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What is Keeping the Physician Relations Professional Up at Night?

January 11, 2018

Philadelphia was an appropriate location for the Physician Relations Summit, hosted by World Congress, in December. One of the local speakers shared a few fun facts about Philadelphia:

  • Pennsylvania is home to the first hospital in the U.S. (1751)
  • The University of Pennsylvania was the first medical school (1765)
  • One out of every six doctors in the U.S. is trained in Philadelphia

Besides Philly medical trivia and the obligatory stop for a cheesesteak at Geno’s, there were several takeaways from the conference regarding what’s on the minds of physician relations professionals.

Beyond the expected conversations around uncertainty related to federal mandates, as well as continuing consolidation of hospitals into larger healthcare systems, four topics were prominently featured at the summit, including:

  1. How to plug referral leakage? While this is viewed as an organizational imperative, most of the participants commented that they are being forced to achieve the objective of physician “Keepage”, rather than “Leakage” with stagnant or shrinking budgets. Organizations identified upwards to one-third of their referrals from employed physicians leaking out of the system. Better referral analytics and a broader base use of Physician Relationship Management (PRM) tools were discussed as means of identifying and addressing the right issues.
  2. How do we engage physicians? The Digital Revolution (smart phones, Amazon Echo, etc.) has raised overall expectations for how interactions should occur across all facets of our lives. Physicians are no different. While there is still tremendous value in face-to-face conversations between physicians and liaisons, there were many other engagement channels that help to foster on-going, two-way dialogue with physicians. Some interesting examples were informative podcasts, clinical pathways discussions, and online venues for connecting and creating communities and value-added resources for providers. These discussions hit a responsive chord, as Infor’s approach is to focus on means to drive physician engagement rather than physician satisfaction as the overarching relationship objective.
  3. How do we segment physician messaging? A good portion of the discussion was centered on the 15% of the physician workforce that Millennials comprise today and how that number will continue to grow rapidly. According to AMA research, Millennials set themselves apart from other generations through their technology-focused approach to medicine (including greater reliance on evidence-based medicine), efforts to avoid burnout and maintain work-life balance, desire to make a social difference, and financially-influenced career choices based on sizable education debt. Beyond generational differences, several conference attendees stressed the importance of segmenting dialogue based on PCPs versus various specialty physicians. If we consider the overarching goal to be engagement, then looking to the intrinsic needs of individual doctors or at least physician segments to build rapport and ongoing two-way dialogue is critical.
  4. How do we measure effectiveness? Many organizations are migrating dollars from traditional marketing approaches to relationship marketing approaches. One of the benefits of this reallocation is being the ability to assign ROI metrics. Having good data to justify expenditures is critical, as many physician relations initiatives are being asked to deliver on challenging objectives (physician engagement, physician retention, and referral keepage) with flat or declining budgets.

I would love to hear if these topics resonate with what you are experiencing at your organization. Please feel free to message me if you would like to discuss how Infor’s full slate of physician and patient engagement solutions can help your organization increase revenue and gain a competitive edge in your market.

Additionally and to learn more, please read our guide, 10 things you should know about engaging physicians to boost referrals and revenue.

Roger Zudekoff

Infor Market Growth Specialist

Physician and Patient Engagement Solutions

  • Healthcare
  • EMEA
  • North America
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