4 Ways Telehealth Can Impact Physician Recruitment

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Some of your patients no longer want to see you…at least, not in person. The pandemic may have initially forced the widespread adoption of telehealth, but patients and providers alike have continued to enjoy its benefits. In April of 2020, telehealth usage in the US was 78 times higher than it had been prior to March of 2020. More than two years later, telehealth usage has settled at a level that is still 38 times greater than it was pre-pandemic. Now, organizations are grappling with the many ways demand for telehealth might impact the traditional healthcare delivery model–including what it might mean for physician recruitment.  

Is Telehealth Here to Stay?

The demand for telehealth is unlikely to decrease. Patients are thrilled with the time savings, and in many cases, they feel the overall telehealth experience is equal to or better than the experience of seeing a provider in person. A recent survey from a virtual care provider found 58% of clinicians said they expect virtual primary care visits to exceed in-person visits within the next five years, a prediction that bodes well for the nearly two-thirds of clinician respondents who said telehealth suits their lifestyles better than in-person care. 

Despite the overwhelming popularity and undeniable benefits of telehealth, its future remains uncertain due to the still-temporary waivers allowing providers to treat patients across state lines. It’s also not clear if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will continue to reimburse telehealth appointments at the same rate as in-person visits long-term. 

That said, the success of telehealth in expanding access to healthcare, coupled with the high patient demand make it unlikely that telehealth is going to fade away. So, if telehealth is here to stay, what impact will it have on physician recruitment? 

1. Telemedicine Training

As healthcare organizations continue to modify care delivery to meet patient needs, it is likely more physician jobs will include some aspect of telemedicine. Medical schools are developing curriculum to train students in telemedicine, and professional organizations such as the AMA now offer resources to establish telehealth best practices. 

As organizations look to hire physicians, they will increasingly evaluate if the candidate has adequate training in telemedicine. How is their “webside” manner? Are they comfortable navigating telehealth technology and diagnosing via screens? The weight of these questions certainly depends on how big of role telemedicine will play in the physician’s job, but organizations will likely place increasing importance on telemedicine training.

In a 2021 MGMA Stat poll, just 15% of medical practices said their clinicians are trained in “webside” manner for virtual visits. One would expect this percentage to increase considerably in the coming years as more and more programs become available to enhance competencies in this critical area.  

2. Telehealth as a Recruiting Tool

Despite the way many were forced into practicing telemedicine, some physicians felt the benefits right away and even developed a preference for it. In the aforementioned survey, two out of three respondents said they prefer virtual-only or hybrid work. In a Jackson Physician Search whitepaper exploring the impact of COVID on the physician job market, physician recruitment leaders noted an increase in physicians seeking jobs that would allow them to practice telemedicine full or part-time. For this reason, telehealth can serve organizations as a powerful recruiting tool. 

Anecdotal evidence suggests physician job ads referencing telehealth in the title receive more interest than those without, so if the role you are hiring for will require or allow for the physician to practice telemedicine, make sure to feature it prominently in the job ad. Be sure to ask your candidates about their interest in telehealth, and if it is of particular interest to them, aim to include some number of telehealth days per week into the offer.    

3. Telehealth in Physician Onboarding 

Organizations will increasingly aim to find physician candidates with training in the practice of telemedicine, but even if they do, these new hires will still need to be trained on the organization’s telehealth technology and protocols. Thus, at the organizational level, telehealth training will become an essential part of physician onboarding

Incorporating telehealth training into the onboarding process will ensure providers have a complete understanding of the technology, processes, and expectations regarding telehealth at the organization. With so much to cover, organizations must consider which department will own this step of the onboarding process. Someone from the IT department may need to spend time with new hires going over the technology, while a manager or other physician leader will be tasked with going over protocols related to patient care. The method will vary by organization, but telehealth training must be added to the physician onboarding checklist. 

4. Telehealth Options as a Benefit

Once a perk primarily for cubicle-dwellers, telehealth makes remote work possible for physicians and other healthcare providers. With physician burnout an ongoing industry concern, allowing physicians the chance to work from home–at least some of the time–may help them find a better work-life balance and improve physician job satisfaction, resulting in higher physician retention rates. 

