What is a Physician Liaison?

Physician liaisons are healthcare marketing experts. A physician liaison is responsible for creating, growing, and maintaining long-term partnerships with healthcare professionals such as urgent care facilities, physicians, doctors, medical specialty groups, etc. Essentially, the role of a physician liaison is to increase referrals and communication between healthcare professionals and facilities. 

What Does a Physician Liaison do? 

The key role of a physician liaison is to create referral marketing programs to increase physician/doctor referrals and expand the business of the medical facility they work for.  Doctor referrals are a beneficial resource for medical businesses. Because medical professionals are so busy caring for their patients, oftentimes they hire a physician liaison to spread awareness about their medical facility. The physician liaison will visit referring doctors or doctors who referred patients to your medical facility, to discuss the care and services they offer, the referral process, and why they refer patients to your medical office. They will express how grateful they are for referrals on behalf of the doctor they work for and report back to their employer. 

Once a physician liaison reaches out and meets with facilities that are referring patients to their medical facility, they will inform their employer about the necessary information regarding referrals and open a line of communication between the two. This allows both doctors to refer patients to one another and serves as an agreement—if you refer patients to my facility, I will refer patients to yours. A physician liaison is a middleman between two facilities and physicians who are willing to work together to grow their medical business. Physician liaisons have an important role because they represent the medical practice they work for and are educated with medical terms, treatments, and processes. 

What are the Duties of a Physician Liaison? 

A physician liaison has many duties within the medical field. Depending on the needs of the medical facility, you can expect them to help grow the medical business by focusing on referrals, expanding doctor partnerships, managing sales, communicating with staff to better their patients’ experience, and communicating with referring medical facilities to ensure everything is running smoothly. Here is a list of what physician liaisons do:

  • Create, grow, and maintain partnerships between physicians 
  • Create referral marketing programs 
  • Increase patient referrals
  • Increase revenue 
  • Assist with physician networking 
  • Manage communications between referring medical facilities
  • Research, locate, and contact potential referring physicians 
  • Meet with medical professionals, administrators, and directors
  • Create and provide business cards to referring physicians for patients 
  • Organize and schedule meetings 
  • Serve as a customer service employee
  • Work as a marketing director 
  • Measure and track growth and success

Physician liaisons can help grow your medical practice if you hire the right one. It is important to hire a physician liaison that is reliable, hardworking, and goal-oriented. Ensure they understand your goals and are well-experienced in your practice. 

Hiring a Physician Liaison 

Understand that you don’t want to rush the hiring process. You want to make sure you hire the right physician liaison for your medical facility. Not every physician liaison can help your medical practice grow, hire the right one and ask the following questions while interviewing them. 

Introductory questions

  • How would you describe a good physician liaison? 
  • What makes you a good physician liaison 
  • Why do you want to work at my medical facility?
  • What are you interested in achieving as a physician liaison?

Experience questions

  • What experience do you have working with physicians, the healthcare industry, or in this area of expertise? 
  • How has your education and experience contributed to the skills of being a good physician liaison?
  • What do you think is the most rewarding part of this job?

Skill questions 

  • What traits of being a physician liaison do you feel are most important? 
  • What do you think is the most important factor for physicians who are deciding which facility to refer their patients to?
  • As a physician liaison, what skill do you think is overlooked but plays a vital role in the industry?

Scenario Questions 

  • As doctors run on a tight schedule, they may be late or miss a meeting. What would you do in this case?
  • If you need to speak with the doctor, but s/he is unavailable at the moment what do you do? 
  • How would you handle the situation if you visit a medical facility to discuss referrals and the staff is rude?
  • If a doctor or staff member complains about you, how would you handle the situation?

Career questions 

  • What influences you to stay at our medical facility as a physician liaison long term?
  • What about this job appeals to you the most?
  • How will this job help you grow your career?

Physician liaisons perform many essential tasks and duties for medical facilities. For this reason, it’s important to find the right candidate for the job. Let’s take a deeper look into what a physician liaison does. 

Physician Liaison Referral Marketing Plan 

You can expect healthcare marketing to continue to evolve. Although we are transitioning to a virtual style of marketing, the use of referrals will never disappear. In fact, we can expect this healthcare marketing strategy to stick around long-term because there is no one doctor that can do it all. You will come across patients that need healthcare services you don’t offer and patients that need the healthcare you offer that were referred by partnering doctors. According to Kyruss, 54% of patients find a specialty physician from referrals. More than half of the patients that are in need of a specialty medical professional are able to find the care they need through referrals. 

