How Liaisons Can Engage PCPs as Part of COVID Recovery Efforts

In a recent Barlow/McCarthy webinar, “From Backfill to Growth: Creating your Surgery Recovery Road Map”, Susan Boydell, Tricia Anderson and I discussed the opportunity health entities have to not only successfully relaunch and address their backlog of elective procedures, but consider opportunity to fuel future organizational growth.

Part of the webinar focused on how liaisons can leverage data and the relationships they have cultivated with key specialists to uncover the best partners in their organization plan for relaunch. Liaisons can play a role in resetting for future growth by taking a similar approach to primary care outreach. 

Data enabled outreach allows liaisons to focus on those relationships and conversations that will yield the strongest or quickest results. By accessing and reviewing your internal data and/or external claims data and combining those insights with the intelligence you are collecting from field, you can help your organization nurture and grow your referral base. 

When it comes to prioritizing primary care partners for outreach, I often point clients to their referral logs or internal data dashboards. Referral data can identify your top primary care partners by attending specialty and patient market.  Similarly, you can use trending data to understand if these partners’ historical referral patterns were stable, growing or declining prior to COVID-19. In addition to helping liaisons understand which providers to focus on for growth versus retention or recovery, referral data can help liaisons develop some confirmation questions about what patients may be waiting for specialty consults as service resume. 

Internal referral trends often just share one part of a referral partner’s story. For example, a provider may send your cardiologists a similar amount of new patient referrals each month which contributes to the assumption that they are invested in your network of cardiologists. Liaisons with access to external claims data may discover, however, that the provider’s patient base is actually growing and a competing network of cardiologists are getting a similar or higher number of cardiology referrals.

Knowing this second layer of detail allows liaisons to further prioritize conversations based on total shared patient volumes and estimated loyalty. I often prioritized my conversations with splitters who had stable or growing referral volumes as these represented relationships that were poised for growth. I also actively prioritized conversations with any loyal primary care partners who had declining volumes or shared patient trends as my organization could only realize incremental growth if we grow with our splitter while retaining our base. 

Of course, the third and most important part of a referral partner’s story is the field intelligence gathered by the liaisons themselves. To ensure they are collecting and bringing back the right information to their leadership, Tricia Anderson of TYA Consulting suggests liaisons use phone calls or virtual meetings with primary care providers to confirm the impact COVID-19 has had on their patients and practice thus far, what their practice needs going forward to survive and thrive, as well as the potential to regain referrals over time.


Questions liaisons can use to confirm COVID impact:

  • What is your current level of productivity today?
    How does this compare to before March?
  • What staffing changes have occurred since March?
  • What technology are you using to stay connected with your patients today?
  • Are many of your patients reporting loss or changes to insurance coverage?


Questions liaisons can use to uncover practice needs:

  • Are you accepting new patients?
  • What are you doing now to stay connected with your existing patients?
  • Are patients sharing readiness concerns?
    If so, what are they most concerned about? (availability, telemed, safety, affordability) 
    How are you addressing these today?
  • What else is keeping you up at night right now? (financial insecurity, supplies, staffing, etc.)


Questions liaison can use to explore referral connections:

  • What consults have you parked or placed on hold for now? (type & volume)
  • When it comes to addressing cancelled or on hold referrals, what’s most important today?
    Availability? Tele-med? Safety? Affordability?
  • Are you open to face-to-face/virtual meetings with specialists, hospital leaders?
  • How often do you want to be updated by our team as service lines resume?
    What method of contact should be used?


In conversation, a liaison may discover what the organization will need to do or communicate to assure this provider and her patients that it can provide a safe environment for resuming services. They may also identify which specialists they can connect to key PCPs by facilitating a virtual meet and greet between providers.   


While gathering this information is a key part of your organization’s recovery and future growth, being able to package those insights in a meaningful way is what can set your team apart. Click here (link to previous PRM article) for more tips on how to leverage your PRM to collect and report the COVID intel your team in collecting from the field.


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