Market claims data has repeatedly proven to be a valuable resource during both the planning and execution stages of physician liaison outreach. Whether the particular campaign is related to onboarding a new physician, increasing referrals within a service line, or simply evaluating nearby competition, claims data plays a key role in locating opportunities for further development within a healthcare network.
In the first and second blog posts of this three-part series, we discussed ways in which market claims data is sourced, its limitations, how to analyze it, and how to effectively utilize the insights it provides. Employing a fictional use-case, we explored how to tactically increase referrals and prevent patient leakage within the orthopedic service line using a Physician Relationship Management (PRM) platform to track and monitor data.
In this third post of the series, we’ll look at physician liaison outreach from a new perspective: A retrospective look-back at campaign performance after six months of dedicated work. In doing so, we’ll use claims data to uncover trends that both guide and inform future campaigns – as well as evaluate the kinds of outreach that had the most impact on your end result. This way, we can quickly uncover the best next steps to goal attainment within your healthcare network.
It may be difficult to measure the precise ROI of a physician liaison program due to the qualitative (and therefore often intangible) nature of the work liaisons perform. However, by implementing a platform that tracks efforts using quantitative data as an overlay, it becomes much easier to evaluate – and share – the underlying performance and long-term business impact of liaison activity, justifying its place within the organization.
Follow these three steps to evaluate, analyze, and measure the impact of your physician liaison campaigns for optimal business impact:
1. Ask the Right Questions
To evaluate whether or not a particular campaign was successful, your first instinct may be to go straight to the end goal: How many referrals were generated? Or, in translation: How much revenue came out if it?
The answer to this question, however, doesn’t provide a whole lot of value when it comes to understanding where you could improve, where you succeeded, or whether or not you should repeat the same strategy in the future.
While you need to know your numbers, you also need to understand them within a greater contextual framework – one that considers both historical trends and future predictions. Drafting a few guiding questions helps build this framework. These may include:
- How many team members were involved in this campaign? Over how long?
- How did referrals grow or shift as compared to your competitors?
- Are there any standout trends in that particular service line– both in- and out-of-network?
- What types of outreach led to the most immediate results?
- What problems (or pain points) arose during your outreach? How were they solved?
- Were your efforts socialized within your organization? Did any key stakeholders have an impact on your success?
In the next step, you’ll answer these questions by thoroughly evaluating campaign data – both the information that spans your in-network activity, as well as externally-focused market claims data. Of course, the ability to do so hinges on whether or not you tracked efforts along the way (and how carefully you did so). The importance of detailed progress measurement and tracking throughout outreach process cannot be understated.
A robust PRM system is capable of automating much of the repetitive tracking and data analysis work that most physician liaisons simply don’t have the time to carry out on a day-to-day basis. For instance, throughout an oncology campaign, you might choose to monitor market referral activity within the gynecologic oncology service:
- Which local PCPs are referring most frequently to gynecologic oncology specialists?
- Where are the referred patients being seen?
- Which in-network providers are referring to out-of-network specialists?
Use a PRM platform to filter through this information and save the specific dataset you need within your market analysis template. This way, it’s easy to go back and retrieve refreshed data at any set timeline, whether you plan to revisit it bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
2. Dig into the Data
Step two is where the “heavy lifting” begins. Returning to your PRM system, you will begin to assess your campaign data to look for points of marked success. There are a few different ways to gauge your progress, but it’s easiest to start from the bottom and work your way up.
Prior to analysis, make sure your data contains sufficient information on the following:
- Day-to-day liaison communication logs (call logs, visit logs, etc.)
- Targeted efforts (in-person introductions, luncheons, community talks, grand rounds)
- Types of interactions (physician-to-physician vs. physician-to-liaison vs. liaison to staff)
- Conflict or pain points, including steps taken towards resolution
- Internal referral capture
- Market referral capture
- Location data
By overlaying internal and market referral data against liaison activity, you’ll compile a comprehensive report that reveals important trends within your target line of service – for instance, correlations between specific outreach efforts and upticks in referral count.
You might also discover new regional trends, insights about physician demographics that inform the creation of new personas, and useful data regarding frequency of outreach as it correlates to response time. You may even come across previously unknown information, such as an independent PCP starting to increase her referrals into your system, and then enable conversation tracks and a ‘foot in the door.’
There are hundreds of different ways to slice your data: Look back to your guiding questions to determine the most important KPIs for your organization’s unique goals and priorities. You might look at your efforts over the entire six-month campaign, or you might be better off reviewing data month-by-month – all this will depend on the scope of the campaign, the size of your network, and the resources available to you.
In general, when overlaying claims data to determine success, you want to zero in on any noticeable increases – or decreases – in the proportion of in-network referrals within your target line of service. From here, you can pick apart the granular activities that may have contributed. Make sure to take note of any problems that arose via communication logs, as well as the resolutions you came up with.
Better yet, keep track of your closed-loop communications (i.e. circling back at the end of the campaign to thank referring providers and provide ongoing support). Each of these factors can have a surprisingly large impact on your numbers, and you’ll want to explain large spikes or slumps in your data to others in your organization with anecdotal evidence.
3. Use Data Insights to Create Playbooks for Future Campaigns
While you may primarily use data from your PRM platform to report on your activity, you should also use it to identify opportunities for improvement. Creating playbooks to guide future initiatives within a particular service line is incredibly useful – it increases liaison efficiency and provides a more comprehensive and practical framework for outreach over time.
Here’s a simple example:
When evaluating data from a recent oncology campaign, you notice a trend that catches your attention. Phone calls were the primary mode of communication when reaching out to OBGYN physicians, yet your gynecologic oncology saw the least referral growth within your oncology campaign overall.
Digging in a little further, you notice that most phone calls to OBGYN providers were unanswered and unreturned during the latter half of the campaign period (July through September). Your logged notes from conversations with front-end staff reveal the problem: OBGYN practices were extremely busy during the end of the summer due to a seasonal increase in pregnancy visits.
With this information in mind, you begin to formulate a cyclical yearly playbook that for OBGYN physician outreach that takes a hectic third quarter into account. You build in time to prioritize OBGYN outreach during the spring, tapering off towards the end of June. During the summer, liaison outreach shifts to brief in-person visits, literature drop-off, and complimentary breakfasts – catering to providers’ busy schedules and thus creating a positive, lasting impression.
Understanding and measuring the impact of physician liaison outreach is a critical function for any healthcare organization that wants to succeed within an increasingly competitive industry. As healthcare shifts to a value-based model, physicians are less likely to show the same degree of loyalty to their networks. Physician liaisons, therefore, must use measured processes to track each campaign with an approach that integrates both quantitative and qualitative information.
A robust PRM platform is a must-have for comprehensive tracking and analysis. Liaisons are no longer responsible for only the data within their networks – they must also keep an eye on market referral patterns in order to gather a holistic picture of their local market. By overlaying retrospective campaign activity with market claims data from the same timeframe, it becomes easier to locate missed opportunities for growth and emerging trends that may require attention in the near future.
Beyond analyzing success and creating playbooks for future use, using campaign data to socialize network development and utilization efforts is essential. Reporting on results is the only way to prove value and entice leadership to continue to invest in outreach programs. When stakeholders are involved in liaison campaign processes, the impact of physician outreach goes beyond an increase in in-network referrals: it leads to happier providers, a more highly engaged network, and greater patient satisfaction overall.