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Stop Employed Physician Referral Leakage: Key Role of Physician Liaison

Stop Employed Physician Referral Leakage: Key Role of Physician Liaison

As most hospitals and health systems focus on building their employed physician enterprise, they are surprised and dismayed to discover that unmonitored and undetected referral leakage continues to occur at alarming rates. Most often this is due to a risky misconception that the strategic role of the physician liaison shouldn’t (or doesn’t) translate to employed medical group initiatives.
This has proven to be very costly.

Many executives have learned it was naïve to think employing physicians and advanced practitioners would guarantee loyalty. In fact, referral leakage can easily be avoided when a key strategy of the enterprise is to successfully utilize your Physician-Hospital Relations Program and liaison’s skills with your employed physician group. What gets focus gets results!

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 physician liaison is to focus on communication, retention, leakage identification, and growth of referrals within the enterprise and the health system. It takes both teams working collaboratively and consistently to achieve success.

While Physician Liaisons continue to work with non-employed targeted physicians, the key role of your Physician Liaison(s) within the employed physician enterprise should include:

  • Referral management/metrics systems implementation
    • Practice assessment focused on access/referral management and promotion
  • Train, collaborate, and coach practice staff on continued referral management
  • Develop and manage a “Hospital 101” course
  • Coordinate hospital and practice referral data
  • Promote and grow surgical/specialty referrals
  • Branding and coordination of practice collaterals that best serve referral sources
  • Participation on physician on-boarding team
  • Ongoing communication with practitioners and staff to:
    • Promote hospital services
    • Identify and communicate barriers

The physician liaison is not responsible for practice management/operations. The liaison’s working relationship with the practice management team is the same relationship that is enjoyed with other hospital department managers, such as imaging, surgical services, emergency services, etc.

However, the liaison’s attention to the physician enterprise certainly heightens accountability of the practice management team. The Physician Liaison Program is all about collaboration and communication to achieve maximum growth and loyalty.
You cannot take for granted the loyalty of employed physicians. Detecting and preventing referral leakage from your employed physician group is an investment that will deliver high returns.

Contact us for a complimentary consultation and a pro forma showing the return on investment you can expect from a physician liaison program.