Physician relations really can be fun and easy! Most physicians essentially want the same things – to be able to come to work, treat patients, and go home. The days of physicians working 24/7 are over. They have lives outside of medicine. They are passionate about the medicine, but it may be their job, not necessarily their identity. In an era with more regulation, more paperwork, and less reimbursement, this desire for a work/life balance can be a daily struggle for physicians.
And, we all know that happy physicians equal more patient volume, particularly for hospitals. So, it’s our challenge in physician relations to find out the unique needs of each physician on the medical staff and strive to meet those needs. Is this always possible? Of course not. We can’t offer free medical office space. We can’t let them slide on signing a verbal order. But, we sure can remove barriers to practicing in a hospital and offer conveniences.
Potential barriers could be:
- Difficulty getting OR block time
- Pricing/difficulty with pre-certs on outpatient imaging and surgery
- Unfriendly staff
- Difficult to access or use EHR
- Lab or imaging delays
Some examples of conveniences that are legal are:
- Free, close parking
- Free meals
- Dedicated PCs in the lounge and around the hospital
- Remote access to the hospital’s medical record system at home and/or their office
- Electronic signing of charts
- PACS access
- Strong cell phone signal via an amplifier/booster
- An HIM department with generous hours and the opportunity to sign charts in the physician lounge, surgery lounge, etc.
- Marketing opportunities such as website listing, speaker’s bureau, and physician referral line
- Great hospital-based physicians and specialists for consults
Physician relations is simple. Reach out to physicians to find out what they want and need. Listen closely. Be honest about what you can and can’t control. Any items that are within your control, are legal, and are budget-friendly should be considered for implementation. A few small wins can go a long way. Items that are more costly or out of your control should be investigated to see if there is a solution.
The Brummitt Group offers training for medical groups and hospitals to improve interactions with physicians. From scripting telephone conversations to implementing tracking mechanisms for physician issues, we cover the full spectrum of physician relations. We have everything from short one hour training sessions on improving physician satisfaction to full-blown physician relations and physician sales programs, all customized to fit the needs of our clients.
Here’s a few blog posts that highlight the flavor of our training:
Prerequisites for a Successful Physician Sales Program
The Unpaid Consultant
Building a Physician-Friendly Environment
How Does Your Staff Answer the Phone?