5 Strategies to Improve Physician Retention

How Healthcare Organizations Can Keep Their Employees Happy

By: curativetalent

As we’ve previously covered, the Great Resignation has seen physicians and other healthcare providers leaving the field in droves ⁠–⁠ in fact, in 2022 alone, almost 1.7 million people have quit their healthcare jobs, and one in five physicians say they’re likely to leave their current practice within two years. The financial implications of this turnover is staggering; according to a new American Medical Association-backed study, turnover among primary care physicians costs $979 million annually, a figure that is significantly multiplied with more in-demand specialties. Other studies have shown that replacing a physician often costs a practice two to three times the annual salary of the physician who left.

Given these financial implications, leaders at hospitals and healthcare systems are racing to blunt current attrition rates and survive healthcare’s Great Resignation. Let’s examine five strategies healthcare organizations can start leveraging to mitigate current conditions.

1. Survey Your Physicians to Understand What They Really Want

Physician engagement and satisfaction surveys can help your healthcare organization get a pulse on how your employees feel about their employer, and in turn, better identify areas for improvement and growth. Keep in mind that it’s just as important to hold your facility accountable to those survey results, and develop strategies and plans of action to address institutional weaknesses.

2. Leverage Digital Tools to Address Workforce Pain Points

Documentation, among other administrative tasks, can be burdensome for a physician. In fact, physicians often spend more time documenting than they do seeing their patients, resulting in poor care experiences and stunted patient-provider relationships. Although physicians will continue to be overloaded with growing patient demands and administrative tasks, there are technologies and tools available to help reduce physician burnout and digitize workflows. Hospitals have begun to adopt a host of technology innovations to address pain points hindering doctors across the country. For example, Providence St. Joseph Health is piloting an AI-powered virtual physician assistant platform so their physicians spend less time charting and more time with their patients. An extensive list of technology healthcare tools can be found here.

3. Create a Culture of Open Communication

To develop long-term relationships that work for both the physician and the practice, there needs to be open communication. Good communication contributes to a sense of the physician feeling valued, more satisfied and motivated. A collaborative practice culture also keeps you fully informed about your organization and employees. These communication sessions are a valuable opportunity to identify and fix any issues before they become more serious. There are many ways to encourage dialogue, including: 

  • Scheduled one-on-one meetings with mentors to discuss performance and growth opportunities
  • Group forums to discuss higher-level practice-related topics.
  • Regular contact with the physician’s immediate manager to prevent small issues from escalating and to provide clear, honest feedback.

4. Get Creative With Physician Benefits

While compensation is certainly top-of-mind for many physicians, relying on money as the primary driver to keep your employees happy is no longer a sound strategy. Understanding how to reimagine physician reward packages by leaning into work-life balance, flexibility, education reimbursement, and enhanced leave will help develop goodwill with your workforce and increase employee satisfaction.

5. Utilizing Locum Tenens to Promote Physician Well-Being

Given the growing shortage of physicians in the United States and the mounting backlog of cases caused by COVID-19, burnout continues to plague the physician workforce. By leveraging the use of locum tenens physicians, particularly during peak periods, healthcare organizations can reduce the burden of their permanent physician hires while maintaining continuity of care. Ultimately, this contributes to a much healthier work-life balance for your physicians, prevents loss of revenue for your organization, and reduces the potential of your workforce from experiencing burnout.

If you want to learn more about how locum tenens can help your organization improve retention with your current physician employees and alleviate physician burnout, simply fill out the form below, and one of our representatives will get in touch with you.

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