Find These in a Physician Liaison & Prepare for More Patients

Implementing an effective referral marketing campaign requires a successful physician liaison. When hiring a physician liaison there are specific traits that you should look for to make sure they are the best representative of your medical practice and overall brand. The following 20 traits should be considered in when hiring a successful physician liaison whether it is as an employee or in a consulting relationship.

1. College Educated Physician Liaison

A proper education is very important for a physician liaison because they will be required to constantly engage with healthcare and other business professionals, including medically trained physicians. This is the first step in the hiring process for a physician liaison and a quick way to eliminate applicants that are not qualified for your medical marketing position at your practice. A degree also represents that the physician liaison has successfully completed a high level of educational requirements and commitment to projects and deadlines. As a healthcare marketing professional they will be using both written and verbal communication. A liaison will be interacting with medical providers and physicians through emails, person-to-person meetings, lunches, and healthcare marketing events.  Your physician liaison is a representation of your practice and patient care, so it is critical to have someone with a proper education and degree to be able to successfully represent your medical practice.

2. Personable and Engaging Marketing Personality

Driving a successful referral marketing program is having a practice ambassador that can easily begin a conversation with multiple personalities. In the countless doctor’s offices, they visit they will encounter the full range and gamut of personalities: the happy, the sad, the good and the bad. A successful liaison needs to develop a productive repertoire with other healthcare and marketing professionals. They will be challenged at times and need to feel confident in their message and approach to move the relationship forward.

Referring doctors should feel comfortable discussing patient care and referrals with your physician liaison.  The goal is to build a referral relationship and open communication with referring physicians, clinical managers, front office staff, and referral coordinators. A physician liaison with a personable and engaging personality will help the “gate keepers” welcome them in the practice and continue a dialogue on physician referrals. Once the liaison is able to get passed the front office staff and speaks with the doctor or referral coordinator they then can deliver your medical practice’s value proposition.  The goal is to discuss what makes your practice unique, what you can do for their patients and ultimately build a referral relationship. If a liaison cannot properly engage with the medical staff and doctors they will be unable to create or maintain a referral relationship.

Read this learn more about the different types of physician liaison visits.

3. Medical Industry Experience

Understanding both the healthcare and the marketing industry is a foundation needed for a proper referral marketing coordinator. An experienced physician liaison requires less training and brings a high level of professionalism to interact with other healthcare professionals. The liaison doesn’t necessarily need to have liaison experience but needs to have a solid comprehension of the medical arena and business professionalism. The healthcare industry has its own nuances, pain points, referral patterns, and influencers. A person with a strong understanding of these will go a long way in the success of growing your practice and patient base.

4. Motivated and Driven to Increase Doctor Referrals

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Physicians with open communication by establishing marketing benchmarks and developing employee incentives is always a great way to encourage motivation in their staff.  Goal oriented physician liaisons help doctors reach referral marketing targets and continue to develop new marketing approaches. It is critical to have a solid analytics and tracking system in place to allow the staff member to run reports and stay up-to-date on the over ROI and health of the program to keep them motivated and accountable. Physician liaisons with a driven personality will find value in constantly challenging themselves and producing results. Encourage these traits by getting involved and cooperating with the referral marketing strategy your physician liaison has built. At the same time do not squash drive with overly unrealistic expectations of referral growth. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

5. Availability to Meet with Doctors

The world of medical marketing is not a normal 9 to 5 job. Doctors have demanding schedules and their first priority lies with the care of their patients. Patient emergencies are not always on the agenda and physicians are required to devote their time to treat whatever may come up. A physician liaison needs to be available and flexible with after work or early business hours. If the only free time a referring doctor has is 5:30 am in the morning before work or surgery to talk about referrals they will need to make themselves available.

If a physician liaison is unwilling to put in the extra time they will give the impression to the referring doctor their time is more valuable than their own. Doctors are not always available to block their schedules to attend events or meetings, and often after a long day at the practice just want to go home to their families. A successful liaison will make them available and adapt to their schedule by meeting at their practice at a requested time.

6. Great Comprehension of the Healthcare Industry

Physician liaisons’ are not expected to be clinician’s or have the degree of medical professionals, but they are expected to have an extensive comprehension of the medical subject matter they are discussing for their given practice specialty. Doctor’s like to discuss less about scheduling and follow up and more about specific medical matters and conditions in relation to their patient referrals. An individual with the knowledge of symptoms, treatments, and medical vocabulary needed to discuss the link between referrals will be most effective in the long run. The physician liaison is a representative of the doctor and practice to serve as a resource for referring doctors; the more information they can provide the more success they will have.

Read this for quick tips on building your referral marketing networks.

7. Creative Referral Marketing Ideas

Maintaining doctor referrals is the biggest differentiator between a successful referral marketing campaign and a stagnant one. To avoid stagnant or decreasing patient referrals the physician liaison will need get creative and develop new outlets and new conversations to stay memorable. Innovative marketing efforts can help your practice reach new ways to grow referrals and make lasting impressions to help continue the conversation. A creative personality brings energy to your marketing efforts and a positive teamwork environment. There is always a natural seasonality to referral patterns based on insurance of school schedules so knowing that plan some unique initiatives to coincide with these times.

8. Analytical Marketing Approach

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Identifying benchmarks and creating goals through practice reports adds a huge value to your referral marketing. An effective physician liaison will measure referral marketing through the practice numbers and reports and not by time spent. Analytics and reports provide both the practice and marketer with full knowledge of the current status of patient referrals and treatments. Understanding your practice numbers will help doctors not only identify marketing trends and targets but evaluate the ROI of their physician liaison program.