A June 2022 MGMA Stat Poll asked practice managers if they had added employee benefits in 2022, and if so, which ones. Nearly half of the poll respondents said they had expanded benefits in an effort to retain and attract talent, and among the top ten benefits added was the ability to work remotely. 

Telehealth is here to stay and will continue to change healthcare delivery models in a number of ways. The full impact of telehealth on physician recruitment is still unknown, but the four points discussed here are worth considering as you develop your physician recruitment plan. If you need help thinking through the best way to leverage telehealth as a recruiting tool, a Jackson Physician Search Recruitment Consultant would be happy to advise. Contact us today

 

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Jackson Physician Search Recruiter Lands an Addiction Medicine Physician in Just 54 Days for Medical Group

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For independent physician groups, physician recruitment can be especially challenging. Private practices are increasingly being acquired or are merging with other groups. These larger healthcare organizations have greater resources to recruit, including in-house recruitment teams in many cases. For those practices that remain independent, they often find themselves competing with larger healthcare organizations for both patients and talent.

This is exactly where a small addiction medicine group in Canton, Ohio found themselves as they entered 2022. They were in need of an additional addiction medicine physician, but they knew they didn’t have the internal resources to focus on recruitment. Fortunately, Jackson Physician Search Recruiter Nathan Collier was happy to assist. Little did he know, the small client in Ohio would prove to be a model client, one for whom he would find a physician in just 54 days. 

Understanding the Importance of Flexibility and Work-Life Balance

The client had a clear idea of who they wanted to hire, but they also understood the need to be flexible. Ideally, they wanted a family medicine physician already certified in addiction medicine, but they were open to hiring someone without the certification, as long as they agreed to get it within their first year of employment. The client was also flexible about the physician’s schedule. The physician could dictate which days they would spend at each location. 

Nathan knew the more flexibility they could offer, the more attractive the opportunity would be, so he asked them to consider a four-day workweek. After Nathan shared survey data about the increasing impact of work-life balance on physician job satisfaction, the client agreed. They were willing to do whatever they could to increase the chances of finding the right physician quickly. 

Nathan crafted the job ad, focusing on the position’s flexibility and highlighting the group’s mission. He posted the physician job ad to a broad network of job boards and also sent it by email to relevant physicians in the JPS database of engaged physicians. Shortly after the email went out, Nathan received an inquiry from Dr. M, a family medicine physician in Tennessee who was open to relocation. Nathan picked up the phone to call her immediately, and the two connected right away.

A Physician Looking for a Fresh Start

From the first conversation, Nathan was impressed by Dr. M’s positivity. She was excited about the opportunity and expressed a level of interest he had not seen in other candidates.  

Though Dr. M was not currently working in addiction medicine, she was drawn to the organization’s mission and expressed a desire to get the certification. The issue was one that was close to her heart. The four-day workweek was also appealing, as was the idea of moving to a new location. She and her fiance, along with her two children, were eager to learn more.

Nathan was impressed and knew the client would be too. He presented her to the client within 48 hours. They scheduled a call, which went predictably well. In a matter of weeks, Dr. M and her fiance were flying to Canton for the on-site interview.

Family-Focused Physician Interview

Many organizations will roll out the red carpet for candidates when they come for on-site physician interviews, however, Nathan advises clients to leverage what they know about the candidate to impress them on a personal level. It’s not only welcome baskets and fancy dinners, but rather, speaking to the candidate’s interests and showing them how they specifically might be a cultural fit with the organization and the community. 

For Dr. M, this meant showing her fiance potential spots for him to relocate his small business and talking him through some of the details involved with starting a business in Canton. It also meant a tour of the Football Hall of Fame, something the client knew would mean a lot to Dr. M and her football-loving family.   

“The client went above and beyond,” said Nathan. “I wish all of my clients would put as much effort into recruiting the whole family.”

The effort worked. Dr. M and her fiance left feeling like they’d found their next home. Within the week, Dr. M had received an offer.

Flexibility and Family-Focused Recruitment for the Win

After some negotiating, Dr. M accepted the offer. It wasn’t the highest one she received, but her connection to the mission brought value that the other opportunities couldn’t match. This, coupled with the support of her fiance and her children, was everything she needed to feel confident accepting the offer.   

