The objective of any business is to grow and one of the best ways to achieve this is through networking. Networking builds relationships with potential referral sources. Within healthcare 50-80% of new patients come from referrals. For specialists, that number is approximately 70%. It is easy to understand the necessity for having a referral marketing strategy. Yet the challenge many healthcare providers face is time to establish and maintain effective physician referral relationships. That is where the physician liaison comes in. Physician liaisons keep the provider on the map, serving as the ambassador of the practice within the community.
What is a Physician Liaison?
The physician liaison’s primary objective is to support and grow the practice through the education, collaboration and promotion of said practice to both new and existing referral sources. Physician liaisons keep a pulse on what is happening in the marketplace and are responsible for uncovering and addressing potential barriers swiftly and with professional courtesy.
Don’t They Just Hand Out Brochures and Business Cards?
A well trained physician liaison does not simply leave a stack of business cards and brochures behind in the hopes that the provider will refer patients to their practice. With a strategic plan in place, physician liaisons work to develop strong relationships with healthcare providers and their staff. Their goal is to position the practice they represent as industry experts worthy of their referrals.
Consistency is key in any medical marketing initiative, and experienced physician liaisons ensure the practice is consistently recognized and promoted to the referral community. People refer to those they like, trust and respect. Physician liaisons strengthen both the provider and the practice’s reputation to peers, which builds the trust and respect needed to facilitate growth through referrals.
When Can I Expect to See Results from My Physician Liaison Program?
A physician liaison program takes time and consistency in order to be effective. Clear needs, goals and objectives must be established by both the practice and the liaison in order to be successful. Consistent reporting is essential to track results and measure the outcomes realized through the implementation of a physician liaison program. Reporting also helps to uncover trends and discrepancies in referral patterns.
Can’t My Marketing Person Act as My Physician Liaison?
The tendency many have is to pull an existing staff member into the role of physician liaison. While this may work in some cases, the majority of the time the staff member is not qualified to serve in this capacity. It also takes a considerable amount of time away from their other duties.
To be successful as a physician liaison, the staff member must be not only a sales person, but also a consultant. They need to be able to comfortably speak with providers and other decision makers about a variety of clinical topics as well as address any concerns they may have. They must also have the time to follow up with the people they see when they make a “call.” The worst thing a physician liaison can do is not follow up on something that was discussed or promised.
Is Hiring a Physician Liaison Expensive?
Many practices interested in physician liaison services often have concerns about finding someone that is not only qualified, but also affordable. They then run into the challenge of having to train and manage the employee to ensure they are performing their job properly.
A physician liaison program executed by an experienced medical marketing team can be an affordable alternative that is often less expensive than hiring a full-time employee. At MindStream Creative, we recruit some of the most experienced physician liaisons in the industry and pair each practice with the right liaison for them. We train and manage all physician liaisons so the administrators don’t have to.
For more information about physician liaison programs for your medical practice, contact MindStream Creative online or call 888-324-5559.