9. Established Medical Network

The stronger existing relationship a physician liaison has with local doctors and healthcare providers the more value they bring to growing your patient referrals and overall revenue for the practice. Attending networking events is a great way to get in front of healthcare providers and have their undivided attention for a spell. By extending their network to other healthcare professionals liaisons can find similar synergies and collaborate with other medical professionals to bring new revenue to the practice.

10. Professionalism

As an extension of the practice, your marketing representative should project professionalism. These individuals need to be prompt, respectful when speaking with healthcare staff and providers, experienced in proper business etiquette, and productive in their role. A physician liaison with experience and professionalism will illustrate the high standards that your practice and providers have when taking care of patients.

11. Organized

As with any marketing program, healthcare marketing involves multiple campaigns and contacts. To avoid sloppy marketing, healthcare marketers need to be organized to make sure they see efforts through to completion. Physician liaison’s visit multiple doctor practices and meet with numerous medical providers. To ensure they follow up they will need to apply an effective way to organize all the information, which also makes reporting and delegating easier.

12. Collaboration & Teamwork

Referral marketing involves collaboration with the entire practice staff and providers. Oftentimes, the physician liaison is out meeting with doctors and not in the medical practice. Therefore, they need to collaborate with the front office staff and develop a protocol for incoming messages related to the marketing. It is important they meet with the staff and get familiar with the entire practice because referrals may involve various aspects of the practice and multiple staff members. Without the ability to collaborate with other employees, efforts may fall short due to the inability to see the campaign to completion. If your medical marketing employees do not show characteristics of being a team player they are probably not a good fit for your practice.

13. Direct & Confident

It is not enough for a medical liaison just to meet with referring providers it is critical that they communicate a direct and straight to the point message. Doctors do not want to take the time from seeing patients during clinic to hear a generic message that doesn’t have any direct value to their patient care. A confident physician liaison will face the challenges associated when speaking with multiple personalities and will answer targeted questions. They are there to bridge the gap between providers and referrals so their time speaking with the medical providers needs to be direct and filled with quality information.

14. Reliability

This quality goes back to professionalism and reiterates the importance of picking a marketing representative with education and experience. Referral marketing will involve outside office meetings, new relationships, and unique follow-ups. As a physician, you need to feel confident knowing your physician liaison is where they need to be when they need to be there. They will need to be equipped to properly relay your medical practice’s message and quality care.

15. Delegates Tasks and Responsibilities to Relative Team Members

Physician liaisons are the front line of a medical practice’s referral program. As messengers for the practice, they will need to take the information and delegate tasks to the appropriate medical departments in the practice. A highly successful physician liaison understands the importance of not overwhelming themselves with tasks, not in their department and delegating responsibility to the correct staff member. This trait reflects the leadership capabilities of your employee and how they can navigate your referral marketing campaign successfully.

16. Strong Communication Skills with Physician and Medical Practice

A productive physician liaison is the messenger and direct link between referring doctors and the practice. Strong communication between the employing physician and referring doctor only increases the success of the referral initiatives. They need to have direct communication with providers to ask questions and relay messages from referring physicians. Require blocked time to speak with your physician liaison, so that you as the physician can build that line of communication and successfully equip your liaison with all the knowledge they need to succeed. If a referring doctor does not feel that your physician liaison has the access they need to speak with a top doctor decision maker they are highly unlikely to engage in conversation with the liaison.

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17. Responsive to the Needs of Referring Medical Practices

Responsiveness is key to providing the ultimate level of customer service in any referral relationship. Not all doctors will have the same needs and concerns. In order to be a successful physician liaison, they will need to quickly respond to any requests or negative feedback that a doctor may provide. Recognizing the needs of a referring physician in a timely manner will create the trust that their patients are treated with highest quality care. No practice is perfect and mistakes will happen or the ball will be dropped at some point. Respond quickly and effectively to the situation with all necessary follow up. A responsive physician liaison will always be aware of the status of referring doctors and revisit referred cases to thank them and follow up. Follow up visits can solidify the relationship and increase more referrals.

18. Energetic

Referral marketing can become repetitive after time so an energetic personality is a fantastic trait for an employee. Bringing in new energy and approaching meetings with a positive attitude will help drive your physician liaison to have quality interactions. Liaisons are constantly meeting new people and attending events so they will need to have the energy to be personable and effective when talking about the practice.

19. Multi-Tasking

Multi-tasking is a challenge for many healthcare professionals. A successful physician liaison can handle multiple projects and tasks. Part of their day-to-day duties will require office work and other marketing campaigns in conjunction with the doctor office visits. Multi-tasking is a trait that will help your employee perform at the highest level of efficiency without feeling overwhelmed and losing focus.

20. Genuine

The most important trait a physician liaison can possess is being genuine with the doctors that they meet. A genuine person will have all of the previous traits combined and the most effective relationships with referring doctors and medical practices. A genuine physician liaison will listen, remember, and act on all the referral practices needs and concerns. They will develop memorable conversations and sustain the referral marketing relationship. When a liaison is genuine in their approach they have taken the needs of the practice seriously and deliver substantial results.


Remember to get involved and support all employees and the marketing efforts of your medical practice. The most effective healthcare marketing campaign is the one where the providers get involved when comes to patient care and the practice message.

Think you have an employee that has what it takes to be a great physician liaison but not sure how to teach them? No sweat!  Give us a call or fill out a form because we offer comprehensive training for a specific person inside or out of your practice that we help identify. Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation and get some sage advice all for FREE. Talk soon and thanks for reading!

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Kelley Knott

Kelley is the CEO and Co-Founder of Intrepy Healthcare Marketing. She is a highly experienced physician liaison and has a background in consulting medical and dental practices on how to build new patient referrals and create digital marketing strategies.

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