SUCCEEDING AT RECRUITING AND RETAINING PHYSICIANS<br />Most of the time, the part of Physician Recruiting that is most visible is the Interview, follow-up, decision and contract. But the real work, the Sweat-Equity, that pays off in the Success of the Interview happens behind the scenes in the preparation, sourcing and screening before you ever have a Physician to interview.<br />Understanding the marketplace is the key first step in Recruiting new Physicians for your hospital or group. Many times hiring managers tell us Recruiters, “Just get us the physician to interview, and we’ll take care of the rest.” I always cringe when hear that, because that means our client or potential client does not understand the current marketplace and the best use of Recruiters. Just getting a doctor to interview may be the toughest challenge you will face.<br />The first step to understanding the market is to understand Supply and Demand. This is the toughest Physician Recruiting Market in literally decades. Our population is aging at an increasing rate, with Baby Boomers retiring and accessing more healthcare than ever before. Our overall population is growing at a whopping 24% rate, putting more stress on an already overburdened healthcare system. While at the same time, our nation’s residency program has continued to deliver the same number of graduates year after year. We haven’t increased our physician numbers is more than 20 years. And just as our population is aging, so are our physicians, with fully one third age 55 or older. <br />Projections of a looming U.S. physician shortage are expected to peak by the year 2020,with the shortage expected to range from 85,000 to 200,000 – American Medical Association <br /> Female physicians are now a large part of the market (in 2010 females are expected to comprise 33% of all doctors) and are in demand in primary care positions. However, female physicians usually have two jobs – that of mother and often head of household, as well as physician. This impacts the number of hours she can devote to patient care. Going forward Primary Care will either be done by female physicians or International Medical Graduates (IMGs).<br />IMGs are the top of their population. They must be tested extensively to enter US Residency programs. Most are excellent physicians. About 37% of all Internal Medicine physicians coming out of residency are IMGs. <br />So, limit your search by age, and you eliminate one third of the viable physicians in the market. Again, gender bias, and bias against IMGs whittle your candidate pool to virtually nil. Re-think your requirements and put them in writing, and do your search based on thorough knowledge of the physician marketplace.<br />The Key Issue facing our healthcare system is not the flu, or a pandemic or even bio-terrorism, it’s the lack of physicians. There are just not enough to go around. So, if you want to hire physicians for your hospital or group, you are going to have to get creative.<br />Nothing happens in our healthcare system without the Doctor. He examines the patient, writes the prescriptions, orders tests, admits patients to the hospital and more. Without doctors, hospitals would simply be over priced hotels with bad food.<br />Now that you understand the national physician shortage, take a look a why you have openings. Retention is the basic issue in recruiting new physicians. Why are your physicians leaving? Are your openings simply a result of growth, or do you have a retention problem? Are peer physicians highly though of?<br />You attract physicians the same way you retain them.<br />In order to retain physicians, your facility needs to be efficient, communication needs to be open, the physician and staff need to be remunerated effectively, and the overall work environment should be as appealing as possible. <br />As recruiters we can tell you that physicians are not pulled from their practice, they are pushed. <br />Your retention plan should include:<br /><ul><li>Communication, both formal and informal – critical component
Physician employment. Physicians tell us they don’t want to have to worry about running the business.
Practice Marketing $3,000</li></ul>TOTAL $496,000<br />Industry statistics tell us that the same cardiologist will earn for the hospital $2,662,600 each year. <br />It just makes sense to retain the physicians you have in place. Responsiveness is the key to keeping doctors and getting new doctors to understand and feel you want them to come to your community.<br />Now, let’s get on to the business of recruiting that new doctor for your hospital or group. This is a Sales process. So, what are you selling?<br />Hours, Pay, Policies<br />Physicians want to know:<br /><ul><li>Hours/coverage
Community Analysis</li></ul>Recruiters know that Doctors don’t move for money, they move for a way of life.<br />As a professional recruiter, I am disappointed when we are referred to as “Headhunters.” We are really “Career Advisors” and “Matchmakers.” And in order to effectively do our jobs in recruiting physicians for our hospital and group clients, we must be a full partner on the Recruiting Team. If we don’t know what the contract entails, we don’t know what we’re selling. We are the sales people out there combing our databases and all our contacts, talking to dozens of potential matches, sourcing your ideal candidate. Working with an incomplete sales package will cause us to overlook or lose exceptional candidates. When we find a potential match, we have to be prepared with the answers to all these questions our candidates have. We have to be able to sell the opportunity. In order to do that, we spend hours building trust with the doctors, understanding their needs and wants and making certain that we have the right physician for the opportunity.<br />Our goal is to bring you a fully vetted physician, who understands the opportunity and it is a down the line match for the professional and personal lifestyle he or she wants and your practice offers. By the time you get to them, they should have had their questions answered, you have a full dossier on them in hand, and you can begin the process of getting to know one another. <br />When you interview a physician, it should be with confirmation in mind, not explanation. We have found that multiple interviews don’t work. You should plan on one interview with the physician and spouse. If you like them, don’t shop around. If you like them, be prepared to make them an offer within forty eight hours after the interview. If they don’t hear from you in that time frame, doubt begins to creep in. The doctor starts to think “maybe, they don’t like me.” Then, they start looking around for reassurance, reasons they didn’t want your opportunity anyway and other opportunities. They think “they didn’t care enough about me to make sure I got home, OK.” Then, even if you decide that you want to offer, at that point the potential exists that they will turn you down.<br />So, let’s sum up the process. <br /><ul><li>Get your recruiting team in place
Make sure everyone understands the marketplace
Make sure your house is in order and you have a viable retention plan with open communication