20 Attributes of a Top Performing Physician Liaison

Jul 27, 2022 | Physician Liaison Marketing

Last Updated: 2/19/19

Find These in a Physician Liaison & Prepare for More Patients

You’re ready to begin the exciting journey of building a physician liaison marketing or physician relations marketing program, but first, you need the ideal physician liaisons to lead the way!

Implementing an effective referral marketing campaign requires a successful physician liaison.

Hiring a physician liaison can be a tricky process and some hospitals and medical practices struggle to find the right talent

Let’s be honest, there are skills and education you can provide through a physician liaison training program, but there are traits and characteristics of an individual that just can’t be taught.

So, in this blog, I’m talking about the characteristics you need to look for when hiring a physician liaison.

1. College Educated Physician Liaison

What do I mean about this? I mean your physician liaison’s resume must include a completed level of higher education or certification.

Proper education is very important for a physician liaison because they will be required to constantly engage with healthcare and other business professionals, including medically trained physicians.

This is the first step in the hiring process for a physician liaison and a quick way to eliminate applicants that are not qualified for your medical marketing position at your practice.

A degree also represents that the physician liaison has successfully completed a high level of educational requirements and commitment to projects and deadlines.

As a healthcare marketing professional they will be using both written and verbal communication.

A liaison will be interacting with medical providers and physicians through emails, person-to-person meetings, lunches, and healthcare marketing events.

Your physician liaison is a representation of your practice and patient care, so it is critical to have someone with proper education and degree to be able to successfully represent your medical practice.

An individual that has committed and achieved a higher degree of education and training is an individual that represents the characteristic of accomplishment.

This means they understand the importance of furthering their education and strive to be the most qualified applicant. It also means they are ready to dive in and do the work and research it takes to excel.

Some examples of this are:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Nursing Degree
  • Certified and completed a professional physician training program
  • Medical Assistant
  • Masters

2. Personable and Engaging Marketing Personality

Driving a successful physician outreach marketing program is having a practice ambassador that can easily begin a conversation with multiple personalities.

In the countless doctors’ offices, they visit they will encounter a full range of personalities: the happy, the sad, the good and the bad.

A successful liaison needs to develop a productive repertoire with other healthcare and marketing professionals. They will be challenged at times and need to feel confident in their message and approach to move the relationship forward.

Referring doctors should feel comfortable discussing patient care and referrals with your physician liaison.

The goal is to build a referral relationship and open communication with referring physicians, clinical managers, front office staff, and referral coordinators.

A physician liaison with a personable and engaging personality will help the “gatekeepers” welcome them in the practice and continue a dialogue on physician referrals.

Once the liaison is able to get past the front office staff and speaks with the doctor or referral coordinator they then can deliver your medical practice’s value proposition.

The goal is to discuss what makes your practice unique, what you can do for their patients, and ultimately build a referral relationship.

If a liaison cannot properly engage with the medical staff and doctors they will be unable to create or maintain a referral relationship.

A physician liaison that is personable means that they are likable across the board. This means they aren’t just likable to physicians but different degrees of staff.

Having a physician liaison that is personable and friendly and develops a pleasant experience for both employers and referring practices.

At the end of the day, if the individual isn’t likable to multiple personality types you will find that the marketing will be very inconsistent.

Tip: When hiring a physician liaison, evaluate how they interact with your staff, management, and other team members. Are they a good fit and can they adapt to multiple personalities?

3. Medical Industry Experience

Understanding both the healthcare and the marketing industry is a foundation needed for a proper physician liaison.

An experienced physician liaison requires less training and brings a high level of professionalism to interact with other healthcare professionals.

The physician liaison doesn’t necessarily need to have liaison experience but needs to have a solid comprehension of the medical arena and business professionalism.

The healthcare industry has its own nuances, pain points, referral patterns, and influencers. A person with a strong understanding of these will go a long way in the success of growing your practice and patient base.

This is important because there can be physician liaison candidates that are engaging and organized, but if their experience and successes are more entertainment related you may want to dive deeper.

What I mean is they need to have a level of interest so there is some excitement about why it’s important. It is easy to get excited about flashy events and meeting celebrities, but do they understand the excitement of healthcare and what are their goals? You don’t want to hire individuals who are just focused on being outgoing. You need someone that has a level of interest in the actual medical world so they enjoy what they do and not burn out. 

You want an individual who believes and enjoys in the “cause” to be the one who represents you in the field as a physician liaison.

4. Motivated and Driven to Increase Doctor Referrals

Encourage an environment that is goal-oriented.

This may be reflected in their resume not only in accomplishments but how they structure their past experiences information with KPIs ( Key Performance Indicators).

