Extending Patient Lifetime Value with Physician Loyalty

This is the final post in a three-part series that discusses the changing healthcare landscape and the need for marketing teams to engage patients across their healthcare journey, extend patient lifetime value, and increase patient acquisition and retention. Read the first post on why it’s imperative for hospitals to approach patient acquisition and retention in more intelligent ways. And then check out the second post to learn how using personalized, multi-channel campaigns helps achieve the goal of patients for life.  

Achieving – and maintaining – physician loyalty is one of the most impactful efforts a health organization can undertake.

Doing it successfully has positive repercussions across the organization, from driving revenue and increasing patient engagement to extending patient lifetime value.

Statistics tell a compelling story: a 30-50 percent out-of-network loss translates to a $4-8 billion problem. And, a single provider’s referrals are estimated to bring in $1.56 million in net revenue – that’s what’s at stake with every physician relationship. Not only that, but when patients go to out-of-network providers, key encounters are lost to a competitor.

At health organizations across the country, physician liaison teams often lack the data and insights necessary to be a revenue-protecting and growth force. Without market data, the understanding of provider referral networks, and the right relationship management technology, liaison teams aren’t able to inform leadership, prioritize outreach efforts and align with organizational goals.

How can organizations develop valuable and lasting relationships with providers in their community? How can these relationships be leveraged to grow high-value service lines and achieve patients for life?

The first step is changing how healthcare enables physician liaison teams and prioritizes outreach efforts. A physician relationship management (PRM) solution is the foundation that supports health organizations in their efforts to optimize their provider network. Let’s take a deeper look:

Find: Target High-Value Providers

A highly engaged provider network is a competitive advantage. To achieve it requires a strong understanding of activity and referral patterns of in- and out-of-network providers.

A PRM platform puts data that has traditionally been in multiple locations into a single system – including provider directories, claims-based market data, market and referral analytics, and complete 360-degree provider profiles. It also has tools to track ongoing issues, engagements, and campaigns so liaison teams can ensure continuity.

Health organizations can use the PRM to develop actionable insights based on the integrated claims analytics and market intelligence. With this greater understanding of the provider network and referral patterns, physician liaison teams can prioritize high-value targets, such as physicians or practices who are currently referring patients out-of-network for a particular service line or specialty, or develop campaigns by looking within your organization to find what service lines need additional patient volume or improved payer mix.

Guide: Execute Insight-Driven Outreach

For optimal growth – and growth that supports patient retention – health organizations need to be smarter about how they engage with providers. With a PRM, outreach teams are able to develop a data-driven strategy that targets high-value providers and build targeted physician relationship campaigns to align with organizational growth objectives.

Let’s walk through an example:

Identify an issue: A health system has heard an aligned practice is sending patients to competitor orthopedic surgeons. A physician liaison confirms this is happening in a review of claims-based market data. The liaison team digs deeper into the provider insights to understand which competitor surgeons are receiving referrals.

Proactively engage: Then, in a conversation with the providers, the liaison is able to ask focused questions to gain a full understanding of why the referrals are being lost. It turns out patient experience and scheduling delays with in-network orthopedic surgeons are the primary reasons. Provider-to-provider meetings are scheduled to re-establish trust and steps are taken to correct the operational issues. The process improvements are proactively communicated to the provider and his staff.

Monitor for improvements: The liaisons monitor to see if the referrals from the practice to the in-network orthopedic surgeons improve over the next few months. It’s important to continually evaluate the data to optimize campaigns and both drive and sustain physician loyalty.

Keep: Proactively Engage Providers

Maintaining physician alignment is a continuous process. An outreach team needs to stay in communication with network providers to keep them abreast of the latest offerings and services, as well as address any issues that could cause a practice to send business out-of-network. Using the PRM to identify issues with providers within the network, proactive discussion can take place to address and correct any roadblocks to physician loyalty.

Let’s look at three use cases where directional data can guide proactive outreach efforts:

  • Provider Visit: Through analysis within in the PRM, a liaison uncovered a practice was splitting its cardiology referrals between the in-network hospital and a competitor organization. As this is a high-value service line for the organization, the provider relationship is prioritized and targeted outreach is initiated.
  • Service Line Analysis: With claims-based data, analysts can identify physicians who take cases to competing facilities. This insight guides liaisons to build out target lists with providers referring patients to out-of-network specialists or seeing patients at out-of-network facilities.
  • Campaign Development: Physician outreach teams should align with high-value service line growth initiatives and architect coordinating campaigns to build awareness and drive loyalty within the provider network.

Final Thoughts

Earning physician loyalty is one of the building blocks to success in today’s hyper-competitive healthcare landscape. A layered and continuous understanding of what’s happening within an organization’s provider network is critical for protecting business and effectively driving growth. A PRM tool is a resource to not only approach physician outreach with data-driven strategies, but also to prove its worth to the organization as a whole.

With a strong, aligned provider network, health organizations improve their ability to engage patients at every step of their healthcare journey. With every engagement is an opportunity to build the type of patient relationships that extends patient lifetime value.

Emilio Ruocco

Emilio Ruocco

Emilio serves as Evariant’s Vice President, Physician Practice leader, ensuring the company’s Healthcare CRM/PRM, business intelligence and marketing solutions deliver maximum strategic value to clients; with particular emphasis on physician market analytics and business development. Prior to joining Evariant, Emilio was Senior Director, Performance Technologies at The Advisory Board Company, helping hospitals yield operational insight from internal systems and external data sets. He has also served as Leader of Customer Value and Insights at Healthways, a leading disease management and wellness firm; and Vice President, Strategic Communications for pharmacy benefits management company CaremarkRx, prior to its merger with CVS Pharmacy. Before entering the healthcare sector, Emilio held business development, investor relations and communications leadership roles for several public companies in a variety of industries.
Emilio Ruocco