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The Practice Liaison Program

For years, hospitals and health systems have enjoyed the financial result of successful Physician Liaison Programs. These programs are known by various names; Physician Liaison, Physician Relations, Hospital Services Representative to name a few. Regardless of what the program is called, the success of one such program is measured by increased referrals and incremental market share.

As hospitals and health systems continue to invest and increase their employed physician enterprise, a priority role of the Physician Liaison will be the promotion of the employed physicians.  Additionally, Liaisons play a key role on the implementation team of a referral management system.  This system provides both tracking and understanding around referral leakage or keepage.  Ultimately the goal is to keep referrals within the hospital employed and aligned provider group(s) and health system.

What does that mean for independent physician groups?

First, it suggests independent physician groups need to maintain close relationship with these respective hospitals to remain within their more closely managed referral system.

Second, for many progressive independent physician groups, a key growth strategy should be the implementation of a structured Practice Liaison Program. In addition to working with targeted referral sources to grow practice volumes and surgical referrals; the Liaison would work closely with Hospital Liaisons to further secure strong long-term physician-hospital relationships.

The Practice Liaison Program is an investment of resources. The individual Liaison is a reflection of the physician organization; therefore the process of launching a Liaison Program should not be taken lightly. The Liaison should be a trained healthcare/physician practice sales professional, who can represent the practice and the physician owners. The program should be launched under a data driven, results oriented structure to drive maximum results.

As the practice management team focuses on the day-to-day operations of the practice(s), including staffing, quality, patient flow and satisfaction, collections, and budget management, to name a few; the role of the Liaison is in the field focusing on communication and growth of referrals. It takes both teams working collaboratively and consistently to achieve success.