Examples of this may be:

Marketing Director at Innovative Orthopedics of Colorado

  • Increased sales by 25% over a 9-month period
  • Managed 4 social media profiles and increased social engagement by 15% increased followers from 100-2,250 drove to traffic to the website by 11% averaging 10 new patient leads a month.
  • Increased patient referrals by 65% resulting in a $500k increase in revenue

As opposed to:

Marketing Director at Innovative Orthopedics of Colorado

  • Built referral relationships with local physicians
  • Scheduled meetings and marketing lunches with local referring practices
  • Managed multiple social media platforms and monitored growth and engagement

Goal-oriented physician liaisons help doctors reach marketing targets and continue to develop new marketing approaches.

It is critical to have a solid analytics and tracking system in place to allow the staff member to run reports and stay up-to-date on the over ROI and health of the program. This also keeps them motivated and accountable.

Physician liaisons with a driven personality will find value in constantly challenging themselves and producing results.

Encourage these traits by getting involved and cooperating with the physician relations marketing strategy your physician liaison has built.

At the same time do not squash drive with overly unrealistic expectations of referral growth.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

5. Flexible

The world of medical marketing is not a normal 9 to 5 job.

Doctors have demanding schedules and their first priority lies in the care of their patients.

Patient emergencies are not always on the agenda and physicians are required to devote their time to treat whatever may come up.

A physician liaison needs to be available and flexible with after work or early business hours.

If the only free time a referring doctor has is 5:30 am in the morning before work or surgery to talk about referrals they will need to make themselves available.

If a physician liaison is unwilling to put in the extra time they will give the impression to the referring doctor that their time is more valuable than their own.

Doctors are not always available to block their schedules to attend events or meetings, and often after a long day at the practice just want to go home to their families.

A successful liaison will make them available and adapt to their schedule by meeting at their practice at a requested time.

Tip: During the physician liaison hiring process schedule a call outside normal business hours may be 6:30 am, after 6 pm, or a Saturday.

6. Quick Learning Physician Liaison

Physician liaisons’ are not expected to be clinicians or have the degree of medical professionals, but they are expected to have an extensive comprehension of the medical subject matter they are discussing for their given practice specialty.

Doctors like to discuss less about scheduling and follow-up and more about specific medical matters and conditions in relation to their patient referrals.

An individual with the knowledge of symptoms, treatments, and medical vocabulary needed to discuss the link between referrals will be most effective in the long run.

The physician liaison is a representative of the doctor and practice to serve as a resource for referring doctors; the more information they can provide the more success they will have.

Tip: During the physician liaison interview did the candidate mention they “looked up” or “read on your website” that’s a good sign they did some quick research before the interview.

7. Creative Referral Marketing Ideas

Maintaining doctor referrals is the biggest differentiator between a successful physician relations marketing campaign and a stagnant one.

To avoid stagnant or decreasing patient referrals the physician liaison will need to get creative and develop new outlets and new conversations to stay memorable.

Innovative marketing efforts can help your practice reach new ways to grow referrals and make lasting impressions to help continue the conversation.

A creative personality brings energy to your marketing efforts and a positive teamwork environment.

There is always a natural seasonality to referral patterns based on insurance of school schedules so knowing that plan some unique initiatives to coincide with these times.

Physician liaisons will have to rely on their creativity to produce effective follow-up and enhance referral relationships.

Physician liaisons need to apply new techniques, ass new tactics, and jazz up their approach to maintain long-term relationships.

Tip: During the physician liaison hiring process did the candidate ask questions based on your description of challenges and responsibilities with new ideas? Buzzwords to pay attention to would be “have you tried” or “has anyone ever” which usually means they are about to add or ask about different approaches.

8. Analytical Marketing Approach

Identifying benchmarks and creating goals through practice reports adds a huge value to your referral marketing.

An effective physician liaison will measure referral marketing through the practice numbers and reports and not by time spent.

Analytics and reports provide both the practice and marketer with full knowledge of the current status of patient referrals and treatments.

Understanding your practice numbers will help doctors not only identify marketing trends and targets but evaluate the ROI of their physician liaison program.

They need to not only have a charismatic personality but in order to surpass the competitors, they need to apply marketing strategy by using analytics.

A profitable physician liaison marketing program can be measured in multiple ways and in order to reach revenue goals you need to apply the many verticals it takes to reach them.

Tip: During the physician liaison interview let them know they will have the responsibility to pull marketing reports and measure growth.

9. Established Medical Network

The stronger the existing relationship a physician liaison has with local doctors and healthcare providers the more value they bring to growing your patient referrals and overall revenue for the practice.

