Physician liaison marketing has changed during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and many liaisons are wondering…
What can I do to be effective or create value for my physicians at this time?
What are the strategies I can use as a physician liaison working remotely?
If. you have been asking yourself these questions or feel unsure on the best ways you be effective as a physician liaison at this time, I am here to tell you…
You are not alone!
But don’t fret, in this blog, physician liaisons from across the country join me in discussing ways you can be effective and create value as physician liaison during COVID-19.
What does a Physician Liaison Do?
Traditionally, physician liaisons work in the field, building relationships with local referring physicians and practices to help streamline patient referrals, and promote practice growth
What Physician liaisons Do…
To name a few…
Now with the COVID-19 social distancing, physician liaison teams are no longer in the field and working remotely.
This means physician liaisons are now turning to the virtual world to remain engaged and find the ways they can best support and respond to the needs and wants of their physicians and community.
Physician Liaison Marketing Tips For Working Remotely During COVID-19
What Strategies Other Physician Liaison Teams Are Using When It Comes To Referring Physicians After COVID-19
“While not being able to visit referring physicians face to face during this time, I’ve taken this time to follow up on items that were not quite at the top of my list before.
I’ve focused on what I could do, and that’s Social Media! I’ve created an Instagram account, and several Facebook pages for our outlining locations (items that needed to be done)
I’m thankful for the time I have been able to spend and creating more awareness for our radiation centers on social media. Our website needed some updates, and this time has allowed me the opportunity to revamp and update it.
I’ve stayed engaged with other practices by emailing them our new patient referral forms directly and texting physicians to see how they are doing during this time. It’s been challenging, but most of all time well spent.
– Brandi Talton, Chief Development Officer (CDO) at Atlanta Oncology Associates + American Professional Associates
“We are open for business. During this “work from home” period, I’ve been reaching out individually, by phone and email, and mail to referring Physician’s offices, trying to maintain a personal connection where possible.
I’ve continued to establish new contacts with referring offices with whom I’ve not yet met, while I would prefer an in-person visit, they appreciate the communication. We’re all going through the same thing, professionally and personally, so that’s a natural conversation. I don’t ascribe to the tactic of making an emotional connection through a crisis as a means to capitalize later.
It’s part of being a good human and growing a relationship. In addition to this way of reaching physicians, institutionally, our organization is getting the message out via our website, social media, and other available communication modes.
With so many challenges with PPE shortages, I’ve found great honor in being able to help connect a new medical mask supplier with key individuals in local police, fire departments, and a major medical center. I was also able to introduce supply chain managers for two major medical centers when an emergent appeal was presented for needed gear.
Many businesses, including our own, have been forced to cancel events. One event, of which we are a sponsor, took on the challenge of attempting a virtual event rather than cancel.
Our support has continued with several of our physicians going on video to show their enthusiasm in support of the event.
The usual hectic and often times frantic days (nights and weekends) of physician liaisons have been turned on their head, leaving us all searching for ways to provide value.
Value to our employer, value to physicians in our community, and ultimately, value to our patients and potential patients. We know too well that while this limbo may continue a few more weeks, a month, or even more- “normalcy” will return.
While we don’t know how that’s going to look, one thing that we know is that a whole lot is going to be expected of us from our organizations! Keep doing what you’ve been doing- keep thinking creatively, and keep building relationships. This is also the time to review, analyze, and research. Devise your action plan to be executed when normalcy returns.”
– Doug, City of Hope, Physician Liaison
“For the most part we have been redeployed for patient communication during this time.
Due to the fact that we are a Cancer Institute and have an extremely high risk patient population, we are calling on and educating patients on temporary precautions and restrictions we have in place to keep them safe prior to their scheduled appointments.
We are helping to relieve fears and answer questions in such an unexpected time. We are trying to stay relevant with our physician outreach through digital communications by highlighting cancer awareness months and what our institute has to offer for each specific tumor site.
We continue to field calls from our physicians to answer questions and help guide them in the referral process while we are under COVID-19 restrictions as well! “
– Kelsey Snyder, Physician Liaison at Parkview Cancer Institute
“Though I am not able to visit with community physicians, I am working out of my office at the hospital. I collaborate with others via Zoom and teleconference.”
– Mary Ellen Woska, Physician Relations Manager at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center
“I was a communicator for the small practices informing them of what was happening at the hospital, especially since those who were privately owned and were not part of any medical staff of a hospital or large medical group felt left out of communication. I was touching base daily and reaching out to see those that had connections to contribute to PPE, In addition, I was watching webinars and reviewing forums on what other organizations were doing as most of my colleagues were busy operationally figuring out how to go telehealth live!
Finally, I was sharing as much information possible and figuring out ways to shift my role and help (answering calls for call center) etc”
– Tiffany Morrison, Bristol Health, Physician Liaison| Relationship Builder through Physician Partnerships
“Since I had to cancel our Continued Education evening for local optometrists due to COVID, I created an online version of it so we can still offer credit to those ODs. It also gives me reasons to reach out to them to see what their needs are during this time. I am offering to give small Zoom tutorials for the ODs that have never used the program before, so that way this Wednesday everyone is prepared. It may not be the same as offering a sit-down dinner with wine, but they know once we are re-opened, I will offer another one (I try to do 2 per year in our larger market, and 1 a year in the smaller ones). “
– Brena Anderson, Oregon Eye Institute, Business Development Liaison
“I think the key is to show we are essential to the practices we serve. We need to call our referral sources. But also calling employers can add value. Many are looking for information aside from just the news.”
