4 Best Practices for Physician Outreach

Physician outreach teams work toward many goals across an organization. This being said, executives often struggle to determine the value of outreach efforts.

Proving physician relationship ROI is a challenge, but with the use of physician relationship management software, more healthcare organizations are moving toward an understanding of how physician outreach efforts contribute to organizational goals.

A PRM tool provides liaisons with the ability to show how their actions contribute to not only outreach campaign results, but the overarching objectives of the organization. Physician liaison teams must work with organizational leaders to determine the goals, needs, and metrics to be considered.

The more these concepts and KPIs are socialized across the organization, the more likely the liaison team will be successful. With effective goal-setting, liaisons can quantify their actions, set realistic expectations, and provide visibility for more collaborative work within the department and the organization.

Let’s take a look at 4 physician outreach best practices for establishing strong partnerships between health systems and their providers:

1. Align Team Goals with Organizational Initiatives

Before starting the outreach process, liaisons must align goal-setting at the outreach level with the already established goals of the entire organization. They must identify what they want to get out of each campaign and how it contributes to key organizational initiatives. In addition, they should do discovery of what is working well and growing revenue for their health system, leveraging lessons learned and resources.

Once a campaign “finish line” is established, the team must examine their processes to understand what is being asked of them and figure out the best approach, or best tactics to use, based on past experiences and the results they’re seeking.

For example, if a hospital has an overall goal to grow its orthopedic service line, the liaison team should have a more tangible and specific goal to work toward, such as increasing orthopedic referrals. The team then determines specific outreach actions to assign to each liaison, based on this goal. The liaison team and other departments in the organization now have visibility into how each liaison’s actions have historically contributed to both the outreach goal of increasing orthopedic referrals and the overall goal of growing the orthopedic service line.

Outreach teams should analyze organizational goals to determine realistic and relevant endpoints for each specific campaign. Once KPIs are identified, the outreach team incorporates them into their routine. Physician outreach teams then establish processes to enter activity, attribute their actions to campaign(s), set realistic goals, and monitor progress by overlaying this activity with referral and volume trends.

2. Build Tiered Campaigns

To successfully align outreach team goals with organization initiatives, it’s best to implement a two-tier campaign architecture within the PRM. Let’s break down this idea.

First, use organizational priorities to identify high-level service campaigns (i.e. orthopedics, bariatrics, cardiology). Next, under the umbrella of each service line, create campaigns tied to specific service line goals and initiatives. Examples of this type of campaign would be the introduction of a new surgical technique in orthopedics, with tactics such as onboarding a new physician and recruiting referring physicians for a service line.

With a two-tier campaign architecture, liaisons can record and categorize actions to see how they contribute to goals at all campaign levels. The exact goals will depend on the needs of your organization, but some actions outreach teams commonly track in the PRM include:

  • Total activities
  • High impact activities
  • Issues submitted
  • Issues resolved
  • Tactics used

Using liaison activity metrics, physician outreach teams should monitor goals periodically in order to measure performance and adjust strategies accordingly. Set your goals at the forefront of each campaign and determine if you want to monitor them monthly, quarterly, annually, or at some other frequency. Monitoring and periodically reporting on this progress also allows for leadership across the organization to have some input and recruit resources if needed.

3. Attribute Liaison Actions and Track Progress

To ensure physician outreach teams accomplish their goals and optimize PRM use, liaisons must accurately record and categorize all actions from the start.

You can assign specific activities to individual liaisons in order to create accountability, track progress, and target the right physicians at the right time, with the right messaging.

To get the most out of the PRM, you’ll want the ability to categorize every liaison activity under a campaign. Make the process as simple and convenient as possible to establish daily use. For example, since many liaisons are on-the-go during the day, a mobile app is a convenient tool. It allows them to record activity, log tasks, access information, and make all-around better use of their time.

Incentivizing actions, such as time to activity entry or the total number of introductions, could encourage use of the PRM while also improving liaison attitudes about the entire process. Base your bonuses, raises, or other incentives on use of the PRM to give your outreach team the extra push they may need to meet their goals. With the help of attribution and incentives, liaisons should know what exactly they are accountable for and see the PRM as a tool to make their lives easier and work more effective.  

4. Leverage Your PRM and Data-Driven Insights

As liaisons adjust to using the PRM, they’ll begin to see how the data can be used to inform and guide their target physicians, campaigns and outreach activity. With dashboard customization, each liaison is able to customize their dashboard to his or her specific responsibilities.

One of the most helpful features is the ability to capture and categorize all types of provider touchpoints that weren’t easily quantifiable in the past, such as in-person meetings, emails, phone call, and even unplanned communication in the hallway. Through rigorous use, outreach teams build 360-degree physician views within a centralized database.

Combining these 360-degree physician profiles with market intelligence within the PRM yields actionable insights to inform goal setting and liaison initiatives. Here are a few examples:

Physician Splitting: A PRM provides healthcare organizations with detailed information about physician activity at in- and out-of-network sites of service. With this information, liaisons identify physicians who regularly treat patients at out-of-network competitor facilities and initiate targeted campaigns to address this issue.

Referrals: Analyzing inbound and outbound referral patterns in the PRM identifies high-value opportunities for physician outreach activities. This prioritizes physician alignment initiatives and informs outreach interactions.

Service Lines: Gain deeper insights to guide outreach strategy by identifying both physician splitting and referral patterns by service line. With information broken down by service line, outreach teams can perform an analysis, one service line at a time, in order to build out their target lists and recapture lost revenue.

Final Thoughts

With the help of goal setting and the PRM, physician outreach teams align their work with organizational initiatives, recapture revenues, and prove ROI. The reports of liaison outreach efforts are now a much sought-after source of market intelligence from the field and can help drive actionable insights to leadership.

Case in point: Dignity Health, the largest hospital provider in California, realized $56M in incremental revenues across five key service lines in their first full year using Evariant. Learn more about how the Evariant PRM solution helped Dignity Health set obtainable, measurable goals and realize incremental revenues by eliminating referral leakage.

Keri Braley

Keri Braley

Keri Braley serves as Evariant’s Manager of Customer Success, consulting with new and existing customers as they implement and optimize the use of the PRM and CRM tools into their business process. She has a special focus on physician relations and strategic business development. Prior to coming to Evariant, Keri spent 10 years as a physician liaison at two different hospital systems, doing strategic provider outreach and promotion, and producing analytics for the planning departments at each. Keri has also held roles in direct patient care, health disability benefit analysis, and healthcare alliance contracting.
Keri Braley