Attending networking events is a great way to get in front of healthcare providers and have their undivided attention for a spell.

By extending their network to other healthcare professionals liaisons can find similar synergies and collaborate with other medical professionals to bring new revenue to the practice.

Tip: During the physician liaison hiring process mention that you will require your physician liaisons to represent the practice or healthcare system in local healthcare community events, business associations, and medical networking groups.

10. Professionalism

As an extension of the practice, your marketing representative should project professionalism.

Individuals need to be prompt, respectful when speaking with healthcare staff and providers, experienced in proper business etiquette, and productive in their role.

A physician liaison with experience and professionalism will illustrate the high standards that your practice and providers have when taking care of patients.

They need to radiate professionalism from presentation down to content.

Tip: Provide a physician liaison training program for new physician liaison. This will ensure all your physician liaison training is superior and consistent. It will always guarantee your physician liaisons have completed the highest level of training by a professional.

11. Organized

As with any marketing program, healthcare marketing involves multiple campaigns and contacts.

To avoid sloppy marketing, healthcare marketers need to be organized to make sure they see efforts through to completion.

Physician liaisons visit multiple doctor practices and meet with numerous medical providers. To ensure they follow up they will need to apply an effective way to organize all the information, which also makes reporting and delegating easier.

An organized physician liaison will be an individual prepared for every marketing venture and have quick resources they can rely on to better increase their chances of success.

Tip: During the physician liaison hiring process check to see if they have experience and skills with multiple platforms and software.

12. Team Player

Physician liaison marketing involves collaboration with the entire practice staff and providers. Oftentimes, the physician liaison is out meeting with doctors and not in the medical practice.

Therefore, they need to collaborate with the front office staff and develop a protocol for incoming messages related to marketing.

It is important they meet with the staff and get familiar with the entire practice because referrals may involve various aspects of the practice and multiple staff members.

Without the ability to collaborate with other employees, efforts may fall short due to the inability to see the campaign to completion.

If your medical marketing employees do not show characteristics of being a team player they are probably not a good fit for your practice.

Tip: During the physician liaison hiring process look for this by evaluating their resume. For experienced candidates ask, does their resume include project manager experience? For entry-level candidates did you see if they were involved in organizations, sports, charities, etc.?

13. Direct & Confident

Time is money! A physician liaison needs to be direct to their purpose and quickly.

Physicians do not have the luxury of time so there is a brief window where the physician liaison must provide value and prove they are in an efficient representative to see patient referral objectives through and qualifier of their time.

It is not enough for a physician liaison just to meet with referring doctors it is critical that they communicate a direct and straight-to-the-point message.

Doctors do not want to take the time from seeing patients during clinic to hear a generic message that doesn’t have any direct value to their patient care.

Tip: During the physician liaison hiring process did the candidate ask you direct and specific questions about the day-to-day responsibilities and objectives?

14. Reliability

This is Huge! You will rely on physician liaison to serve as a representative of the physicians but with greater availability.

This quality goes back to professionalism and reiterates the importance of picking a physician relations manager with education and experience.

Physician liaison marketing will involve outside office meetings, new relationships, and unique follow-ups.

As a physician, you need to feel confident knowing your physician liaison is where they need to be when they need to be there.

They will need to be equipped to properly relay your medical practice’s message and quality care.

Tip: During the physician liaison hiring process did they take the initiative to reach you? Were they prompt, as well as, remind you of either a previous conversation you had about their experiences or questions you may have had? If so that’s a good sign!

15. Leader

Physician liaisons are the front line of a medical practice’s referral program.

As messengers for the practice, they will need to take the information and delegate tasks to the appropriate medical departments in the practice.

A highly successful physician liaison understands the importance of not overwhelming themselves with tasks, not in their department, and delegating responsibility to the correct staff member.

This trait reflects the leadership capabilities of your employee and how they can navigate your referral marketing campaign successfully.

Tip: During the hiring process make notes of your candidate’s abilities to delegate. If experienced did they manage teams, multiple projects or employees? If the candidate is entry-level did they participate in extra circular activities, volunteer, or create social media profiles and solutions?

16. Strong Communication Skills with Physician and Medical Practice

A productive physician liaison is the messenger and direct link between referring doctors and the practice.

Strong communication between the employing physician and referring doctor only increases the success of the referral initiatives.

They need to have direct communication with providers to ask questions and relay messages from referring physicians.

Require blocked time to speak with your physician liaison, so that you as the physician can build that line of communication and successfully equip your liaison with all the knowledge they need to succeed.