Nathan was thrilled to not only help Dr. M fulfill her purpose, but also, to bring such a strong cultural fit to his client–in a remarkable 54-day timeline. Nathan attributes the initial success to the job ad, which highlighted the flexible schedule. Once the job ad drew in Dr. M, the client’s family-focused recruitment efforts earned the support of Dr. M’s fiance, and by extension, her kids too. And of course, Dr. M’s strong connection to the mission was a result of the client’s ability to demonstrate their values in a way that connected with Dr. M.

It’s not magic nor is it luck. This client listened to Nathan’s advice and did everything possible to create their own positive outcome. From being open to Nathan’s expertise on how the position could be structured, to their above-and-beyond on-site interview efforts, to the way they exemplified their mission and culture–this was the model client, and they got the results they deserved. 

If your organization needs assistance recruiting physicians or advanced practice providers to support your team, Jackson Physician Search can share our expertise and set you up for success. Contact us today

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How to Retain Physicians Through Medical Practice Mergers and Acquisitions

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News of the acquisition didn’t come as a surprise to Dr. K. He had suspected the practice was in trouble, and yet, it didn’t make the new reality any easier to accept. So much for his fast track to becoming a partner, he thought. All the reasons he had for choosing an independent practice–autonomy, a voice in decision-making, limitless earning potential–he feared was at risk of disappearing. Would he be just another cog in the wheel at the new healthcare organization? Everything was about to change, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to stick around to see how it would all work out.  

Dr. K’s fears are valid. His professional life is changing, and the uncertainties surrounding that change have incited thoughts of leaving. How can his managers and other healthcare leaders calm his fears? With physician turnover already on the rise, it’s essential that healthcare organizations retain physicians if they hope to preserve continuity of care and ensure a successful merger or acquisition. So, what can leadership do to ease these transitions and avoid physician turnover during times of major changes?   

Practice Consolidation and Physician Employment Increasing

The AMA’s 2020 Physician Practice Benchmark Survey found less than half (49.1%) of patient care physicians are working in a private practice, a drop of almost 5 percentage points from 2018. This was the first time the number of private practice physicians dropped below 50%. For those that remain in private practice, the size of the practice is increasing. According to the survey, 17.2% of physicians were in practices with at least 50 physicians in 2020, up from 14.7% in 2018.

Driving these changes is the fact that private practices are increasingly being acquired by health systems or merging with other practices in order to grow or remain profitable. In a July 2021 MGMA Stat poll, 15% of respondents said their practice had completed an M&A (merger, sale, etc) in the past year. This figure was up from 12% just a year prior.

Private practice consolidation was on the rise well before COVID, but the pandemic certainly accelerated the trend. While growth was the main goal for some, the financial strain caused by shutting down followed by patient hesitancy to return for in-person care proved to be too much for other groups, leaving physicians grappling with major changes. 

Fears About Practice Mergers and Expansion

The fact that physicians are increasingly employed by bigger organizations often goes against what we know about the importance of autonomy and independence to many physicians. In the recent Rural Physician Recruitment and Staffing Survey from Jackson Physician Search, 40% of physicians ranked autonomy as the most important attribute of an employer’s culture. So, it’s understandable that many physicians are initially uncomfortable with mergers and acquisitions that may strip away their independence.

In addition to fears about losing autonomy, physicians may also have concerns about culture clash, learning a new EMR system, changes to patient volume, and differing compensation models that could reduce their income. Whether a practice is being acquired, merging with another practice, or bringing in new physicians, change-related stress is inevitable. Clear communication with physicians is essential to help them navigate the stress and begin to see the changes as opportunities.  

How to Talk to Physicians About Change

Each physician deserves to hear the news of a major change in a one-on-one conversation with their manager or another leader in the organization. Ideally, the conversation takes place in a non-threatening environment. Go for coffee or dinner with each physician and discuss what the future will look like, the reasons for making the change, and what improvements the change will bring to their day-to-day experience of being a doctor. 

