Field Strategy: Innovating Credibility to Drive Physician Referrals
According to a poll done by Barlow/McCarthy, 92% of respondents believe that the most important criteria to doctors in the selection of other specialists is clinical expertise with flow of communication close behind. One of a physician liaison’s many duties is to aid in increasing physicians’ knowledge of other physicians and specialists within their hospital organization. This will build relationships that increase an organization’s competitive advantage and skyrocket physician referrals.
These relationships require strategic actions accomplished over an extended period of time on and off the field. When building connections, it can be difficult getting past the gatekeepers without positive internal credibility, adequate communication and field staff that can go beyond pitching products to forming relationships with intent.
Focusing on increasing physician referrals through relational building within field driven actions, we composed a list of innovative concepts to utilize in the field and build credibility.
Defining What a Successful Field Strategy Looks Like
When it comes to creating a successful field strategy, there are no best kept secrets. Field strategies should be focused, data driven programs with growth obligations and physician targets in place. Any strategy is much more likely to succeed through developing clear goals with aligned metrics. Individual members and leaders within hospital organizations should be engaged in the success of strategies and supporting organizational goals.
Create a Target List
Widely misunderstood, visiting every physician possible is not a requirement to get results. It is important for physician liaisons to focus on quality rather than quantity when deciding what physicians to invest time in. Creating a segmented list of physicians based on their value, will better help physician liaisons be efficient in their efforts.
Know Your Audience
Before visiting the physician, review past discussions kept within your physician referral management software. This will enable you to recall a physician’s past needs, passions, and reflect on whether they are a contributor to referral leakage.
Create a Detailed Script
Lastly, prepare a detailed script including a structured intro, reason(s) for meeting, specific questions to better position products, and future expectations. This will aid in time management and show physicians you value their time and attention to make current and future conversations more impactful.
Focused & Impactful Conversations
Topics of Interest
An important part of physician relations is intent. According to another poll done by Barlow/McCarthy, 4.15 out of 5 doctors find it physician liaisons helpful when they feel liaisons are listening to their needs and providing strong communication. Doctors and gatekeepers may get to choose whether or not to let a physician liaison open a conversation, but physician liaisons get to decide the added value to these conversations.
How helpful do doctors find the topics the physician liaison discusses with them?
Conversations should be brief, interesting, and utilize the detailed script the preparation component of field strategy. Field staff should know how to create a shared dialogue through engaging with a topic of interest but know how to transition conversations to the business at hand. It is important to know how to create a clear-cut path to building physician referrals through identifying a physician’s wants and needs.
A liaison must consistently be reworking questions within their script as their services and specialties grow as well as adjust questions dependent on the physician. Efficient questions to create impactful conversations should frame topics of interest, highlight physician and organizational priorities, create dialogue, and position services a physician liaison is aiming to call out.
Tracking Builds Traction
Within the medical field, tracking builds traction. Physician liaison should always be utilizing a physician referral tracking software to create detailed reports on all of their efforts. This way, reports can be brought back to senior leadership to prove ROI or they can also be utilized as refreshers for future meetings with physicians. When building out these reports, data should be heavily involved to tell a story of your findings. Data should ultimately be used to drive actions and support goals and report on issues within an organization.
Physician liaisons must keep up with industry related news, physician needs, hospital organizations’ specialties, profitable physicians, physician relations within their organization as well as other organizations and so much more within their role. Through innovation in the field with heavy preparation, research, creating impactful conversations, and meticulous tracking, credibility will be established, and positive field strategies will result—ultimately, resulting in the reduction of physician referral leakage.