cost relative to peers. Total episode cost is such an important point with the reviews that not only Bupa, but other insurers are undertaking looking at the total episodial cost relative to peers and then removing outliers, or who they perceive to be outliers from the open referral network - which can constitute up to 30% of the referrals which is increasing at an exponential rate each year. In fact Aviva have recently launched a new product, which focuses for large corporates on the open network none named referral bases. So without a doubt, total episode cost is fundamental to remain on all of the networks across the industry for those insurers such as Axa, Bupa, Aviva which focus of none named open network referrals.


How and where you appear in the Bupa Finder tool is subject to this assessment as well as numerous other criteria. There are a number of elements we will talk about but are not all equally weighted.

Your position in within the Bupa Finder tool will impact the volume of Bupa policyholder patients that are referred to you. The visibility derived from Bupa Finder is enormous particularly with direct bookings now coming online where the insurers in some cases are able to send a link to the patient who is then able to access the providers or the hospital groups booking system to book appointments in real time. Technology is progressing and Finder is at the forefront, and in our opinion is the best tool within the industry in terms of providing a directory for patients to identify and find the most appropriate consultant.

Top 3 ranking is key

This is particularly the case with corporate business on open referral scheme as only the top three consultants that appear in the search will be offered to the patient.


Your position when searching on the Bupa Finder tool will be impacted based on the following:

· Surgical techniques

· Intervention rates

· Out-patient consultation rates

· Follow up care

· Total episode cost relative to peers

· Clinical indicators e.g. comparisons to NICE guidance

Example of points allocation within algorithm

· Proximity to postcode entered

· Within 10-15 miles of postcode

· 1,000 awarded for exact match and points allocation reduces as distance increases

Bupa contact status

· Not fee assured – 0 points, won’t appear in search

· Guaranteed (no contract but charge within fee limits) – 400 points

· Fee assured – 450 points

· Contract -500 points

Profile verification

· Profile verified within last 12 months – 20 points

Keyword search (profile contains keywords used in search) 50 points

· GMC speciality

· Sub-specialty

· About me


· Work with fee assured Anaesthetists – 50 points

Accreditation badges

As you can see it is all point driven around the algorithm which does change, this is just to give you an illustration and indication of the rational and how it works.

Maximise your profile and increase referrals

It makes a huge difference if you have a really good quality photograph on your profile.

Think marketing, think optimisation like you would optimising your website for Google, think new patients!

Create a profile which is clear, concise and written from the perspective of the patient – in plain English, approachable and professional. Your profile will need to have medical terminology there, to pick up in the search algorithms, and also for clinical referrers.

Going back to the Google optimisation mindset, think about your keywords, profile about yourself and links about papers you’ve written that are relevant and had published.

The more information that is valuable, and valid, will help with additional bandwidth, within the system.

Make the magic happen

Verify your profile at least every 12 months

Fee assured. Become fee assured/enter a contract

Photo. Include a professionally taken head-shot (not a photo booth picture, or one involving lycra on your bicycle)

Clinical expertise. Detail your clinical expertise, list any words and phrases linked to your specialty and clinical expertise that a patient or adviser might search for (both medical and layman terms are essential)

Practice info. Detail all your private practices including clinic times and contact telephone numbers.

What you’ll find here is hospitals will almost fall over themselves for you to put there telephone number down to take the bookings for you. Often that can cause issues if you’re working at two or three different locations. Do they snuffle all the bookings for their own clinic, are the bookings in the best interest of the patient? We’re not casting an opinion either way, but what I would say is some of the feedback we’ve received frequently, is that Consultants spend a lot of time and effort going in Bupa Finder and maximising their visibility. They also pay a lot of money generating inbound enquiries by their website and inbound marketing activities. And then when the phone rings it’s not picked up in a timely fashion, quotes are not issued, so the patient just goes down the next on the list and books an appointment with the Consultant who manages the enquiry better.


If you are not on the Open Referral Network, you will be behind the Curve.

Inclusion is based on the Total Episodal Cost, relative to peer. Work with your Hospital Director and Finance Manager to monitor performance, and ensure that your Anaesthetist is charging in line with agreed Bupa rates.

Open referral – an example

If I was to put in Manchester, and that I wanted a Knee Replacement, the Consultants you would be expected to see at the top of the list, based on their presence locally, their activity and their reputation with their GPs can often not appear at the top. You may find Consultants who are mainly upper limb and do the occasional knee feature higher than yourself. This is because their profiles are better optimised, so it’s worth making the effort with your profile, or get a professional with experience to help you.

Key points

Bupa Finder is absolutely essential to maximise referrals. Invest time to ensure that your profile is fully optimised. It requires regular attention and be mindful of the Total Episodal Costs.

Ensure that you have the mechanisms in place to engage with potential patients and offer appointments in a timely fashion (ensure that your diary is accessible, which means calls are answered!!)

It is a directory and a visibility tool and your ranking is not in any way a reflection of your surgical prowess or clinical outcomes – it will however determine your visibility to the public and referral numbers received.

The algorithm will continue to develop and change, so it’s important to see where you are on Bupa Finder and continue to optimise to make sure your profile remains constantly as good as it can be in terms ranking.

We hope you find this information useful, which is based on the information and feedback we get from various experts in the market, not from Bupa directly.

If we can be of any assistance or support with your healthcare marketing, please do let us know. We do help Hospitals, Clinics and Consultant Groups in terms or auditing their Bupa Finder profiles. If you think we can help, get in touch.