New Physician Liaison Growth Guide with Guest Holly Ulanday #103 – Podcast

Nov 2, 2019 | Podcast Episodes


Special guest Holly Ulanday, Physician Liaison with KSF Orthopedic Center in Houston, Texas joins Kelley to discuss the New Physician Liaison Growth Guide, where they talk about everything a new Physician Liaison would want to know: from marketing advice, tricks of the trade, how to get past the dreaded gatekeeper, and more stories from lessons learned along the way.

Show Notes!

Kelley Knott: [00:00:06] I have one of my amazing students in Physician liaison University joining me today, and one of my good friends, Holly.

Kelley Knott: [00:00:21] Holly, please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do and the journey you started on as a physician liaison.

Holly Ulanday: [00:00:28] My name is Holly, and I am a physician liaison with an orthopedic practice in Houston, Texas. I do a little bit of everything in that role. Not only am I out visiting practices and cold marketing but, I also manage our practice and physicians’ social media profiles. I am in charge of creating networking opportunities for our physicians, and opportunities for our medical practice to reach out to our greater communities and hopefully make a difference and become a trusted presence.

New Physician Liaison Challenges

Kelley Knott: [00:01:12] Is that something when you joined as a Physician liaison that you had challenges with as far as balance work life, and what are ways if you did that you feel that you do today to really help you out?

Holly Ulanday: [00:01:59] It is all about time management, and you really have to look deep within yourself and know whether or not you’re good at that. If you think that is something you might be lacking a little bit at, then you really got a beef up on that. Because as a liaison, you’ve definitely got to be in the right place at the right time and make sure that you’re not letting anything that’s maybe more on the social media or administrative side slack because you’re out in the field. But the converse is true. You definitely can’t spend so much time in the office that you’re not out there, making your presence known to the other practices.

Kelley Knott: [00:02:50] So true and I know that I have felt in the past like I just have all this stuff to do, and I need to be in front of the computer, but I know what is most important is that I’ve got to be building out relationships. So when you started as a liaison, did you start as a practice administrator, or did you come in new for just physician liaison marketing and kind of took over this role for the practice?

[00:03:16] I came in totally green Kelley. I came in, and as a liaison, but my background was in grocery retail management. Having had that role, I was really good with breaking down data and knowing where my business came from, knowing where I wanted it to go, and using all of that information to get me there.

Hurdles of being a physician liaison

Kelley Knott: [00:05:15] What was kind of your biggest fear or hesitation maybe hurdle that you saw when you decided to take on this new role as a physician liaison?

Holly Ulanday: [00:05:27] My my biggest fear and my biggest challenge and question was, what do I not know?

Holly Ulanday: [00:05:35] That I don’t know. Right. Does that make any sense? Oh, I didn’t know what. I just learned to ask everybody a ton of questions. And I’m still doing that a year later. It’s definitely getting easier.

Kelley Knott: [00:06:29] I really love that you said to ask questions because don’t you feel like sometimes as a physician liaison, we don’t want to look stupid. We don’t want to ask the wrong questions. We don’t want to look like we don’t know what we’re talking about, but it is so important to ask questions.

Kelley Knott: [00:07:47] It is kind of sometimes intimidating when you feel like they know everything about everything when it comes to this subject. And if I ask this, is it going to look really stupid? But I mean, that courage. Liaisons that don’t ask questions aren’t getting the information they need. And I’m definitely going to use what you just said. We have to be asking our doctors questions. They don’t expect us to be clinicians. And I totally agree.

Advice for new physician liaisons

Kelley Knott: [00:08:42] What would be the biggest advice you would give a new liaison?

Holly Ulanday: [00:08:54] Ask lots of questions, and even though it can be intimidating to be in front of the physicians, ask anyway. Because you’re going to learn so much and they really do want to share with you.

Kelley Knott: [00:09:08] What was your biggest challenge once you kind of got more into the groove?

Holly Ulanday: [00:09:30] I think some of the continuing challenges are always going to be getting past the gatekeepers. When you walk in, and you have to approach the desk, I think no matter what your frame of mind is, they see you as a salesperson. And the biggest hurdle is letting them know right away that you are not there for sales, but you are there for service.

Advice for getting past the Gatekeeper

Kelley Knott: [00:09:59] What are the ways that you’ve helped you get past the huge challenge of getting past the dreaded gatekeeper?

Holly Ulanday: [00:10:30] I follow your advice, and it’s been very, very helpful. I let them know who I’m there representing, why I need to speak with their physician and that I won’t take a great deal of their time.

Kelley Knott: [00:10:48] That’s great. Yeah, I love that. Yes. I love that you’re using some of the processes and PLU too. And has it been working? Has it been helping you out, trying to get some of these meetings and face to face time you’ve been looking for?

Holly Ulanday: [00:11:00] Absolutely, it’s helped. You know, as I said at the beginning, I think I think every doctor’s office in Houston got peppered with business cards. I didn’t know how to stop and send the proper message. And now, with Physician Liaison University, I can slow down and focus on quality. And you know, and then, of course, there are some business cards in there somewhere. Some call it: know what message to be able to deliver.

Kelley Knott: [00:11:30] What would you say your physician liaison style is?

