How to drop physician turnover by 40%: Report

The United States will face a shortage of 3.2 million healthcare workers by 2026 and a shortage of 139,000 physicians by 2033, according to a U.S. Surgeon General report, and 63 percent of physicians report being burned out, according to an AMA report published April 6.

Retention has never been more important.

Here are 10 recommendations to reduce physician and physician executive turnover by 30 to 40 percent, according to the "MGMA DataDive Provider Compensation" report:

1. Create a physician retention committee.

2. For groups with 100 physicians or more, the committee should be six to 10 physicians, including the organization's head of physician recruitment and retention. For smaller organizations, the committee should be four to six physicians and the organization's recruitment leader.

3. Including nonphysician administrators or executives can hurt the committee's credibility among physicians.

4. Determine how many physicians are leaving both voluntarily and involuntarily, excluding temporary, interim and locum tenens positions.

5. Determine the reasons physicians leave voluntarily, which can be accomplished with two strategies: well-documented and blinded exit interviews, and surveys sent to those who left in the past year.

6. Review all involuntary terminations to look for issues that may have been overlooked during the hiring process. Results should be blinded before sharing with the committee.

7. Create and send a survey to all physicians in the organization regarding their current feelings about practicing in the organization. The survey should ask physicians:

  • What one or two issues create the highest level of dissatisfaction in practicing with us?
  • What one or two things are responsible for your highest level of satisfaction?
  • What one or two issues would cause you to leave for another opportunity?

8. Group results by category through the retention committee, and address each category individually with recommendations for improvements.

9. Develop a findings report and present to senior leadership, including the CEO, COO, CMO, CFO and CHRO. Leave the report with recommendations for attendees to review, and schedule a second meeting for the following week, with expectations that each category will be discussed and addressed.

10. Compile the results and recommendations into a report. Present it to the medical staff, and prepare for a large turnout.

The process overall will likely take three to four months to complete.

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