This conversation should mark the beginning of an ongoing dialogue in which the physician feels encouraged to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas regarding the implementation of planned changes. If appropriate, ask them to lead or co-lead some aspect of the transition. If the physician’s fears are related to compensation, you may need to dive deeper into the numbers to prove there will indeed continue to be enough patients (and revenue) for every physician at the practice. These conversations require transparency.

Clear Communication is Critical

What does this look like in practice? A 2018 case study from MGMA details the process of two independent practices merging with an established health system. The paper touches on the pros and cons of the merger and takes us through the various stages of integrating the two practices into the health system. While this specific merger was not without its challenges, the author of the study concluded that clear communication was critical throughout every step of the process. 

From the beginning, individual meetings were held to discuss the changes and invite input from incoming physicians on what future processes should look like post-merger. The author stressed that the earlier this type of communication begins, the better. 

The idea of change (rather than specific changes) is the primary driver of physician stress during a merger, so it is critical that leadership is transparent about the changes and proactive about addressing fears that arise as a result. Major transitions are unlikely to be seamless, but if leadership is transparent and willing to incorporate input from physician stakeholders, the organization is more likely to make it to the other side without significant physician turnover.  

If your organization is undergoing major change, it might be time to reevaluate your staffing requirements. Whether you need to bring in a new physician or provide your current team more support with an advanced practice provider, the team at Jackson Physician Search has the expertise to advise and assist. Contact a physician recruiter today to find out how we can help.

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3 Steps to Take Now to Address Future Physician Staffing Shortages

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In the latest annual survey from the American College of Healthcare Executives, health executives ranked “staffing shortages” as their number one concern for the first time since 2004, bumping “financial challenges” from the top spot. It’s not difficult to surmise what may have caused the shift. Perhaps the short-term staffing crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic gave leaders a glimpse of what could happen long-term if provider and physician staffing shortages are not addressed. And compounding the problem, since the start of the pandemic, turnover among healthcare providers has gotten worse, heightening the concerns of healthcare leaders across the nation, and rightfully so. 

In the ACHE survey, the reference to “staffing shortages” encompasses staff of all types. In fact, healthcare executives listed nursing shortages as the most pressing concern. However, fears of the physician shortage are nothing new and remain top of mind. The latest data from the Association of American Medical Colleges projects a shortage of between 37,800 to 124,000 physicians by the year 2034. Thus, it seems staffing shortages at every level are weighing on the minds of healthcare leaders.  

While some circumstances contributing to provider and physician staffing shortages are out of your control, there are steps healthcare leaders can take now to reduce the impact of nationwide physician shortages at their organizations.

Focus on Physician Retention

While your instinct may be to prioritize recruitment strategies in response to potential physician shortages, the first line of defense is to retain your existing staff. Ideally, organizations have a formal physician retention program designed to support physicians, but the reality is that most do not. According to the JPS whitepaper: On the Verge of a Physician Turnover Epidemic, only 5% of employers report having a formal physician retention program. If your organization is among the majority that does not, the following data points may provide a good place to start. 

In a recent Rural Recruitment Survey by Jackson Physician Search and LocumTenens.com, physicians were asked what would make them stay with their employers for the next five years. The overwhelming top response was “increased compensation or bonuses,” followed by “the ability to work part-time or flexible hours.” Bonuses may not be in the budget, but when weighed against the cost of a physician vacancy plus recruitment costs for a single physician, it may be worth it to explore the possibility. 

Flexibility may also seem out of reach, or perhaps it feels counterintuitive to respond to staffing shortages by giving employees the option to decrease their hours. However, by giving employees what they need, you are more likely to retain them, and a part-time physician is better than no physician at all.  

Bonuses and flexible schedules may help retain physicians, but they should be part of a broader physician retention plan that includes a personalized physician onboarding program, ongoing efforts to improve physician job satisfaction, and giving physicians a clear path to increased compensation, bonuses, and leadership opportunities. Offering this type of ongoing support will make you an employer of choice and differentiate you from other organizations.

Takeaway: 

Don’t put so much attention on hiring new employees that you neglect the needs of the ones you already have. Ask questions about what they like or don’t like about their jobs. How could circumstances improve? What would they need to stay on for another year, five years, or even ten?

