Physician Relations & Physician Relationship Management Tips

Jul 24, 2022 | Physician Liaison Marketing

Physician Relations Marketing Strategies to Increase Referrals

You’re ready to expand your reach and connect with local referring physicians and there are no better ways to do that than implementing consistent and proactive physician relations growth!

But first, it is important to understand what exactly a physician liaison is and its value to your physician referral marketing.


What is Physician Relations and What Does a Physician Relations Manager Do?

Physician relations is the process of proactively developing and nurturing physician relationships in your community in order to generate new referrals and improve patient outcomes.

A physician relations manager is the practice ambassador charged with cultivating physician referral relationships that convert patients.

The physician liaison job description is to actively market to local referring physicians to help drive new and increase existing patient referrals.

The boost of new patient referrals will result in:

  • An increase in patient growth
  • An increase in high-revenue procedures or surgeries
  • An increase in overall practice revenue

Physician relations managers are representatives of the practice and the physicians that go out to discuss information pertinent to patient referrals and streamline the referral process for referring doctors.

The physician liaison must be fully educated on the processes, services, and referral systems to effectively build physician referral relationships.

During the physician liaison training process the liaisons acquire the necessary knowledge, skillsets, and tools to successfully and confidently market to referring physicians.

What Does A Physician Relations Manager do?

  • Boots on the ground marketing rep actively visiting referring physicians to build lucrative physician referral relationships
  • Increases patient referrals from referring physicians
  • Increases practice surgeries, treatments, and procedures
  • Increases overall practice revenue
  • Schedules physician meetings and lunches with referring doctors and practices
  • Delivers the necessary marketing collateral and referral material to help streamline patient referrals
  • Reports on patient referral growth, trends, and patterns
  • Helps manage practice-marketing initiatives
  • Serves as physician and practice ambassador
  • Develops a strategic physician relations marketing plan
  • Reports to providing physicians on the physician relations program

A physician relations manager is a physician’s connection to their local healthcare community. A physician liaison allows physicians to focus on patient care while the physician liaison serves as their representative and helps automate the physician referral process.

A physician liaison will be the eyes and ears of the physician given because of their work in field marketing. They have the best perspective on what it takes to build lucrative physician referral relationships.

In collaboration with the providing physicians, physician relationship management can create a referral process that provides value to referring physicians to better increase the likelihood of gaining new patient referrals.

Top Physician Relations Manager Traits

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

Below I listed the top qualities of a high-producing physician relations manager.

1. Investing in Continuing Education

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

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

At the end of the day, if the individual isn’t likable 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.

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

4. Motivated and Driven to Improve Physician Relations

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

5. Flexible

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

A successful liaison will make themselves available and adapt to their schedule to succeed at physician relationship management.

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.

The physician relations manager 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: Ask the right physician liaison interview questions to uncover this

7. Creative Physician Relations Marketing Ideas

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

Tip: During the 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.

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 exude 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

An organized physician liaison will be an individual prepared for every physician relationship 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 relationship 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.

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 relations manager 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 an efficient representative to see patient referral objectives through and qualifier of their time.

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.

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 relations is the front line of a medical practice’s relationship marketing program.

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 Physicians and Medical Practice

A productive physician relations manager 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.

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.

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

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 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 physician relationship 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!

10 Tips for Physician Relations

  1. It’s important you find the ideal physician liaison to represent your practice. Choose the physician liaison that best fits to the needs and wants of your practice and team.
  1. Invest in a professional physician liaison training program. This will ensure your physician liaison will be professionally trained and have all the necessary skills to succeed.
  1. Create a physician liaison marketing plan with clear benchmarks and goals. This information should be pulled from your practice numbers.
  1. Implement consistent physician relations outreach marketing. Consistency is key, NOT few and far between visits!
  1. Create value as a physician liaison based on the needs and wants of your referring physicians. Do not just promote and advertise your practice this is about building GENUINE RELATIONSHIPS.
  1. Develop a strategic marketing follow-up Nothing is worse then the same old tired message.
  1. Implement a physician liaison tracking system that helps you not only track the marketing but plan ahead.
  1. Report ROI it’s crucial to understand the health of the marketing and know your numbers. Keep an eye out for referral patterns, trends, and measure success.
  1. Require time with your doctor. The more involved the physician is in the physician liaison marketing the better.
  2. Expand your reach! Don’t be afraid to expand your territories for a more targeted approach towards surgeries or services.




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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