The Critical First Year
It’s no secret that recruiting physicians in today’s competitive environment requires a significant investment of resources – time, money, and energy. When you sign the ideal candidate, however, your work is not done. Even more important than recruiting a new doctor is retaining him or her for the long haul. Here’s how to protect your investment by staying engaged with new physicians during the critical first year.
Deliver a gracious welcome. A newly recruited physician should know the moment he or she steps through your door on day one that you’re happy they are there and that you’ve been preparing for this day. A welcome breakfast is a nice touch, and if you want to go the extra mile, have flowers delivered (yes, even to a male doctor) on the morning of their first day on the job, and have a gourmet basket waiting for them when they arrive home that afternoon. On a practical level, make sure the doctor’s office and exam rooms are ready, that they have a security badge and parking permit, and that they have someone to go to with questions during those confusing first days on the job.
Provide orientation. A new doctor will likely be chomping at the bit to start seeing patients, and you’ll no doubt be just as anxious to have that happen. But taking the time to provide a proper orientation pays off. Depending on the size and complexity of your organization and the physician’s specialty, an orientation may take only a half-day, or last for several days. Don’t make the mistake of overwhelming the very doctor you spent so much energy on to recruit by saying, “Here’s your office, there’s your medical assistant, good luck,” and hoping somehow everything will work out.
Review expectations. The physician who begins work in August may have signed a contract last December. Even though expectations were made clear during the interview process, review everything again – clinic hours, patient load, call, referral policies, and so forth. Taking the time to have this conversation helps avoid the, “But, I didn’t know,” discussion down the road.
Assign a mentor. Taking into account the personalities and interests of both doctors, assign a senior physician to mentor each doctor you recruit. Let mentor and mentee work out for themselves how the relationship unfolds. In some cases, the mentor will advise a new doctor mostly around clinical and operational matters, but don’t be surprised to see genuine friendships develop.
Have a check-in meeting. At the end of week two, schedule lunch with the new doctor and a few others who are in positions to listen and provide resolution to any problem that may have cropped up. The group might include the doctor’s mentor, the CEO, medical director, practice administrator, or some combination thereof. Go beyond just asking “how it’s going?” Dig into details by posing questions such as: 1. How’s the patient load? 2. Any issues with your colleagues? 3. How are things going with your medical assistant? 4. Any issues with the computer system that you’re unclear about? 5. Do you have the supplies and equipment you need? If there is any sign of trouble brewing, this is the time to find out about it – not in six or nine months when it may be too late. (Note: Repeat this process about once a quarter throughout the critical first year.)
Find out how the family is doing. If your new physician has a family (spouse, children, aging parents, the world’s best dog), make an effort to find out how everyone is doing since relocating. The person best suited for this job may be the individual who was most involved in the recruiting process. Within reason, do what you can to make the family feel welcome and integrated into the community. This might include making business introductions, hosting a dinner party to connect the couple with potential new friends, or simply checking in by phone occasionally.
Keep an eye on production. Assuming you have the patient volume to keep a new physician busy, he or she should be up to speed in terms of meeting productivity goals within six months, give or take. At that point, if the numbers are not where you think they should be, open a dialogue about what the cause might be, and look for solutions. That said, if a highly skilled, dependable, and well-liked family physician is seeing 22 patients a day instead of the 24 that you’d hoped for, don’t turn it into a point of contention. Allowing for reasonable variances from doctor to doctor is usually a smart business move. In other words, don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.
Placements & Interviews
Placement Data by Specialty
This data represents average statistics of placements and interviews by Delta Physician Placement over the twelve-month survey period. Since these averages only include placements and interviews, the compensation information presented indicates the rate at which candidates are choosing to interview or sign. Average days information can be used to forecast a probable timeline for a recruitment effort in a particular specialty.
|Average Compensation||Average Days|
|Starting Compensation||Sign-on Bonus||Total Annual Compensation||From Interview to Placement||Total Placements||Fastest Days-to-Fill|
|Oncology ||$376,618 ||$35,767 ||$415,816 ||43 ||108 ||38 |
Placements by Population
Placement Statistics by Specialty Grouping
|Primary Care||Sugery||Sub-Specialty||Hospital Based|
|Offered Salary (no guarantee)||84%||70%||76%||75%|
Nationwide Search Distribution
Specialty Demand Comparison
|2nd Quarter 2011||2nd Quarter 2010|
|1.||Family Medicine ||Family Medicine|
|2.||Internal Medicine||Internal Medicine|
|5.||Emergency Medicine||Emergency Medicine|
|11.||Hospitalist||Pulmonary Critical Care|
|13.||Pulmonary Critical Care||ENT|
Search Specialty Distribution
|Top 5 States Providers Have |
Taken New Opportunities
|Specialty||Number of Days|
Nationwide Physician Distribution
|Lowest Average |
to Close Credentialing
|Number of Days||Highest Average |
to Close Credentialing
|Number of Days|
to complete a file