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6 Physician Retention Strategies

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, June 6, 2011

Stovall went to the CFO to get a better understanding of how much the organization was budgeting for turnover, "Because it's never zero. There are always people leaving or retiring. But we weren't budgeting for it."

A quick show of the math and Stovall had their attention, "I explained that if we lower[ed] our turnover rate by just one percent, we [would] save nearly a half a million dollars."

Stovall's initial estimate of the losses due to turnover ended up being a conservative one. After calculating the recruiting and on boarding costs, the organization looked at benchmark data and also calculated the downstream revenue lost when a physician left the organization. The result, an estimated $1 million per physician was lost with each doctor's departure, Stovall says.

"It just made sense to budget for and invest in retention in order to reduce our turnover," says Stovall. So they set aside approximately $100,000 for a retention program—or approximately $300 per physician. Since doing so, they've seen their turnover rate drop to just 4% and hold steady for several years.

Six strategies that both Stovall and Schutte agree help keep turnover low include:

  1. Mentoring: The cost of adding a mentoring program for an organization is generally low, as most organizations don't compensate their staff for this duty. The return on investment in terms of retention, however, can be great.

    According to a Cejka Search survey, organizations that use this retention strategy see their turnover drop approximately 1%. "That may sound small, until you do the math," notes Stovall. His organization added a mentoring program, and it cost them nothing to do so.
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1 comments on "6 Physician Retention Strategies"


Francine Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE (6/10/2011 at 6:48 PM)
I appreciate the comprehensive approach organizations are taking to retaining physicians. As an executive coach for physicians I especially relate to the impact physician leadership and related collegiality-building programs have on physician engagement. Recently I led a workshop for physicians, introducing them to coaching skills to use with each other. For many it was the first time they'd had an opportunity to truly listen and get to know their colleagues[INVALID]after years of working together. Empowering, high touch, low tech, and[INVALID]as noted in the article[INVALID]-much lower cost than losing a good doctor.