When facing any predicament, it often helps to dig deeper into the core issues at hand. In regards to waning physician retention, getting to the root of the matter involves identifying the underlying reasons physicians leave. Acknowledging the various needs of providers is of utmost importance, so you’re well-informed on how to enhance job satisfaction and thus reduce the costs involved in hiring and training new staff.
That last point cannot be ignored. How much of a financial burden is on the table?
According to an article by Lola Butcher in Trustee magazine, estimates to replace a physician—one physician—including recruitment and training runs between $500,000 and $1 million.
What other improvements could be made to your health system if your budget didn’t have to allow for fleeing physicians? The possibilities abound.
How much of a financial burden is on the table?
While profit-loss assessment is at the top of the C-suite’s minds at all times, the mission of a health system is to protect and preserve patients’ health. Positively engaging with physicians and wholly supporting their very important work not only safeguards your bottom line, but it also becomes the foundation for truly advancing health.
Both considerations will be prominent topics discussed at this year’s Healthcare Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit (HMPSS). A key part of the summit will focus on physician engagement and how to solve today’s most urgent physician relationship—and physician retention—challenges.
Retention: An Engagement Issue
A yearly report released by B.E. Smith entitled “Top 12 Healthcare Trends For 2018” states that “retention is clearly linked to positive engagement.” The problem is, there’s an incongruity between administration’s view of engagement—68 percent agree or strongly agree that staff is “actively engaged”—and physicians’ viewpoint, with only 56 percent saying the same.
This is surprising, because there’s no better time in history than now to connect with physicians. In fact, the digital world has allowed us to be hyperconnected.
The most effective means to interact with internal staff is literally right at your fingertips: email. Unfortunately, many hospital marketers aren’t using email the right way. Typically, two main reasons constitute misguidance.
1) Relying on old, inaccurate data.
You might think your hospital’s staff contact list is just fine for relaying important information internally. However, do you know when was it last updated? Are you still emailing physicians who may have already left the health system but not the newest cardiac surgeon to come on board?
Many of these internal email lists are also constructed to only include the hospital-provided email address, which is not necessarily a physician’s preferred email address. In fact, many docs would rather receive essential info to their personal inboxes. On the other hand, when you invest in a high-quality email database, the accuracy legwork is already completed. No guessing, no missteps. And, it’s updated daily.
2) Not utilizing email to its full potential.
A comprehensive email list that contains detailed data on individual physicians allows you to be physician-level specific with your communications. Consistent one-on-one interactions encourage physicians to express personal (and personnel) frustrations or department headaches before it all becomes too overwhelming and they just quit. Email is convenient for docs to respond to on their time—yet also lends itself to immediacy—making it the best conversation starter. Ultimately, regular email conversations convey “the door is always open.”
When you have the proper email pieces in place, and you empower email as your go-to means of correspondence, each deployment yields optimal deliverability, improved engagement, and enriched hospital-physician relationships.
Remember, physicians already love email—you don’t have to convince them of its value. Make sure you retain the love by respecting their preferences and investing in their futures as a part of your health system.
My team and I will be attending at HMPSS all three days, so if you have questions on this topic, make sure to stop by the DMD booth, #88.