Why the Right Referral Software is Necessary to Ensure Goals Are Being Met
Hospitals depend heavily on their referring physicians for patient volume and revenue, which is why developing and maintaining relationships with these physicians is so important. Physician Liaisons are the face, voice, eyes, and ears of this demanding effort. Physicians have a lot of options for referrals and this competition puts even more pressure on physician relations teams to effectively manage provider relationships.
Physician relations teams are responsible for strengthening relationships between physicians and their hospital or health system, with the goal of driving more referrals in-network. There are many components that make up a quality physician relations program, such as a strategic sales plan, effective encounters, and meaningful conversations. But to ensure program goals are being met, physician relations teams must track and measure their initiatives so they can successfully identify opportunities for improvement.
Before physician liaisons begin tracking and measuring their efforts, however, they need to know how their hospital defines success. Aligning physician liaisons’ initiatives with the hospital’s goals will ensure that progress is being made in the right direction. A few examples of how hospitals may define success:
- Increased volume: patient volume would be measured strictly on inbound referrals
- Increased revenue: revenue would focus on high reimbursement referrals
- A well-informed physician network: assurance that physicians in the community know everything your hospital can provide for them and their patients
If you’re a physician liaison using a physician referral software, make sure you can customize it to specifically measure what the hospital wants to see improved. In other words, your physician referral goals should align with the overall hospital’s goals - and your software should be able to address these goals. Stratasan’s Physician Pathway provides reports that will allow liaisons to track their progress, break down cases by service line, and follow inbound and outbound referral patterns.
Physician liaisons must follow a rigorous schedule to stay on top of the details and properly track successful outreach. Here are a few best practices we’ve seen to be effective:
- Physician liaisons should have a weekly goal of how many physicians they will visit in the field. As a market expert, you know this number will vary depending on how many liaisons your program has and how large your service area is.
- Liaisons should keep documentation on what they discussed with each physician.
- Although liaisons want to reach as many providers as possible, they shouldn’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Every conversation should be meaningful and if there is not enough time to make it so, lighten the load of physicians to ensure adequate time is being spent with each physician.
Confidence in Your Outreach
As a former physician liaison, I understand the importance of knowing whether or not your outreach efforts are resulting in referrals. Physician liaisons need to know they are making a difference and the hospital needs to understand just how valuable they are to the organization. A software like Physician Pathway is a must to measure your success through inbound and outbound referral tracking. This easy-to-use tool equips liaisons with data they can depend on, providing assurance that time is being devoted to the right initiatives.
Tracking referrals will help drive conversations in the right direction. For example, if cardiology referrals are low, discuss how your cardiology program can meet the specific needs of that referring physician’s cardiac patients. Physicians will appreciate that you are making the most of their time and be more willing to schedule future visits with you.
Like the old saying goes, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”. Once a system is in place for tracking and measuring your physician relations program, your results can be reported regularly to senior leadership and appropriate department leaders. Open communication will promote continued discussions on what is working well and what is not. Transparency with leadership is a key component for receiving continued support of your program. Keeping leadership informed of and encouraged by your success will provide them with the evidence they need to continue supporting your initiatives.
Request a discovery call with Sean Conway and find out how Stratasan’s Physician Pathway can support your physician relations efforts, help you improve your program, and uncover valuable opportunities for growth within your market.