Field Strategy: Innovating Credibility to Drive Physician Referrals

Field Strategy: Innovating Credibility to Drive Physician Referrals

According to a poll done by Barlow/McCarthy, 92% of respondents believe the most important criteria to a doctors 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 organization. This builds relationships that increase the organization’s competitive advantage and 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. You need positive internal credibility, communication and field staff that can go beyond pitching products to forming relationships with intent. With this in mind, we’ve composed a list of concepts to utilize in the field and build credibility.

Define Successful Field Strategy

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. Individual members and leaders within your organization should be engaged in the success of strategies and organizational goals. Above all, there should be clear goals with aligned metrics in place, in order for a team to succeed.

Focus, Prepare & Prepare Some More

Create a Target List

The first thing to remember, visiting every physician possible is not a requirement to get results. It’s important for physician liaisons to focus on quality rather than quantity when deciding what physicians to invest time in. Accordingly, create a segmented list of physicians based on their value. Having a target list will help physician liaisons be efficient in their efforts.

Know Your Audience

Secondly, it’s important to know what you’ll be getting into with each physician. Before visiting a physician, review past discussions kept within your physician referral management software. Doing this enables you to recall any past needs and wants that you can address in your visit. Furthermore, you can reflect on whether they are a contributor to referral leakage.

Create a Detailed Script

Lastly, prepare a detailed script. The script should include a structured intro, reason(s) for meeting, specific questions to better position products and future expectations. This will show the physician you value their time and attention and a result make the conversation more impactful.

Intentional Conversations

Topics of Interest

One of the most important parts of physician relations is intent. According to another poll done by Barlow/McCarthy — 4.15 out of 5 doctors find liaisons most helpful when they feel their needs have been addressed. Although doctors and gatekeepers choose whether or not to let a physician liaison open a conversation, physician liaisons can decide the added value to these conversations.

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. While also knowing how to transition conversations to the business at hand. It’s important to identify a physicians wants and needs, to create a clear-cut path to referrals.

How helpful do doctors find the topics the physician liaison discusses with them?

Efficient Questions

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 will create impactful conversations when they:

  • Are topics of interest
  • Highlight physician & organizational priorities
  • Create dialogue
  • Position the services a physician liaison is aiming to call out
Track to Build Traction

In the medical field, tracking builds traction. Physician liaison should alway utilize a physician relationship management platform. Doing this will create detailed reports on all their efforts. This way, reports can be brought to the c-suite to prove ROI or to utilize as refreshers for future meetings with physicians. When building out reports, data should be heavily involved, telling a story of your findings. Ultimately data should be used to drive actions, support goals and report on issues within an organization.

Closing Thoughts

Physician liaisons must keep up with so much in their role, some of which includes:

  • Industry related news
  • Physician needs
  • Hospital organizations’ specialties
  • Profitable physicians
  • Physician relations within their organization
  • Physician relations within other organizations

Through innovation in the field with research, preparation and tracking, credibility will be established. Resulting in positive field strategies and ultimately in the reduction of physician referral leakage.

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Date: January 25 2022
Subject: Physician Relations
About the author
Josh Cameron, MBA — VP, Client Success
Josh Cameron, MBA

Vice President

Marketware, a Division of Medsphere