Best Practices for Developing Your Hospital's Onboarding Program

By: curativetalent

In today's rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, attracting and retaining top talent is more critical than ever. A well-executed onboarding process is essential for setting new physician hires up for success, ensuring they feel supported and integrated into their new roles from day one. A comprehensive onboarding process not only promotes physician satisfaction and reduces turnover rates, but it also contributes to improved patient care and overall organizational performance.

In this blog, we will explore the key components of developing an effective onboarding process for physician hires. As we dive deeper into each of these elements, we will provide practical strategies and best practices to help your organization create a comprehensive and effective onboarding process that sets both new hires and your healthcare facility up for long-term success. 

Preparing for the Onboarding Process

Before welcoming new physicians to your organization, it's crucial to have a comprehensive onboarding plan in place. This plan should include: 

  • An overview of the onboarding process timeline, detailing key milestones and expectations. 
  • A designated onboarding coordinator, responsible for overseeing and managing the process. This individual should have a deep understanding of your organization's culture, policies, and procedures, and should possess strong communication and organizational skills. The onboarding coordinator will serve as the primary point of contact for new hires, providing guidance and support as they transition into their new roles.
  • A clear communication plan, ensuring that new hires receive timely and relevant information throughout the onboarding process.

    By having a well-prepared onboarding plan, your healthcare facility can minimize the risk of confusion or miscommunication, and set the stage for a successful integration.

Developing a Strong Orientation Program

An effective orientation program is the cornerstone of any successful onboarding process. This program should be designed to: 

  • Introduce new hires to the organization's mission, vision, and values. 
  • Familiarize them with the facility's policies, procedures, and expectations (Patient privacy and confidentiality, documentation and billing protocols, etc.)
  • Provide an overview of the technology platforms and systems they'll be using in their daily practice, such as the EHR system, practice management software, and telehealth platforms.
  • Offer opportunities for new hires to engage with their colleagues and begin building relationships. This can also be done via a mentor or buddy system, pairing new physicians with experienced colleagues who can offer guidance and support.

Taking mind of these key components will help your organization help new physician hires feel well-equipped, confident, and supported as they transition into their new roles.

Ensuring Compliance with Regulatory Requirements

One of the critical aspects of onboarding new physician hires is ensuring that they are compliant with all relevant regulations and credentialing processes. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in legal and regulatory risks for both the new hire and the organization. Consider implementing the following strategies:

  • Streamline the credentialing process by using a centralized, electronic platform. Maintaining a system for tracking and monitoring the status of credentialing applications will allow for timely intervention and resolution of any issues that may arise
  • Develop a checklist of required documentation and credentials, such as medical licenses, board certifications, malpractice insurance, and references, to guide new hires through the process.
  • Coordinate with the medical staff office to ensure timely and accurate processing of all required documentation. 
  • Provide new hires with regular updates regarding their credentialing status, ensuring that they are aware of any outstanding requirements.
  • Establish a process for evaluating new hires' compliance with regulatory requirements throughout the onboarding process, including conducting regular audits of documentation and credentialing information to ensure accuracy and completeness or check-ins with new hires to address any questions or concerns regarding compliance.

Your hospital can minimize potential risks and ensure that new physicians are well-prepared to practice medicine in a safe and compliant manner by prioritizing regulatory compliance during the onboarding process.

Customizing Onboarding to Fit Individual Needs

Recognizing that no two physicians are the same, it's essential to tailor the onboarding process to fit the unique needs and preferences of each new hire. A personalized approach to onboarding can help new physicians feel valued and supported, fostering a positive and productive work environment.

  • Create customized orientation schedules that cater to the specific learning needs and preferences of each new hire. This can involve identifying the most relevant training sessions and workshops based on the new hire's specialty, experience level, and areas of interest.
  • Schedule regular check-ins with new hires throughout the onboarding process to assess their progress, address any concerns, and provide personalized support. These check-ins may include one-on-one meetings with the onboarding coordinator or supervisor to discuss the new hire's challenges and goals, or more informal touchpoints, such as a phone call, to encourage support and guidance.
  • Encourage new physicians to pursue professional development opportunities tailored to their specific interests and career goals, including research projects, quality improvement initiatives, or leadership roles within the organization.

Understanding how to cater and attend to the needs of each new physician hire will allow your staff to implement a level of personalization that will help foster trust and goodwill and provide a strong head start in the relationship with your employee.

Assessing and Improving the Onboarding Process

An effective onboarding process requires continuous evaluation and improvement to ensure it remains relevant, efficient, and successful in integrating new physician hires. By regularly assessing the process and making necessary adjustments, your organization can adapt to the changing needs of new hires, promote a positive work environment, and ultimately, improve overall organizational performance.

  • Conduct anonymous surveys or questionnaires at various stages of the onboarding process, asking new hires to share their experiences, challenges, and suggestions for improvement. One of the most valuable sources of information for improving your onboarding process is feedback from the new physicians themselves!
  • Evaluate Key Performance Metrics. Regularly review key performance metrics related to the onboarding process to identify trends, challenges, and areas for improvement, including time to complete the credentialing process, new hire satisfaction ratings, and retention rates and turnover within the first year of employment.
  • Engage key stakeholders, such as HR professionals, department heads, and medical staff leaders, in the ongoing assessment and improvement of the onboarding process. Sharing best practices and discussing areas of improvement

By continually assessing and improving the onboarding process, you’ll be able ensure that new physician hires receive the support and resources they need to excel in their roles.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Good Onboarding

The best physician onboarding begins with a disciplined plan to integrate new physicians into existing cultures. How you help get a physician started makes a significant difference in long-term physician satisfaction, enhanced performance, and retention. Onboarding presents a crucial chance for employers to capture the loyalty and commitment of fresh hires. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good onboarding process it’s a critical juncture where you and your team can leave a lasting impact on new employees throughout their time at your hospital!