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Investing in Physician Liaisons – The Price Tag of One FTE

Investing in Physician Liaisons – The Price Tag of One FTE

Among all the remarkable aspects of the annual conference of the American Association of Physician Liaisons (AAPL), the sheer number of new members and first-time attendees was the most notable. Clearly, many hospital administrators see the value of investing in physician liaisons through training and professional development. But, when it comes to the price tag of one FTE – the physician liaison – we still hear CFO’s saying “We just can’t afford it right now.”

When looking at the black and white for any month, that may be true. But leaders don’t become leaders by only thinking of the here and now. The ones with their eye on the prize know it’s about the future – about growth and the sustainability of that growth.

Investing in Physician Liaisons – How It’s Done

Unfortunately, there is no magic wand. With the right leadership and training, one FTE – a physician liaison – is a long-term planning initiative guaranteed to have an ROI that will make eyes, hearts, and wallets happy. The number one goal of the liaison is to grow market share. What does that mean for your hospital? More revenue….through greater access for patients and a more engaged provider community.

Administration may have the mindset of “Our competitor hospital doesn’t have a physician liaison, so we don’t need one.” Contraire my friend, the opposite could not be more true. Competitive advantage comes from having tools/resources/collaterals that your competitor does NOT have!

Sometimes the only “voice” of the hospital in secondary markets IS the liaison. How will Dr. Hawkins refer to your new orthopedic surgeon if he doesn’t know he exists? Or maybe a patient knew about the new orthopedic surgeon and requested him. Dr. Hawkins, being the patient-oriented doctor that he is, obliges to the patient request and makes the referral. If he (or his office staff) has problems with the first referral and no point person to contact about the problem, he may never make another referral based on ONE bad experience.

The Ah-Ha Moment

A liaison would UNCOVER and MEND that broken relationship resulting in many future referrals to your orthopedic surgeon, leading to MRIs, CTs, and outpatient surgeries at YOUR hospital, not the one down the street! Ah-ha moment, anyone…?

Think of it this way…how many additional admissions or surgeries will it take to pay for the one FTE that can bring your hospital those things? Not to mention other strategic service line growth and increased specialist volume that the liaison facilitates. Doctors will continue to make referrals. Where they send those referrals can be up to you and your physician liaison.

At Tiller-Hewitt HealthCare Strategies, we offer the best of the best with a team of professionals with over 30 years of expertise in physicians and hospital relations.

Contact us to discuss how we can customize our programs to fit your needs. We can show you the real return on the return on investment for one FTE.