Which Physician Liaison Approach Will Grow My Referrals?

Quality vs. Quantity, the ongoing battle for doctors when it comes to the physician liaison marketing program for their practices. Physician referrals can be the lifeline for many doctor practices to generate new patients. Building and maintaining referrals from primary care and specialty providers in an area is essential to the growth of any medical practice.  But, oftentimes physicians face the dilemma of consistency and sustainability when it comes to growing referrals. This dilemma tends to lead back to the question of quality visits compared to the quantity of visits. Which approach is best for my practice? Are there Pros and Cons to both approaches? In this post we are going to put these two strategies head to head and break down the importance they have to your long-term physician liaison marketing program.

To get things started we are first going to look at what the difference is between quality physician visits and quantity physician visits by your physician liaison.

What is the difference?

Quality Physician Referral Marketing Visit Defined

A quality physician liaison practice visit is measuring the practice visits by the value. This means evaluating the meeting by the relevance of the referring doctor to the practice, time spent at the practice, introductions that were made, the content of conversation, and the follow up needed.  Quality visits are applying an effective strategy based on benchmarks and goals for your referrals. This strategy is developed, at is core, by establishing extensive referral marketing analytics, trends, and tracking so you have benchmarks and baselines in place to monitor growth and results.  It is important to have a comprehensive understanding of your current doctor referrals and an organized marketing plan out of the gate when using the quality physician referral method. This allows your physician liaison the ability to continuously measure results and increase patient growth without guess work or “gut feeling”. It provides a consistent marketing strategy and marketing sustainability.

All too often in this approach the measuring stick for its success is that the doctor has noticed that the practice is relatively busier or they heard a physician is now referring. That just will not cut it in the long run if you want to succeed with a quality approach because you need to be strategic and calculated and the only effective way to achieve this is through data, analytics and a well thought out plan. Quality marketing without tracking is like going to a gunfight without a gun. You are asking your physician liaison to market blind. It’s not good for them and detrimental to your practice in the long run. Organizing your referral-marketing program can help physicians grow their referrals and expand their practice.

12 Points of a Quality Physician Liaison Approach

  • Knowledge of current referral status
  • Establish benchmarks
  • Develop marketing reports
  • Identify referral trends
  • Target high referring physicians and practices
  • Research referring physicians in the area
  • Create marketing agenda
  • Set up comprehensive analytics and tracking
  • Generate workflow protocol
  • Report interactions and conversations and Leads
  • Highlight events, meetings, and follow up
  • Pulling analytics and reporting ROI

Read this for more Tips on Building Your Referral Marketing Program.

Quantity Physician Referral Marketing Visit Defined

A quantity physician liaison practice approach is visiting all of the identified physician practices that could be a potential referral in a certain geographical radius surrounding your medical practice. After running a report and complying a list of all of the doctors offices that meet your criteria a physician liaison visits every single one (if feasible) in a 30-day time frame. The objective in this approach is to visit all of your neighboring physicians and with a goal to increase awareness of your practice in hopes of seeing a 5-10% referral response from your practice network. This can be a highly effective initial approach when a practice is in a “launch” phase having just opened its doors in a new area or recently brought on a new physician that does not have a book of patients in that area for one reason or another.

7 Points of a Quality Physician Liaison Approach

  • Collect and order large volume of referral marketing collateral
  • Research all doctors in 35 mile radius of practice
  • Assign a physician liaison
  • Segment by territory
  • Double or triple the amount of office visits in a day
  • Visit all physicians with in 30 days
  • Brand awareness increase

The Pros and Cons of Quality & Quantity Doctor Office Visits:

Quality Referral Marketing Visits

Pros:

  • Organized marketing program
  • Tracking & analytics
  • Excellent customer service for referrals
  • Professional and experienced physician liasion
  • Significant increase in patient referrals
  • Easy to keep track of office visits & follow ups
  • Provides liasion mangement tools
  • Establishes more meaningful connections with referring doctors
  • Creates consistency
  • More sustainability with doctor referrals and physician relationships
  • Boosts high revenue procedures
  • Ongoing marketing
  • Generates new and growing revenue
  • Return on ROI
  • Expands practice

Cons

  • Involves set up
  • More time with each practice visit
  • Requires more time and energy for :
    • Follow up visits
    • Events and lunches
    • Marketing time with physician of your practice
    • Marketing management and reports

Quantity Referral Marketing Visits

Pros

  • Minimal to no set up
  • Quicker “jumpstart” or uptick in referral marketing results
  • Higher amount of practices visited in shorter amount of time
  • Does not require a skilled physician liaison
  • Less time and energy
  • Low physician requirements
  • Low time commitment

Cons

  • No tracking or reporting
  • Difficult to measure ROI
  • Lack of doctor referral sustainability
  • Not as effective
  • Hard to keep track of physicians, visits, and follow through
  • Limits ability to revisit and build relationships with referring physicians without possibility of annoying staff
  • Quickly oversaturate market
  • Spotty marketing or on and off marketing efforts

Which Approach is Best For My Practice?

The more the merrier right? In the case of referral marketing, this is not true. It is vital to remember that referring doctors are looking to build a relationship with a provider they can trust their patients will receive the highest quality care from. Quality referral marketing ensures you build a sustainable referral marketing program that can last for years. It provides physicians with top of line service and solid referral relationships. The most well run physician liaison programs are those that understand building doctor referral relationships is a marathon not a sprint. These are human relationship that you are building and it takes time to establish a know, like and trust with your fellow colleagues, especially the ones that may have never referred to you before. However there can be a time and place for a Quantity approach to your marketing. Below are a few times it could play an important role:

  • Immediate & necessary update of information for all providers in area to not disrupt current referral patterns
    • Change of office hours
    • New address in same city
    • Large change in insurance accepted
  • Hire a new physician
  • Bring on an important new procedure

physician liaison report healthcare marketing

Outside of these and a few other examples it is not advised to implement a quantity marketing approach long term. It will oversaturate and can even end up being detrimental to what you are working so hard to accomplish in the long run.

The physician liaison program helps navigate and organize efforts to reach practice goals and build relationships. You can track trends, territories, high revenue procedures, and consistent follow-ups. Like anything worth building it requires experience, proper skill set, ongoing maintenance, consistent management, reporting, and lots of time and hard work. So roll up your sleeves and get to work building those new referral relationships!

Conclusion

Do any of these questions apply to your practice?

Not sure what to do next?
Use to have a physician liaison marketing program and looking to relaunch it?
My referral flows become stagnant and/or dropped?
Having difficulty tracking your efforts & establishing an ROI?

We are here to help! Give us a call or fill out a form and we can schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation and give some sage advice all for FREE. We also provide a comprehensive audit that can show you the state of your physician liaison program. Talk soon and thanks for reading!

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Kelley is the CEO and Co-Founder of Intrepy. She has a background in consulting medical practices on how to grow their new and existing patient base through both digital and physical marketing. She is a proud graduate of the University of Alabama Roll Tide Roll!