Bringing new physicians into the fold is usually an exciting time for a medical practice, whether it’s a small country practice, a large urban care center or anything in between. However, onboarding a new practitioner can also create the fertile ground for frustration, missed opportunities, and even failure.
Integrating new physicians into any health care environment requires diligence, patience and foresight. While recruiting the right candidate sets the foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship, the ability to retain that candidate is the brick and mortar that will largely determine whether the relationship is ultimately successful.
According to the Medical Group Management Association, the turnover among new physicians has been estimated to be 25% for the first three years of employment. MGMA further reports that the cost of lost revenue, recruitment fees, signing bonuses, the cost of interviewing and relocation and other start-up costs for a new physician can total as much as $750,000.
At first blush, this might seem hard to believe, perhaps even ridiculous. After all, we expect a well-educated professional to hit the ground running, so to speak. Consider, however, that effectively incorporating new physicians into any practice can be “a 90 to 180-day process that requires attention to hundreds of details.” One simply cannot expect a doctor to intuit the ins and outs of functioning in a new environment.
“Trial and error” is not the way to onboard new physicians. There is just too much at stake. On the other hand, well-structured onboarding can actually work on two fronts:
Meeting those two objectives will go a long way towards creating a lasting relationship between the doctor and employer, one which leads to a stable environment in which patients are likely to feel comfortable.
The following steps will help demonstrate that a new physician is a welcome and valuable asset to the practice and not just simply a necessary addition.
Thorough orientation is key – Although most employers do more than provide keys to the facilities and show a new hire where the washroom is, most orientation procedures are woefully inadequate because they do not address such things as:
Marketing – Have the new doctor create a bio to which other relevant information can be added such as focus of the practice, availability, etc. The following should also be considered:
Staff integration – More than a simple introduction on the doctor’s first day of work.
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First impressions matter. Onboarding new physicians is an opportunity to make them feel welcome, but it’s also a chance to provide orientation materials, communicate company culture and ensure a healthy transition into the new workplace.
The most successful healthcare facilities understand how to roll out the red carpet. The following physician onboarding ideas can help achieve multiple goals, including integration into the local medical community, understanding of policies and procedures and transfer of information so the physician has the best chance of successfully fulfilling job responsibilities.
Written orientation materials assist newcomers with information they can refer to repeatedly during their tenure at the medical facility. At Elliot Health System, orientation materials include general resource information regarding names and contact information of various staff members and departmental heads. They also include general policies and FAQs about handling hazards and other situations as they may arise.
These materials help to answer many of the questions that newly hired physicians may have on basic topics specific to that medical facility, as well as provide written information that will be a go-to resource over time.
Being able to enter a community of fellow physicians and medical practitioners with an introduction is key to forming deep bonds that ensure mutual respect and easy working relations.
One physician onboarding idea that many hospitals implement is providing medical community introductions on an informal level. Planned intimate social gatherings can be the ground for introducing new members of staff where they can casually engage with future colleagues and supervisors.
These interactions lead to open communication and understanding. When potential problems arise, its more likely that a new or seasoned physician will feel comfortable approaching a colleague or department head early, and bringing them in on the decision-making process.
The best medical facilities understand that their physicians are also part of a personal family. They don’t look at or treat their new physicians as independent units, but as part of a family unit. As such, new Elliot Health System physicians are provided with a variety of benefits not only for themselves, but for their families as well. These include discounts at local shopping clubs like Sam’s Club and BJ’s, discounts at family parks like Water Country and Six Flags New England, childbirth classes, bus passes and discounted movie tickets. Elliot Health System welcomes new physicians by rolling out the red carpet for the entire family.
Physician onboarding ideas like these help to make every new physician feel welcome and capable as they begin their new life. Are you interested in joining the Elliot Health System community? Consider our open positions.