Having a solid foundation in the industry, SuperStars demonstrate standout skills and receive excellent reviews from CEOs, service line directors and physicians. Working with providers and their office staff, they are always prepared to deliver value, problem-solve and communicate effectively. They utilize feedback to continuously improve. Superstars also demonstrate leadership skills in both formal and informal roles. They help to train new liaisons and are catalysts for significant change. Long after our consulting engagements end, they continue to build and add value to the program.
Why did you become a liaison?
Initially I became a liaison because I thought the job would be rewarding, challenging and fulfilling. I truly had a passion for physician interactions and building physician-hospital relationships. I saw the opportunity to be able to get back to networking, connecting the dots and being able to make a difference in the physician and patient experience. But, it has been so much more than that.
What part of your job as a liaison do you love the most?
Variety in the day-to-day work and the people I encounter. Teamwork—having an incredible support system—at all levels. From my administrative support to the COO to the network vice president, everyone truly seems to be invested in my success, which in turn offers success for the hospital. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with that type of support.
What is the least favorite part of your job?
The least favorite part about the job is being patient and having to wait on issues to be closed or fixed. Some things just take time. They say patience is a virtue; I haven’t mastered that skill yet.
What is your most memorable accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishments come with the physician “ride along,” which is a well-choreographed series of visits where we introduce or update our referral network to our physicians. The most rewarding aspect of the activity is in seeing the end result of the planning, the day of the ride and then tracking the changes in referral patterns afterwards. For example, I took a new breast surgeon (with literally zero patients) into the field. We did a lot of site visits, introducing her many new offices. Her staff then tracked all referrals coming in, specifically from those offices. When I spoke with the surgeon recently, she informed me that she is now at capacity. Is all of that my doing? Of course, not. But she had several referrals in to her office within 24 hours. To get the ball rolling is extremely satisfying.
What are the essential skills or qualities that help you succeed as a liaison?
Most important: view everyone who touches the hospital as a customer. You also have to be a good listener, well-organized and a diligent note taker. And, follow-up is essential. It not only shows that you care, but that you can get things done.
As the role of liaison has evolved – what has changed the most?
I would say depth of involvement. It’s not just going out to see physicians anymore – taking them lunch and saying “come do business with us.” I find myself more involved on a daily basis and deeper level. For example: I focus on knowing how well we are keeping surgeons on time, turning over rooms, anesthesia coverage, etc. There have even been a few times where surgeons have invited me to sit in on cases to watch and observe turnover and the flow of cases. And, if something isn’t happening, I work with everyone involved to get it corrected “now.”
What advice do you have for your “younger self” and for your “future self?”
This is a job that requires you to be at the top of your game. Advice I’d give my younger self would be to exercise more and eat healthier. I hope my future self adheres to that advice.
Whom do you consider to be a mentor?
Without question, my greatest mentor is my first boss out of college who hired me as a recruiter for a tech staffing firm. He took me under his wing, pushed me and demanded a lot from me. He showed me a passion for success and helped me develop professionally at an early age in my work career. More than 20 years later, there are things that I still do because of his influence.
If you could leave a legacy to your successor, your hospital or community: what would it be?
I hope my legacy is that I made a difference in the hospital. I want people to feel like I was an advocate for them, that I cared and that I wanted their experience to be better for them—physicians and patients.
The Liaison Legacy series celebrates the 15th anniversary of Tiller-Hewitt Healthcare Strategies by offering a forum for sharing best practices. Learn more about how we can help you leave a strong legacy within your profession, hospital and community.