Most healthcare marketing plans include physician marketing outreach visits by liaisons like myself. Some of the visits are discovery visits that I make directly to the practice and some are in-person meetings or lunch-and-learns that I schedule between my champions and targeted referral sources. I also will often partner with marketing and physician champions to plan and execute other support events including CME dinners and community lectures. Over the last six months, I’ve slowly been transitioning from doing these visits in person to hosting these virtually using tools like Zoom and Facetime. As my providers have gotten more comfortable using these formats, I have noticed some really great benefits to hosting events virtually.
As a large academic health system, many of our referrals come from tertiary markets. Visiting these areas can mean taking a surgeon out of his practice for a full day depending on how much time has to be carved out for the drive to-and-from any scheduled meetings. When actively marketing a new program, pulling the surgeon from the office and/or operating room can cut down on patient access, volumes and revenue. By hosting provider-to-provider events online, liaisons can cut down on the time they are pulling providers from their patients. Additionally, they may be able to complete more visits in the same amount of time because the physician champion can use the time they would have spent on the road to complete virtual visits with additional providers. Mine have also been able to use the time between calls to catch up on charts
While some were initially hesitant to move towards virtual visits, both my physician champions and fellow liaisons have really seen positive results from this new approach. For these reasons, this virtual format is likely here to stay beyond COVID-19. That doesn’t mean that virtual visits don’t have their challenges. Technology sometimes fails, providers run behind schedule and sometimes it can be difficult to connect through a screen. This is where a liaison’s approach to pre-call planning can make or break.
Below are some tips that I have found help create a more seamless virtual physician marketing outreach visit:
1. Know your platform
Get familiar with whatever conference and screenshare software your organization is relying on. Examples include Zoom, GotoMeeting, Microsoft Teams and more. Practice with these tools as a team ahead of time so you know how best to support your physicians.
Create a “tip sheet” to share with providers in advance that helps them understand what they can do to create a positive first impression from behind a screen. (link to ours)
3. Host a practice session
Offer to host a practice session with your provider so they can get familiar with your software and check their audiovisual settings in advance.
If possible, plan to be onsite with them to provide technical support as needed. This can allow you to sit in for the provider while they are charting or wrapping up other responsibilities and “buzz” them in once the other providers joins.
5. Have a back up
Have a phone number for someone on the other end with a smart phone in case the internet connection is bad or the software fails.
6. Be ready ahead of time
If you’re hosting a lunch-and-learn, make sure to schedule for the meal to be delivered 20-30 minutes before the call, to ensure it’s there and ready when it’s time to go live.
7. Say your thank you’s
Make sure to thank any support people on the other end for helping to facilitate.
What are your top tips and tricks for creating a more seamless virtual visit? What problems have you run into? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to connect with me on Linkedin to continue the discussion.
Interested in learning more? Download Marketware’s Virtual Onsite Toolkit.