– Jeffrey Rivers, Mercy Health, Provider Relations | Business Development Strategies for Health Systems
“Create a summary (excel) with a list of your top referrers and their COVID-19 status (open, closed, staggered schedule, limited hours, emergency procedures only). Give this to your doctors (business owners/managers). They want to know AND it will help when things start to open up.
Become a resource to your referrers by offering a Patient Advisory & Acknowledgement. None of our offices know what to do when things start opening up. This will help offices and staff with a documented screening procedure. We created this in our office for our patients. We’re sharing this to our referring dentists. Dentists want to also protect their staff as well as their patients.
I feel like I’m working harder from ‘remote’ then I did out in the field. Today my doctor has space in his schedule, so I’m having him deliver pizzas to ERs and Urgent Care Clinics with this letter taped to the top of the box. The most important thing about this letter is it doesn’t require the audience to ‘read’. No one wants or has time to read right now. Just give them the info, some pizza, and get out of their way.
-Stacy Hill, Endo Marketing Group, Training Endodontists, and their staff how to market their practice the right way.
“I have been working with our imaging department to create an efficient system for MRI and Xray services- practices can just send patients to us for imaging, and we can have it ready to go the often same day as the patients visit. The new revenue stream for us and fast for providers!”
– Holly Ulanday, Physician Liaison Ksf Orthopedic Center, Building relationships between practices to better serve patients
“Always be in touch with your referring physicians, especially during this COVID-19 Pandemic. You don’t want to lose the connections you work so hard for. Send an email and do virtual touches (along with rewatching PLU courses).
We work on daily newsletters to all our referral physicians and medical staff.”
– John Nguyen, KPC Health, Marketing ⇨ Business Development ⇨ Healthcare ⇨ NeuroTech ⇨ AI/VR Enthusiast ⇨ Influencer ⇨ Disruptor
“I created a 90 second video clip using Vidyard that I sent to my referring docs via text and email. It only took me 50 takes to get the video right haha. The script was approved by my manager and surgeon prior.”
– Matilde Fidler, Physician Relations Liaison at SightTrust Eye Institute
“Just wanted to share a win I had this week. For months (way before COVID) I have been trying to get a chiropractor in my area to send his MRI business to us.
His office always seemed receptive, but nothing ever happened. I gave his office manager my cell number and told her never to hesitate to reach out. Fast forward to yesterday; I received a text from her stating they had a patient with a severe issue on their internal x-ray and she wanted to know if one of our radiologists could over-read the film.
I made it happen – even drove to the office to personally pick up the disk and drop it off to our radiology dept. The doctor and office manager were definitely grateful for the extra effort.
Today, they FINALLY scheduled their first MRI with us! The moral to this story is: don’t give up on a referral source. Keep visiting them and building those relationships. You never know when it will pay off.”
– Kelly Montgomery, Providence Hospital, Physician Liaison with a Proven Record of Increasing Patient Referrals from Traditional and Non-traditional lead sources
“This is a very challenging time for physician liaisons. With the COVID epidemic, many of us are not able to do what we normally do daily. Our roles are built around connection, engagement, and contact. How do we do that when we’re supposed to be “social distancing” when many of our clients/referral sources are not letting us in, are working limited hours, and have their own set of issues to worry about? How do we stay relevant and valuable both to our organizations and our clients? Here are some of my thoughts…
– First and foremost, keep yourself healthy.
You are of no use to anyone if you are sick. So stay safe and be mindful and respectful of the safety policies and procedures wherever you go. Keeping healthy is the first key to being valuable.
– Utilize alternate methods of communication. Phone calls text messages, social media, faxing, emailing, etc.
Make sure you know how the best way to contact your clients and referral sources…. you’re going to need this later.
– Work on your plan to hit the ground running when life returns to normal. Have a solid strategy ready to execute to promote your business and reach your clients in the quickest, most efficient way possible. That’s when having your contacts in place is going to benefit you.
– Identify the needs of your clients and/or the needs of their patients and ask where they are hurting and where they may have extra ..and then use your networking skills to try to meet some of those needs.
For example, I work with senior living facilities, and currently, their residents cannot leave, nor can they have visitors, so we found ways to engage with their residents through the window, playing games like tik tak toe and hangman.
Also, some facilities are hurting for staff (Home health agencies) while other facilities have had to cut hours and/or lay people off (ASC’s) use your network to help people find jobs/employees. Another way to do this is to have meals delivered or volunteer in the community.
– I think the most important thing we can do within the community and within our organizations is keeping a positive attitude and always being a champion and cheerleader for those that we work with.
Constantly ask, “what can I do to help?”. Everyone needs that right now, and believe me, that will go a very, very long way.
– Lydia Bailey, Account Executive at Angmar Medical Holdings, Inc
As you can see you are not alone.
The key to go from surviving to thriving is to stay positive, be proactive, and pivot to create new value based on the current situation. These examples show how physician liaisons are making the necessary moves and going that extra mile for their patients, physicians, community, and their careers.
You have a significant role to play, and now more than ever, we all need to do our part.
Stay safe, and you got this!