If a referring doctor does not feel that your physician liaison has the access they need to speak with a top doctor decision maker they are highly unlikely to engage in conversation with the liaison.

Tip: During the interview process of hiring a physician liaison you can evaluate this trait pretty quickly. Are they engaging? Are they listening more than they are talking? Are they asking questions and not just agreeing? If so they may be a good fit!

17. Responsive to the Needs of Referring Medical Practices

Responsiveness is key to providing the ultimate level of customer service in any referral relationship.

Not all doctors will have the same needs and concerns. In order to be a successful physician liaison, they will need to quickly respond to any requests or negative feedback that a doctor may provide.

Recognizing the needs of a referring physician in a timely manner will create the trust that their patients are treated with the highest quality care.

No practice is perfect and mistakes will happen or the ball will be dropped at some point.

Respond quickly and effectively to the situation with all necessary follow up. A responsive physician liaison will always be aware of the status of referring doctors and revisit referred cases to thank them and follow up.

Follow-up visits can solidify the relationship and increase referrals.

Tip: A way to evaluate this when hiring a physician liaison is their response to the job post and their follow-up. Are they initiating meetings, or are they sending follow-up emails or calls after the interview? Are they thanking you for your time, and requesting more information? All of these examples are good indicators of a responsive candidate.

18. Energetic

Physician liaison marketing can become repetitive over time so an energetic personality is a fantastic trait for an employee.

Bringing in new energy and approaching meetings with a positive attitude will help drive your physician liaison to have quality interactions.

Physician Liaisons are constantly meeting new people and attending events so they will need to have the energy to be personable and effective when talking about the practice.

Tip: During the physician liaison hiring process did they make you smile or laugh? Did they add new energy to the interview? Was the possible physician liaison memorable? If so think about how their energy how will be in the field marketing to doctors, is it the energy you might just need?

19. Multi-Tasking

Multi-tasking is a challenge for many healthcare professionals.

A successful physician liaison can handle multiple projects and tasks. Part of their day-to-day duties will require office work and other marketing campaigns in conjunction with doctor office visits.

Multi-tasking is a trait that will help your employee perform at the highest level of efficiency without feeling overwhelmed and losing focus.

20. Genuine

The most important trait a physician liaison can possess is being genuine with the doctors that they meet.

A genuine person will have all of the previous traits combined and the most effective relationships with referring doctors and medical practices.

A genuine physician liaison will listen, remember, and act on all the referral practice’s needs and concerns.

They will develop memorable conversations and sustain the referral marketing relationship. When a liaison is genuine in their approach they have taken the needs of the practice seriously and deliver substantial results.

Remember to get involved and support all employees and the marketing efforts of your medical practice. The most effective healthcare marketing campaign is the one where the providers get involved when comes to patient care and the practice message.

Tip: When hiring a physician liaison, go with your gut on this one!

Bonus Traits!:

#1 Confident

The confidence to persist after the dreaded “no” is key to success!

A confident physician liaison will face the challenges associated when speaking with multiple personalities and will answer targeted questions.

They are there to bridge the gap between providers and physician referrals so their time speaking with the medical providers needs to be direct and filled with quality information.

Tip: During the physician liaison hiring process did the candidate seem soft-spoken or shy? As the interviewers, were you the only one initiating conversation, is so then they are probably not the right fit.

#2 Available

This is a big one!

Does you possible physician liaison have the availability in their schedule to see the physician relations marketing to fruition?

Are they available and ready to dedicate the full-time that it takes to build a physician outreach marketing program?

They will need to be available to wait to meet with referring doctors when the doctors are currently with patients.

They will need to be available to travel to different practices to deliver patient referral materials and speak with practices.

Are they available for early or after hours for meetings and calls because of the high demands of a physician’s schedule?

The availability of a physician liaison is really essential because it’s that extra time and flexibility that can be the difference in converting physician referrals.

Tip: During the Physician liaison hiring interview is the candidate asking questions only concerning the details of how long they work, weekends and so concerned with their own time? When scheduling the interview did they have limited time slots? If so then probably not the right fit.


Remember to get involved and support all employees and the marketing efforts of your medical practice. The most effective healthcare marketing campaign is the one where the providers get involved when comes to patient care and the practice message.

Online Physician Liaison Training

Need help with physician liaison training? Check out Physician Liaison University™ our end-to-end online training and certification program for physician liaisons.



Kelley Knott is an expert Physician Liaison Trainer and consultant. Her passion is the help liaisons and practices maximize their effectiveness to improve patient care and revenue new revenue streams for their practice or hospital system. She is one of the first people in the US to develop online courses specifically geared toward physician liaison marketing. She is a published author, entrepreneur, and speaker.

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