Physician Liaisons Are the Glue to Retaining Your Doctors


Physician Liaisons Are the Glue to Retaining Your Doctors

I am still amazed at how MOST hospitals/organizations don’t have a Physician Liaison on staff. They are the glue to keeping doctors happy by working intimately with the community of physicians. This helps in physician retention, keeps morale up, and saves the hospital tons of money in the long run. They are the unsung hero in these hospitals. 

What do they do?

Well, this depends. There is no standard job description. From my book:

What is this “Physician Liaison” I keep speaking of? That, my friend, is the secret sauce of a great PRP. You still need everything in place as described earlier, but the key is having the right person dedicated to the program. “Hogwash!”, you say, “We can’t be creating a new position with a new salary and benefits!” I would respond, “Lose this book and don’t do a PRP.” That is how important this role is. 

PRP = Physician Retention Program

Here are my specifics:

Physician Liaison Responsibilities:

·        Speaking regularly with physicians to see if their needs are met. This does NOT include financial issues such as salaries, bonuses or negotiating such.

·        Meeting with administrators to give feedback about the above.

·        Being the “boots on the ground” to have a pulse of the mood of doctors.

·        Helping doctors with the little things that need to be done in order to make their work easier and more enjoyable.

·        Arranging activities and events that celebrate physicians such as Doctors’ Day and other important events.

How about the requirements to be a Physician Liaison?

·        An Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in nursing, healthcare administration, or related field would be helpful. 

·        Experience in healthcare at some level prior.

·        General medical knowledge, especially related to how care is given at the hospital.

·        A willingness to meet with doctors personally.

·        A positive attitude.

·        Trustworthy so that doctors can feel they can communicate with you.

·        Strong interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills.

·        Confidence and caring. You must be able to understand and set boundaries for both the administration and the physician. These need to be in place as decided by both of these parties. 

Obviously, others may have different opinions about the role of the Physician Liaison. That’s fine. Here is one problem I am seeing. Many Physician Liaisons are doing other things that TAKE them away from working to keep the staff happy. This includes doing sales, public relations, and marketing to the public. I am not saying these things don’t need to be done but taking the Physician Liaison away from what I described above is a problem and your physicians start to realize that they are less of a priority now. I believe this is the result of the hospitals are being cheap and instead of having two different people do two different jobs they are stretching the Physician Liaison’s job too thin. 

When I started out in my medical career I felt so great about my hospital organization mainly because the Physician Liaison we had was awesome. She did those things I mentioned above and was always there to lend an ear. Other doctors felt the same as I did. And then the hospital did away with the position. Was the unraveling of the organization and exodus of doctors over the next three years a result of this? I believe it was a major factor. When you remove the glue things tend to fall apart. 

What do you think?

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