Overcoming Common Physician Onboarding Roadblocks

Call it a hiring spree! Between the looming physician shortage and the pressure to treat more insured patients through the Affordable Care Act, more and more high-performing healthcare organizations are adding new physicians to their payrolls. In fact, a recent study by The Cejka Search and American Medical Group Association (AMGA) showed that 76% of healthcare entities plan to hire more primary care physicians[1]. When it comes to creating a strategic differentiator, organizations must work to proactively develop an effective practitioner onboarding process.

If your goal is to attract and keep the best talent available, it is well worth using valuable resources and making a major investment when onboarding new physicians. Think of your onboarding process as your welcome mat – one that will ultimately influence whether that talent stays or goes in the long haul.  

Onboarding Is Directly Related to Retention

No doubt, the physician shortage is placing growing pressure on talent retention. Studies by the Association of American Medical Colleges show that physician demand is expected to reach a shortage of about 12,500 to 31,100 primary care physicians[2]. This is largely due to growing numbers of retiring physicians. A survey by Deloitte found that 6 in 10 physicians plan on retiring earlier than expected[3].

How to ensure quality of care in the face of this crisis? For starters, healthcare entities will need to take a hard look at their onboarding processes to make sure they can smoothly and efficiently walk the best talent through their doors. One way to avoid high turnover is to review what you could be doing wrong. Here are four common roadblocks to avoid when fine-tuning your onboarding process:

Roadblock #1: Lengthy Processing Times

No one likes to wait – especially prospective talent that is in the pipeline, but not being utilized. The position that remains understaffed means resources must be used to recruit, employ, credential, privilege, and enroll a new physician. If it takes five to seven months for new medical staff to generate revenue for the healthcare entity, that’s five to seven months of forfeited revenue.

Roadblock #2: Redundant Tasks

How well do your departments communicate and work together? Shortening the time between recruitment and enrollment means physicians can more quickly begin seeing patients and integrate into the medical staff. Many inefficiencies within the onboarding process are caused by information silos – separate departments with separate methods of carrying out their responsibilities. For example, human resources and the medical staff may have separate privileging systems that were developed for different needs. Human resources may be checking for board certification while the medical staff is looking at focused professional practice evaluations.

Roadblock #3: Lack of Administrative Communication

Making time for a check point on the front end can be helpful in building professional relationships. Within the first week of practice, the new physician should have a formal checkpoint to address any concerns about their responsibilities and to ensure they are knowledgeable of facility resources. Continue with checkpoints at least every 30 days for the next six months to one year. Administrators can use this time to encourage the physicians to engage with management and colleagues.

Roadblock # 4: Physician Integration

Everyone needs support when getting acclimated to a new environment – especially new physicians. Providing a mentor to new physicians can also greatly accelerate their integration. Experienced colleagues can serve as a resource for advice and guidance while new staff adjust to the medical staff, administration, and facilities

It’s also a good idea to have mentors attend the formal checkpoints. They can provide input and feedback into the new physician’s development and progress, allowing them to realign their goals and efforts.

As you can see, now is the time to optimize your onboarding process so you can weather the growing physician shortage and rising rate of retiring physicians. How to help new medical staff accelerate their integration? Developing an onboarding process that allows new medical staff to grow into their responsibilities is critical.

The bottom-line: Developing an accelerated onboarding process cannot be overlooked in giving your facility a strategic advantage for retaining talent. One way to accomplish this is by reviewing two of the most time-consuming onboarding steps – credentialing and payor enrollment. Why not maximize your return on investment with credentialing and payor enrollment solutions by symplr? We offer enterprise-grade support, allowing users to streamline their credentialing and enrollment for optimal efficiency. To learn more about symplr’s credentialing and payor solutions, Schedule a Demo now!

For more information on improving the onboarding process, listen to our webcast titled, Best Practices of Provider Onboarding, by Anthony D. Begando of Tenon Consulting. Anthony founded Tenon Consulting in 2002 to develop and operate large scale credentialing, privileging, and licensing centers for the most complex health systems in the U.S.

Provider Credentialing from symplr

[1] “Physician Turnover Hits New High as Housing and Stock Markets Recover”. Cejka Search. http://www.cejkasearch.com/news/physician-turnover-hits-new-high-as-housing-and-stock-markets-recover/

[2] “Physician Supply and Demand Through 2025”. Association of American Medical Colleges. https://www.aamc.org/download/426260/data/physiciansupplyanddemandthrough2025keyfindings.pdf

[3] Sarah T. and Harry G. “Deloitte Survey of US Physicians”. Deloitte. http://www.bartonassociates.com/2014/01/06/get-the-facts-the-physician-shortage/


Anthony D. Begando

About the Author
Anthony D. Begando

In 2002, Anthony founded Tenon Consulting to provide operational formation and development consulting services to healthcare, biotech, financial services, and public sector organizations. Over the last 14 years, Tenon has developed a niche competency in designing, developing, and operating large-scale credentialing, privileging, and licensing centers for some of the most complex health systems in the United States. In 2008, the firm founded Military Credentialing Solutions, Inc. (MCS)—an award-winning business that transformed DoD credentialing and privileging practices.

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