If you’ve asked the right questions and used a variety of channels–surveys, one-on-ones, small group discussions–you should have a good idea of what your physicians need from you. Now is the time to respond with action. Take steps–even if small–to give employees what they need in order to stay. 

Revisit Medical Staffing Plan

Now that you’re making efforts to retain your current staff, it’s time to think about recruitment. However, first, you must have a clear idea of exactly who, what, and when you need to hire. For this information, you need to revisit (or create) your medical staffing plan

Your medical staffing plan should first consider the projected departures of current staff–that is, the timeline of upcoming physician retirements as well as the number of physicians approaching the average tenure for your organization (and therefore likely to leave). Other known upcoming absences such as parental leave and sabbaticals should also be noted and factored into recruitment needs.  

Of course, your staffing needs don’t stem only from attrition but also from the anticipated growth of your organization. When revisiting the medical staffing plan, look at community needs and organizational goals. How many and what kind of staff will the organization need to meet the demand and hit those targets?

As you gain a clearer picture of who you need to recruit, also consider the potential of your current staff. Who among them may be ready to step into a leadership role? This type of succession planning will help you determine what kind of physicians or advanced practice providers you need to hire. 

Takeaway:

Consider your recruitment needs from every angle by revisiting your medical staffing plan, which should account for projected departures, anticipated growth, internal potential, and changes in care delivery. Leverage this information to outline a recruitment timeline detailing what type of provider you will need to hire and when. 

Identify a Physician Recruitment Partner

The aforementioned steps are fairly straightforward, and yet, effective execution can be challenging–especially when you already have so much on your plate. Now is not the time to just do what you can and hope for the best. If your organization hopes to minimize the impact of future staffing shortages, you need a permanent physician recruitment partner to serve as an extension of your team. A full-service physician recruitment firm can help you create a recruitment timeline based on your medical staffing plan and the market data on time-to- fill for various physician specialties. Recruiters may even have creative alternatives for those positions that seem impossible to fill.     

Takeaway:

Whether you have open positions now or are just starting to consider your future physician staffing needs, it’s time to talk to a recruitment firm and find out how they may be able to help you with your specific situation.  

 

The Jackson Physician Search Recruitment Team has a track record of success at healthcare organizations of all sizes and types throughout the nation. We have four regional offices staffed with recruiters who understand the nuances of the market in your part of the country. Contact us today and we will put you in touch with the team in your region.

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Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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Physician Recruiter Answers a Big “Ask” with 44-Day Family Medicine Placement

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With the help of a colleague, recruiter Don Evans made an incredible 44-day family medicine placement in rural Texas.

When the CEO of a healthcare system in rural Texas submitted an inquiry through the Jackson Physician Search website, Divisional Vice President Cheyenna Villarreal responded right away. She learned they needed a Family Medicine physician to lead a clinic and small inpatient facility an hour east of Houston. Cheyenna outlined the Jackson Physician Search 100% digital physician recruitment approach, but after consideration, the CEO felt they could place the physician on their own. Cheyenna wished him well but asked if she could stay in touch. 

Over the next six months, Cheyenna checked in several times. With each update, the CEO assured her they were making progress and had plenty of candidates, until eventually, they didn’t. They were running out of time and ready to give Jackson Physician Search a try. 

A CEO with High Physician Recruitment Expectations

“I did not sugar coat anything, and I knew my parameters were tight, “ explains the CEO. “I wanted someone ready to go in 90 days.”

The average length of a family medicine physician search is 180 days, so the pressure was on Don Evans, Senior Search Consultant at Jackson Physician Search. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Don traveled to the facility to meet the CEO and other administrators. He immediately recognized that the role would only appeal to a small subset of family medicine physicians as it involved some inpatient care but nothing acute. 

On top of the challenges of the role itself, the team was very specific about what kind of physician they felt was needed to fit in with the rural community members. Don noted their preferences, but he already had a candidate in mind who just might be perfect for the job.       

A Family Medicine Physician Searching for His Next Step

Several months prior, Don’s colleague, David Eisenberg, had connected with Dr. M about a family medicine job in the Texas panhandle. Dr. M had led a practice in rural Idaho for twenty years and wanted to relocate to Texas to be closer to family. However, when the position didn’t work out, he took a locum tenens job until he could find the right opportunity. 