Holly Ulanday: [00:11:52] Definitely maintaining a service mentality. Whenever I walk in, I know in my heart and in my mind that I’m here to find out how I can be of service to their staff and their physicians. To let them know how I can take their needs back to my practice and find out how we as a practice can better serve them so that at the end of the day, we are all taking better care of our patients.

Orthopedic Liaison Advice

Kelley Knott: [00:13:28] What advice do you have for other orthopedic liaisons?

Kelley Knott: [00:13:37] What do you think are some of the needs and ones that your referring physicians are looking for?

Holly Ulanday: [00:13:48] Well, as an ortho liaison, I spend a lot of time with PCP’s rheumatologists, neurologists, a few OBGYNs, podiatrists, because we do have an ortho foot specialist, chiropractors, and here in Houston, we have a lot of urgent care facilities.

Holly Ulanday: [00:14:09] They’re always looking for someone to help with spine issues. Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are frequent visitors with the spine and neurologists. There’s always nerve issues that need to be cared for. And even, as I said, OBGYN, which doesn’t sound like something that an ortho would be up for, but sometimes, that OBGYN appointment may be the only doctor appointment a woman has in her life. If she is over 40, and osteoporosis is an issue, it is something that could tie in.

Kelley Knott: [00:14:59] Did you think of that? And did you connect with your physicians and talk with them about what does it look like as an ortho liaison trying to talk with an OBGYN practice? Did they just give you glazed over eyes like, why are you here?

Holly Ulanday: [00:15:33] At first. But then when I, you know, explain just as I did to you. Oh, yeah, that’s absolutely right. Some of our older patients do need someone because we do get questions about osteoporosis.

Do you get help from physicians? 

Kelley Knott: [00:16:23] Do you have an all-star physician that really helps you and sits down with you, and you get to kind of having a really candid conversation within your practice, or is it multiple physicians?

Holly Ulanday: [00:17:04] There are two that are very interested in our marketing agenda, and they are always present. We’ve done some thank you lunches. And, you know, to keep that conversation going with practices that have been just amazing at sending their patients to us for care. And these two guys have always been there visiting with lunches and showing up to events and giving me lots of feedback. So they’ve been great.

Kelley Knott: [00:18:11] I want to ask you a little bit about when you were green and deciding on Physician Liaison University. What are some of the benefits that you found, and what you would give advice to anyone considering joining our PLU family?

Holly Ulanday: [00:18:29] What made me decide on PLU was that it was designed for the individual liaison, not for large hospital systems with teams of marketing and liaisons. But for the individual on their own, because like we talked about, you can feel very alone in this role. And like in my position, I’m the only one in marketing. I was really left to, like I said, make it what I wanted it to be. But I wanted to do it right. And I wanted to make sure that I was answering all of my questions about how I needed to manage my time. How much should I be out in the field? How much should I be managing our social media and getting that guidance? To make sure that I really was making the most of my time each day.

How do you put yourself out there in the community as a physician liaison?

Kelley Knott: [00:20:07] Do you do a lot of CMEs or continuing medical education courses for local firefighters?

Holly Ulanday: [00:20:23] We’ve not done it. I think I’m discovering that in this role, my passion is getting us out there in the community.

Kelley Knott: [00:20:33] Right

Holly Ulanday: [00:20:34] We recently had a health expo that we participated in, and we killed it. It was so exciting, and I enjoyed it so much.

Kelley Knott: [00:21:54] What advice would you have for other leaders on just like you said, that want to kind of use their talents with community outreach and help get their practice on board or get involved in something similar to what you did?

Holly Ulanday: [00:22:27] Don’t be intimidated by coordinating larger events. The key to that is planning way in advance. That’s my advice. Don’t think of it as too big. Just plan and plan a lot, and then plan some more.

Kelley Knott: [00:23:18] What do you think is the biggest difference that having you coming on board as a physician liaison, taking this journey has done for your practice and for you, professionally?

Holly Ulanday: [00:23:29] I feel like it’s made me grow so much, personally. I’ve learned so many things. It is just me out there on my own and kind of getting past my own fears and asking the questions. I was terrified of asking questions.


How to get in touch with Holly’s Practice 


Kelley Knott: [00:25:14] Is there anything you want to share on your journey or about your practice as far as maybe patients looking for specialized care through your practice and your physicians?

Holly Ulanday: [00:25:41] It’s an orthopedic practice. We are called KSF Orthopedic Center in Houston, and we have nine orthopedic surgeons. We are able to treat everything from the neck down to your toes. We have three spine specialists. We have a hand, wrist, and elbow specialist: Foot and ankle, knee, and shoulder specialists.

Kelley Knott: [00:26:10] Is there anywhere they can visit if they want to schedule an appointment or reach out to somebody from your office about scheduling an appointment with your physicians to help with any of those treatments?

Holly Ulanday: [00:26:23] You can reach out both by our website and by telephone. Our Web site is And our Houston number is 281-440-6960

Holly Ulanday: [00:28:55] Thank you so much for having me today. Kelley, I really appreciate your time, and I love our conversations. I really hope that we keep it going.

Kelley Knott: [00:29:04] Thank you guys so much for joining today’s podcast. The practice growth of podcasts and look out for next week’s episode. Have a great day.


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Thanks for listening. Kelley Knott



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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