Revitalizing Physician Relations: A Checklist to Drive Referral Growth

Revitalizing Physician Relations: Your Checklist to Drive Referral Growth


Does this sound all too familiar… You have a great team of liaisons, who know the importance of physician relationships, and are focused on growth. Yet, your referral gains aren’t as robust as you’d like. You’re not alone! Revitalizing physician relations is top of mind across our industry.

That’s why we’ve developed a quick, 4-step checklist for driving referral growth. Use it to revitalize your physician relations program and secure the robust referral gains you’re hoping for.


1. Rethink the physician liaison role.

Consider how this role has changed in the past 5 years. Great physician relationships aren’t good enough anymore. For robust referral growth, your physician liaisons must become strategic thinkers—building relationships with intent.

How would you describe your field team? Are they:

  • Physician advocates
  • Volume growth experts
  • Physician problem-solvers
  • Practice builders
  • Customer service professionals

Does your description match your leaders’? And does it mesh with your referral growth plan? Physician problem-solvers may have worked in the past. But, volume growth experts are more aligned with today’s goal of revitalizing physician relations.

By identifying and redefining the roles of your physician liaisons, you’ll know how to advance your team and best support them with the right training and technology.

**Interested in learning how AMITA Health identified which physicians were “loyal” (80% of member revenue) or “splitters” (30-60% of referral business)? Then, successfully divided their physician liaison team into retention strategists and growth experts to optimally serve them? Watch this webinar featuring our Marketware technologies: Scout analytics and Ascend software.**


2. Build relationships with intent.

Solid physician relationships don’t necessarily bear results—the referral volume that we need. To get back on track, ask your liaisons… Are you progressing your relationships toward additional referrals? Are you adding value to your physicians’ offices?

Then, use this intel to help them:

  • Tighten their visit strategy. Use a healthcare business intelligence platform to revamp their pre-call plan to elicit the right kind of discussion from their targets.
  • Remove questions that don’t support intentions. What does “how’s it going?” accomplish? Replace these icebreakers with statements that introduce your liaisons’ purpose and reinforce their physicians’ needs.
  • Ask, don’t tell. The best way to position your services is to have your team ask insightful questions, instead of simply recounting your services.
  • Document & learn from visits. Have a centralized location for your team to track and manage their visit notes, such as a physician relationship management system.


3. Tell a story through reporting.

What do your reports communicate? How are you presenting results? Get your leaders’ attention with reports that convey your value.

The first way you can do this is by sending results across the sales cycle—every stage is an opportunity for a mini-close! This also helps leaders see your progression, which reinforces your value. A second tip is to know your customer. What do leaders want? What are they receptive to? Knowing exactly who your reports are going to empowers you to craft the right story for engagement. Lastly, never forget the power of “less is more”. You’ll create more impact with a tight story that covers: what you learned, what opportunities you identified and what referral volume you can project.


4. Reevaluate your target lists.

In our webinar “Revitalizing Physician Relations: Hit Your Referral Growth Stride”, guest presenter Susan Boydell took a poll to see what your peers’ greatest challenges are regarding referrals. Tied for #1 was “leakage to competitors”.

Targeting is foundational. So, use data to see where you’re leaking patients, and then refocus your targeting methodology. Here are some questions to get you started… Do you have a leakage strategy? Have you created a persona for the ideal physician you can earn business from? Are you quantifying opportunities with data/field intelligence? Does your sales plan define your liaisons’ actions with needs-based questions, message development, etc.?


Revitalizing Physician Relations… No Time Like the Present

Hopefully this checklist will jumpstart your efforts towards robust referral growth. Use it for revitalizing physician relations, fine-tuning your referral processes and optimizing areas of physician alignment.