Knowing Don had multiple clients in Texas, David had introduced Don to Dr. M, and the two got to know each other. When Don met with the new client, Dr. M immediately came to mind. Dr. M was clinically qualified, interested in working in that part of Texas, and enthusiastic about the scope of the specific role. He also had the experience to expand the service line of the clinic to do more women’s health, something Don hoped the client would find appealing. 

“This Is the One.”

“I just knew this doctor was the right doctor,” says Don. “But he didn’t check every single one of their boxes, so I picked the right moment and said, ‘You gotta see him. This is the one.’”

The administration agreed to meet with Dr. M, and Don’s instinct proved to be right–they fell in love with him. Even the CEO, who rarely spent any length of time with candidates, spent half a day with him. Dr. M was qualified, enthusiastic, and extremely personable–everything they needed in the role.

Dr. M was equally impressed. He felt he could make an impact at the clinic, and its location put him within an hour of his mother, the primary reason he was moving to Texas. When the organization extended a generous offer, he didn’t have to think twice before accepting. 

Unprecedented Physician Recruitment Results  

Because he had been working in locums positions, Dr. M started the job almost immediately.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I’ve never had this happen!” says Don. “Dr. M signed the contract on a Thursday and started the following Monday. The client arranged housing and everything else he needed. He just had to show up.”

Searches are typically measured from the start of the search to the contract date, but the start date is often months or even a year out. In this case, however, it took 44 days from the start of the search to a signed contract and just a few days more to Dr. M’s first day–truly unprecedented results. 

An “Others First” Culture of Teamwork

So, what is the secret to these unprecedented physician recruitment results? 

While Don acknowledges some “kismet” involved, the culture of teamwork at Jackson Physician Search certainly played a part. When David introduced Don to Dr. M, it was because he truly had Dr. M’s best interests at heart and knew his teammate, Don, might be able to help. David’s “others first” mentality allowed him to put Dr. M’s needs before his own desire to secure the placement. This is a core value of Jackson Physician Search. 

Don also attributes the success to the client’s readiness to act quickly and his own ability to fully understand both the needs of the client and the needs of Dr. M, who became a good friend. 

The CEO, of course, was thrilled with the results. 

“I had high expectations and Don exceeded them–clearly. He found a great physician who was already Texas licensed and could start right away.”

If your organization needs assistance with a particularly difficult search, the team at Jackson Physician Search has the expertise and national reach to achieve the results you need. Contact a physician recruiter today to learn more.   

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3 Ways to Support and Retain Women Physicians

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Dr. B stared blankly at her patient as she considered his comment: “I just think I’d like to hear a male doctor’s opinion if you don’t mind.” Well, actually she did mind. In fact, she minded a little more each time she heard it–or some variation of the same comment. Hadn’t she gone to medical school just as long as her male colleagues? Worked as many hours in residency? Treated three times as many patients as some of her younger male peers? But Dr. B didn’t say any of that. Instead, she left the room and moved on to her next patient. 

You may read this story and think, surely, this sort of thing doesn’t happen anymore–at least not in my organization. Perhaps you’re right, but according to an article for the AMA, 70% of women physicians reported experiencing some form of gender discrimination. Whether it’s coming from a patient who assumes she’s a nurse, a manager pushing back on her maternity leave, or a peer talking over her in a meeting, discrimination against female physicians is not as uncommon as most of us would hope. 

According to a January 2022 article from Harvard Business Review, women physicians are also dealing with higher rates of burnout, lower levels of professional fulfillment, and higher rates of depression than their male peers. So perhaps it’s not hard to imagine that as physician turnover increases, women may be more likely than men to be among those changing jobs, cutting their hours, or leaving the profession entirely. 

The trend is especially concerning when you consider that women make up one-third of the physician population, and they outnumber male students in medical school. As female representation increases in medicine, this trend will cause an already dire physician shortage to get significantly worse.

Even before the pandemic, studies documented that women were more likely than men to leave the profession or decrease their hours. So the question is not if they are more likely to leave, but why? And what can be done to prevent them from leaving? 

