Do your physicians help you "seal the deal" or torpedo a wonderful recruit?

During a dynamic session with about 100 hospital leaders, we used an interactive poll to reveal key barriers to their growth. Not surprisingly, physician recruitment rises to the top.

Lively discussion ensued around the bigger question: Do your community physicians help you "seal the deal," or have you handed them enough ammunition to torpedo a wonderful recruit?

The message is loud and clear: barriers to physician engagement and productivity are likely undermining your recruitment success and damaging your retention rates.

Current physicians are your best advocates
Physicians listen to their peers. And while your current physicians are your best advocates for recruiting excellent providers, they may also represent your greatest risk. All too often, the prospective or newly recruited physician - excited to arrive in your community - encounters negativity from physicians who are frustrated with the hospital.

It's also common for a new provider to quickly lose his or her enthusiasm (not to mention income) because a broken credentialing and nominal orientation program stymies their patient flow and productivity. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are wasted recruiting physicians who decline offers or leave quickly. Conservatively, you lose $1 million of unrealized annualized revenue per physician during the vacancy.

Hospitals that invest in their "ground game" are the winners
Effective physician-hospital relations and onboarding programs are powerful tools that make current physicians your best ambassadors for candidates. They can attest that you deliver on promises, including a best-in-practice onboarding program for new recruits.

In a recent case, the complete (yet rapid) reinvention of Dayton Children's onboarding program yielded astounding results with:
• Credentialing time cut by two-thirds
• Ramp-up to full productivity accelerated by nine months
• Turnover lowered by 75%


They also improved their recruitment success in high-demand subspecialties, thanks to the testimony that their physicians share. They have experienced the benefits of the efficient, yet comprehensive, onboarding and mentoring program that new physicians receive for at least a full year.

In their practices, the strength of the physician-hospital relations program has proven that they are fully supported by top leadership and throughout the ranks.

Using this checklist, rate your organization's performance on these 10 critical success factors. Are you firmly positioned to:
1. Accelerate practice ramp-up in less than 90 days
2. Establish effective communication channels
3. Customize scalable program resources
4. Gain feedback from physicians
5. Form accountable teams
6. Build actionable checklists
7. Eliminate duplication
8. Implement physician mentorship
9. Report progress and remove barriers
10. Benchmark national best practices

An honest assessment and a few strategic moves in these key areas will drive big results.

Tammy Tiller-Hewitt, CEO of Tiller-Hewitt Healthcare Strategies, is a nationally recognized physician relations and retention consultant, keynote speaker, and writer. Tammy draws on 30 years of healthcare management experience. Her work with both the health system and the physician practice side of healthcare give her a unique perspective on the complexities facing today's healthcare professionals.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Becker's Hospital Review/Becker's Healthcare. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.​

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