As a Physician Relations Rep, data is the foundation upon which your entire outreach strategy lives or dies. Without a reliable data source, a trustworthy physician referral tool, and a system for tracking and measuring initiatives, your strategy will lack the full depth of understanding needed to meet your annual growth goals.
The goals of a Physician Relations program are to:
- Promote physician engagement in order to grow volume in alignment with the hospital's strategic plan.
- Engage and connect physicians to other physicians and to support key hospital services.
- Unearth any quality, customer service, or access issues physicians may be experiencing.
At Stratasan, we believe that as the Physician Relations Rep, in many ways, you are the most qualified expert when it comes to understanding the realities and challenges of your market. At a certain point, however, the value of your own understanding ends and there is a need for additional data intelligence.*
In this post, we’ll highlight a few reasons why depending exclusively on insights derived from your physician relations outreach just isn’t enough. We’ll discuss why a good data source is critical and how finding the right physician data tool will allow you to meet, and exceed, your growth goals.
The job of a Physician Relations rep is to build relationships with doctors that will increase volume and revenue for their perspective service lines. Good physician relations can open the door to understanding many of the challenges that your physicians are facing. You can hear first hand why a physician refers patients to your hospital. You can also get a clear understanding of the barriers they are facing which lead them to refer patients to your competition. That said, a data-based picture of the trends in physician referrals is the true opportunity for mapping opportunities for growth. Physicians have so many competing interests vying for their time, having a detailed representation for how often they refer patients to your competition is likely not at the top of their priority list. If you aren’t armed with numbers to back your physician discussions, you won’t know how to properly lead the conversation and you may miss an otherwise obvious opportunity for growth.
A Physician Relations rep needs to be armed with not only the referral patterns within their network but more importantly, referrals that go outside the network. This is information that you simply can't get from your doctors. While it is helpful to know what’s happening within your network, it’s arguably even more important to know what’s happening outside of it. Every referral that goes to a hospital or health system outside your network is an opportunity for growth. These are numbers that your physician likely does not have access to. The responsibility lies with you, the market expert, to have the resources at your fingertips to identify these trends.
With the right physician data tool, such as Stratasan’s Physician Patterns, you can clearly identify those out-of-network opportunities and organize your outreach strategy around finding out why those referrals are happening. As a Physician Relations rep, your time is incredibly valuable. Tapping into the right tool will allow you to focus and identify the most important physicians for follow-up visits.
Highlighting competing physician’s referral patterns is a great way to find high impact opportunities. For example, an independent physician who is referring cardiology patients to your competing physicians down the street may be a great opportunity to set a face-to-face meeting with him/her and figure out ways to turn those referrals to your internal cardiologists. In a recent webinar, Mitzi Kent, Senior Director Physician Relations and Industry at LifePoint Health, shares that the best Physician Relations Rep will have the ‘hunter mentality’ - an innate quality or trait that an individual has in order to successfully thrive in a competitive environment. These representatives are usually very independent, generate excitement around products, and pull energy from the “hunt” of new opportunities.
With the right data intelligence in hand, you will be able to uncover physicians who may not have been obvious opportunities, perhaps independents who are not tied to the regular networks you work with. Because of their independence, these physicians may not get as much attention from physician relations reps as those at larger or affiliated offices, opening the door for you to make a promising connection for your hospital.
While your ability to leverage your physician conversations and gain insights about referrals is key to your success as a physician relations rep, it’s not the only important factor to consider. Relying solely on your doctors for cues will lead to an incomplete understanding of all the opportunity in your network. At times, your physicians may not be aware of all the information that would be helpful to share or there may be critical referral patterns that they aren’t aware of or don’t have access to track. With a reliable data source and trustworthy physician relations tool, you will have more control over your ability to meet your goals and drive growth for your system.
Article by Sean Conway, Manager, Sales