Why Are Women Leaving Medicine?

The aforementioned article from Harvard Business Review explores precisely this question. The authors cite evidence to suggest medicine takes a greater toll on women for multiple reasons: 1) Women spend more time with patients and more time charting than men, 2) They have more obligations outside of work than their male peers, and 3) They receive less recognition, respect, and compensation for their efforts. Consequently, many female physicians would not choose the career again nor would they recommend it to a prospective medical school student.

It doesn’t have to be this way. By identifying–and addressing–the unique challenges women physicians face, employers can improve the female physician experience, increase retention rates, and take a critical step in combating the worsening physician shortage.   

How to Support Women in Medicine 

Work-life balance, equity, respect. While all physicians need these things, the data indicates women are more likely to report dissatisfaction in these areas, likely contributing to the elevated turnover among female physicians. Employers must adequately respond to the specific challenges women in medicine face by taking steps to improve in the following areas: 

1. Improve Work-Life Balance

The importance of work-life balance appears to be increasing with each new generation, but for women especially, who spend more time on non-professional work outside of the office, work-life balance often continues to be out of reach. The pandemic worsened the problem, with one study showing women physicians were more than 30 times as likely to be responsible for childcare and schooling during that time. Employers that recognize this challenge and offer ways to help women achieve their ideal work-life balance will be more likely to retain those physicians.

The ideal work-life balance looks different for everyone, so talk to your physicians–male and female–about what is most important to them. Some may prioritize a more flexible schedule, but here too, what is ideal will vary for each individual. Whether it’s a 4-day work week, 7 days on / 7 days off, job sharing, part-time, or working telehealth or admin days at home, employers must recognize that a flexible schedule is just that–flexible–and if they hope to improve work-life balance, employers will need to offer a variety of options. 

Of course, work-life balance isn’t only about the schedule. Providing increased administrative support can do wonders to improve a physician’s experience at work. Hiring a medical scribe to help with charting and other administrative burdens, will put precious hours back in a physician’s day.

2. Commit to Equal Pay and Opportunity

According to a December 2021 study published in Health Affairs, male physicians earn an average of $2 million dollars more than women over the course of a medical career. Additionally, women receive fewer awards, are invited to speak less often, are published less frequently, and hold fewer leadership roles. Studies suggest the COVID-19 pandemic worsened these disparities.

Organizations should commit to pay transparency and productivity models that factor in the nuances of treating different types of patients. The HBR article points out that female physicians are more likely than men to treat female patients, whose preventative care (pelvic and breast exams) require longer visits. Risk-adjusted panel payments should take these complexities into account.

Employers should also pursue diversity in leadership and ensure women have equal access to current leaders and the opportunity to train and learn from them. Develop a leadership program specifically for women and assign female mentors when possible. Additionally, provide coaching for male leaders and physicians so they learn to identify and overcome their own unconscious bias.

3. Increase Support and Respect

There’s no doubt that practicing medicine today is not easy for anyone. However, studies indicate the job may take a greater toll on women. Not only do women have a harder time decompressing outside of work, they often spend more time with patients, more time charting, and may experience more empathy for patients than their male peers. While some studies suggest these qualities may result in better outcomes, they can also take a greater toll and lead to higher rates of burnout. 

The solution here mirrors the prior points. Flexible schedules, help with administrative burdens, and a mentorship program will go a long way to decrease the toll practicing medicine takes on women. Show further support by encouraging them to take time off, pursue hobbies, or get involved with a charity–anything to help them disconnect from the stress of practicing medicine. 

And finally, in addition to your support, women physicians need your respect. Show it to them by asking questions and including them when making decisions.    

Taking steps to address these challenges will not go unnoticed by your women physicians. By providing improved work-life balance, equal opportunity, and increased support, you will lift job satisfaction, improve retention rates, and ease the impact of the physician shortage. 

If your organization is seeking physicians or advanced practice providers to support your current team, the Jackson Physician Search Recruitment team is happy to offer our expertise. Contact us today.

