3 Tried & True Ways to Make Your Physician Outreach More Valuable
By: Alexis Lesa | June 2, 2017
There might have been a time when being a go-getter was enough for physician liaisons to be successful in their market. But according to research by Barlow/McCarthy, shifting priorities in the healthcare landscape means physician liaisons may need to realign their efforts. Though referral volume is still of paramount importance with 60% of survey respondents saying it’s their organization’s top priority for the physician relations team, other success indicators also made the list. Reducing patient leakage, increasing satisfaction, and managing physician complaints were also mentioned in the survey, which queried physician outreach staff from organizations across the country.
The question is, how does a physician liaison successfully manage these priorities? According to over 47% of respondents, the answer is through better data analysis and reporting support. Without a strategy tied directly to the multiple sources of data you have at your disposal, you might end up feeling like you’re constantly spinning your wheels on visit after fruitless visit. Here are some tips to help you make every outreach opportunity as productive as it can be.
- Don’t talk to every doctor, talk to the right doctors. Though there might be a lot of doctors in your area who you could be talking to, you really should be visiting the doctors who will provide you with the best outcomes for the work you’ll put into your relationship with them. Not all doctors are equal in terms of referral volume revenue, and you should know that information before you add any physician to your outreach efforts; in fact, over 47% of physician relations staff surveyed felt that better data and data reporting would enhance their outreach effectiveness. A physician’s referral behaviors can be ascertained through aggregating and analyzing claims data, as well as internal EHR and EMR data, which can be done using software developed specifically for physician outreach.
- Get personal. Superficial knowledge of your physicians won’t allow you to ask the targeted, meaningful questions that will show them you understand their challenges. Studying the data mentioned above will give you insights into your physicians’ referral behaviors, payer mix, and competitors. This is a step in the right direction toward understanding the challenges they face, and will also provide you with talking points for your communications with them. Be sure to review any past discussions you’ve had with physicians so you can follow up with them on specifics, which will communicate that you’ve been listening to them and are genuinely interested in their concerns. During visits, ask pointed questions that will yield more information, which will enable you to act as a strategic partner to your physicians. The effort you put into preparation before each visit will be evident to the physician, which will instill trust in both you and your organization.
- Be organized. How many doctors do you try to see in a day? Week? How large is the area you cover? Many physician liaisons report spending a good deal of their work day on the road, going from their home to their office, or to a hospital then back to the office, only to have to turn around and drive back in the direction they just came from to visit another physician in a nearby location. It’s not always possible to plan your day down to the minute, but time management is a crucial skill liaisons must develop to be successful. Technology is your friend when it comes to making the most of your time. Find a PRM with routing capabilities that will allow you to plan your routes before you leave for the day, so you can maximize your time working instead of driving needlessly.
Another element of good time management involves how long it takes you to document the results of your communications with physicians. The information you glean from calls, emails, or visits to physicians is like currency, and you should treat it as such. Taking notes on post-its scattered around your office or in a notebook you sometimes forget in your car is the equivalent of stuffing hard-earned dollar bills under a mattress. If you aren’t already using a physician relationship management tool, you should be. Look for one that’s specifically designed for the needs of healthcare relationship management and physician outreach, and has a mobile app to help you stay organized and productive even when you’re on the road.
There’s more competition than ever to find and retain physicians, and preparation is key. For more tips on how to get more value out of every physician outreach effort, check out this webinar featuring industry experts from Barlow/McCarthy, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, and Marketware.