This is why it is important to understand how relations marketing programs work. They can increase practice revenue and clientele. In order to increase the amount of referred patients at your medical facility, you need to have a specific marketing approach such as a physician liaison. Allow a PL to manage physician referral partnerships for you so you don’t have to. They normally have a clear understanding of the practice and services your medical facility offers, which also includes any sales that take place. However, each medical facility operates differently. To successfully utilize referrals as a marketing strategy, you may need to train your physician liaison. 

The physician liaison you hire should know what they are doing, but it’s important to train them in your medical facility. This will allow your PL to work and communicate with referring physicians, which can lead to patient conversions and high revenue increase. Essentially, the role of a physician liaison is to better your market practice by utilizing referrals. Physicians Liaisons will also need to create a marketing plan for the medical facility they work for. Since over half of specialty-related patients are referral-based, their main marketing focus should be referral marketing. The PL will identify what is working with the referral program, what isn’t working, and what can be done to further the growth of the medical business. They will constantly be working on referral projects that are designed to increase connections, patient referrals, and revenue. They will ensure that you and your medical facility are accurately represented, and increase doctor referrals and medical practice revenue. 

Connecting with the Community 

As a doctor, it is important to be involved with the local healthcare community. This increases the number of people your name as a medical professional reaches. This is also something a physician’s liaison tackles. They act as a representative for your medical facility by attending healthcare events and connecting with professionals who could become a referring doctor. They expand your reach by networking and connecting with local healthcare professionals. In this regard, your medical facility is introduced to the healthcare community and creates a character for your brand. The more known your healthcare facility is, the more referrals you will get. 

The Responsibilities of a Physician Liaison

The physician liaison serves as a physician relations manager that coordinates meetings between partnering physicians. If you are hiring a physician liaison, you should consider the responsibilities they have. The main responsibility of a PL is to seek physician partnerships. Physician liaisons need to actively seek out new opportunities for your medical facility to receive more referrals and strengthen the partnerships you already have. This includes scheduling appointments and meetings between the participating physicians. It’s important to stay in contact with the referring physicians because you are trusting the doctor you are referring patients to, and vice versa. If you refer a patient to a doctor that does not best serve your patients, it will negatively impact you and your medical facility. Ensure you are partnering with trustworthy, quality, and experienced physicians.

Physician Liaison Analysis 

Physician liaisons will also analyze how well the referral program is functioning. They will meet with participating staff and physicians to receive feedback and understand how they feel about the program. They will analyze how patients are responding to referrals and meet with the doctor to review the feedback. From there they will work closely to ensure issues get resolved and patients are happy with the medical services they are receiving. Sometimes the only issue the referral program is experiencing is technology difficulty, so the PL will do everything they can to ensure the technical difficulty is resolved. Physician liaisons should monitor the growth of the medical business, report to physicians, and create effective methods for growth. 

Do I Need a Physician Liaison?

Medical facilities don’t necessarily need physician liaisons; however, they can largely grow the business of your medical facility. Physician liaisons focus intently on increasing referrals. This can be done on your own, but it is time-consuming and is a program that requires consistent action to ensure it runs smoothly. If you can relate to the following, then it may be time to hire a physician liaison: 

  • If you are new to the community and need to introduce yourself and establish trust 
  • If you want to increase revenue, sales, services, and the number of patients you have 
  • If you are interested in driving patient referrals
  • You want to expand your network of patient referrals 

Conclusion 

Physician liaisons can expand your medical business and allow you to create physician partnerships and doctor-patient relationships.   A good physician liaison will: 

  • Efficiently create referral marketing plans
  • Reach out to local physicians
  • Attend community events and network with physicians 
  •  Schedule meetings between physicians
  • Encourage physician partnerships 
  • Visit medical facilities that may be of interest for the referral program 
  • Track referrals and ensure they are being acted upon
  • Analyze the referral program 
  • Take the necessary steps to ensure the referral program is working
  • Problem solve referral issues that arise 

Referral marketing programs are beneficial but require a lot of time, traveling, research, and planning. With the right physician liaison, you can focus on treating patients and providing them with the best patient experience, while a physician liaison focuses on their duties to expand your network, create beneficial connections, and increase revenue.

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