What Is a Physician Liaison? (Plus How To Become One)
When physicians and health care facilities focus on taking care of patients, they often lack time to promote their services. They may hire a physician liaison to increase traffic for their facility, promote referrals and create outreach programs. If you want to become a physician liaison, it may help to understand what they do and what skills they may need.
In this article, we explore the role of a physician liaison, including what they do, the steps to become one, their skills and the salary and outlook for this position.
What is a physician liaison?
Given a physician's primary focus is on patient care, they generally have limited time to dedicate to building a local physician network or interacting with other practices and/or hospitals that can serve as tools in their patient-care process. A physician liaison helps bridge the gap between a physician and colleagues and resources around them that may be difficult to attain since other positions focus on providing essential care.
In this role, a physician liaison serves as a representative of a physician or practice. A physician liaison is a representative of a private practice or other health care facility who builds relationships with other physicians or medical employees. They specialize in strengthening partnerships that can increase a physician's revenue. Many physician liaisons either work with other liaisons or lead a team of sales and networking employees.
What does a physician liaison do?
A physician liaison's main duty is to strengthen the relationships between a physician and their local health care networks, such as insurance companies, referring physicians and medical device vendors. Their duties can vary depending on the practice and the relationship that you can develop. Some common tasks include:
Meeting with referring physicians to create a relationship with physicians of other specialties
Increasing the rate of high-revenue tests and procedures
Reporting progress to supervisors
Arranging marketing campaigns and strategies
Attaining periodic marketing goals
Using social media to connect with potential patients
How to become a physician liaison
Here are some steps you can take to become a physician liaison:
1. Earn your degree
Most physician liaison jobs require advanced education, such as a master's degree. Some organizations may allow you to be a physician liaison if you have a bachelor's degree and related work experience equal to a master's degree. Business is the most common major for physician liaison employees, but you can select other related degrees, such as communication, marketing, health care administration or nursing. You can also pursue specific coursework such as marketing and medical terminology to develop important skills for being a physician liaison.
2. Find an internship
While getting your college degree, consider applying for a health care or health care administration internship. Internships allow you to gain experience while working at a real company in your desired job field. They can also help connect you with employees who may provide you with advice or give you information about potential job opportunities in the future.
3. Get an entry-level job
You may obtain some work experience before qualifying for a physician liaison position. Consider finding a job in health care, sales, health care administration or a related role. While you can use your internship as work experience, getting an additional entry-level job may increase the qualifications on your resume and can improve your chances of getting hired.
4. Consider certification
A certification course is a short class, usually taught online, that can teach you professional skills that can help make you a competitive candidate for a physician liaison. Some certification programs that may help improve your overall liaison skills include public safety, surgery and medical assistant courses. Try to research some certification courses to determine which ones best fit your needs and use national associations that focus on this position, such as the American Association of Physician Liaisons.
5. Apply for physician liaison jobs
Once you finish your education and obtain work experience, you can start to apply for physician liaison positions. You can find potential job openings by searching job websites, reviewing local job boards or calling health facilities about potential open roles. Another way you can find a physician liaison job is by talking to your professional network.
Related: The Best Times to Apply for Jobs
Physician liaison skills
These are a few skills that may help you perform your tasks while working as a physician liaison:
As a physician liaison, you may spend most of your time interacting with other employees. Often, you represent a particular physician or health care center and may make a positive impression on other health care employees. Developing your interpersonal skills may allow you to communicate with others more effectively, which can strengthen your professional relationships with others.
Physician liaisons participate in many meetings with vendors, insurance officials and other physicians while conducting their duties. Improving your organization skills can help you remember all of your meetings and keep track of the information you learn when interacting with others. It can also help you store and locate important information about your health care center or potential customers.
Related: Steps for Skill Improvement
A physician liaison may work with multiple different types of technology when performing sales and public outreach tasks for a medical system. Improving your overall technology skills may help you understand your tools and can allow you to complete your tasks quickly and efficiently. You can improve your technical knowledge by reading online resources, taking courses and practicing with independent projects.
A physician liaison may lead other employees within a medical facility to work alone to promote the services of the physicians within the facility. As such, some may need leadership skills to help create effective teams and learn about the physicians within the facility. Using this knowledge, they can create accurate and interesting advertisements for each physician.
Physician liaisons may have multiple projects in progress at the same time. Since each project may have a deadline, they manage their time effectively so they can ensure they complete each project on time. They also use time management to understand when to not accept additional projects, allowing them to create high-quality advertisements and marketing campaigns.
While physician liaisons don't practice any medical procedures, they may understand some basic health care concepts. Learning about medicine can help them understand the procedures their health facilities perform, know the specialties of people they interact with and create better marketing campaigns for both new patients and potential donors.
Customer relationship management
Customer relationship management technology is often a software program or platform that helps you track and monitor your new and existing patients. A CRM tool can help you store patient contact information, identify sales trends and track reviews on medical review sites. Developing your CRM skills can help you better manage your patient data which may give you some insights into how to improve your medical sales.
Marketing or sales
While working as a physician liaison, you may convince a member of a physician network to endorse or collaborate with your physician. You can also oversee any advertisements a doctor may make to attract more patients. A marketing or sales background may help you positively influence people and can encourage them to interact with your physician or health care center.
Physician liaisons work primarily alone by selling medical supplies and meeting with medical contacts. While they may occasionally report to their supervisor, they perform most of their duties independently. As a physician liaison, learning strong self-motivation skills can help you perform your tasks with limited supervision, which may improve your ability to meet your professional goals.
Salary and job outlook
The average national salary for a physician liaison is $61,370 per year. Individual salaries may vary depending on a series of factors, such as location, years of experience or size of the health facility for which you work. While the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't provide information specific to physician liaisons, they predict that public relations specialist positions may grow by 8% through 2031. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link provided.
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