[Infographic Guide] 7 Tips to Improve Physician Retention, Engagement, and Burnout

In this infographic, we dive into seven things that healthcare organizations can address now in order to increase physician retention, improve physician engagement, and mitigate the negative effects of physician burnout

[Whitepaper] Getting Ahead of Physician Turnover

This whitepaper explores the results of a joint study by MGMA and JPS investigating physician recruitment, engagement, retention, and succession planning…

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Rural Hospital Client Wins Big with 3 FMOB Placements in 1 Month

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When Jackson Physician Search Director of Recruiting Katie Moeller first met with her new client, a 100-bed, rural hospital in Iowa, they needed help recruiting an OB-GYN to support the current (and only) OB-GYN on staff. Katie knew all too well the challenges of recruiting a rural OB-GYN physician, but she was prepared to do whatever it takes to find the right candidate. 

Just as the OB-GYN search got underway, the client came back to her with a second request. They also needed to find an Internal Medicine physician. This too, would be especially challenging in a rural setting, but Katie diligently took down all the details and prepared to launch a search for the second opening. 

A Market-Driven, Outside-the-Box Idea

When the client came to her with a third request, however, a lightbulb came on in Katie’s head. This third search would be targeting a Family Medicine physician, so Katie asked her client if they would be open to a Family Medicine physician doing Obstetrics. She knew from her recent work with Family Medicine residents that there was a small but notable number of trainees who were eager to incorporate OB into their future practices.

The client considered her question and didn’t see any problems with the idea. They also discussed that hiring a Family Medicine physician who could also do Obstetrics would ease the call burden on the current OB-GYN as well as the new OB-GYN they sought to hire. Katie could highlight the reduced call in her still-open search for a second OB-GYN.

“Family Medicine With On-the-Job Obstetrics Training”

It was all well that the client was open to hiring an FMOB, but would the current OB-GYN on staff be willing to mentor a Family Medicine physician without any formalized training in Obstetrics? When the staff OBGYN, Dr. S, was presented with this question, the answer was a resounding, “Yes!” Not only was he willing to train a Family Medicine physician, he was excited about the idea. 

His enthusiasm, coupled with the influx of strong candidates responding to the revised FMOB job ad, allowed Katie to think even bigger. She had found multiple strong candidates for the Family Medicine position but had very few applicants for the OB-GYN and Internal Medicine openings. She wondered if these Family Medicine candidates, eager to learn Obstetrics, could offer similar services as both the OB-GYN and Internal Medicine physicians. 

A True Understanding of the Client’s Needs

Katie spoke to the client regularly so she could understand and adapt to their needs. She knew her client’s patient population skewed older, and the Internal Medicine physician would likely need to have experience with geriatrics and patients with comorbidities–something not all Family Medicine physicians necessarily relish. However, since Katie knew this was an important criteria, she could screen her Family Medicine candidates for it. Many of them had this experience, thanks to attending inpatient medicine-heavy residency programs. 

Ultimately, Katie presented three strong Family Medicine candidates who were eager to learn Obstetrics. None were from Iowa, something the client had on their wishlist, but the client was willing to overlook it. The administration recognized the candidates’ talent and appreciated their passion to learn. The client extended three offers in one month.

As for the candidates, they were thrilled to have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of  Obstetrics under the tutelage of Dr. S. Each one’s desire to further develop their OB skills  was motivated by different things–a lifelong dream, a love of babies, etc.–but all of them understood the magnitude of the opportunity. Finding an employer that needed a Family Medicine physician to “do it all”– and a mentor willing to train them — was truly a gift for these three eager physicians. 

Secrets of Rural Physician Recruitment Success

How did Katie do it? Katie credits the client for their flexibility and willingness to leverage her as a consultant and consider her ideas. However, it was Katie’s deep understanding of the market that allowed her to detect the small but still significant trend of Family Medicine residents wanting to incorporate Obstetrics, especially under the eye of a willing mentor. She suspected there would be no shortage of Family Medicine candidates if the client could offer them advanced Obstetrics training–and she was right.

It was also critical that Katie had a full understanding of her client’s needs. 

“I was on the phone with the VP every other week for at least half an hour,” Katie says. “I was always asking questions to learn more about how things were going in primary care–patient volumes, who was taking call, how the physicians were feeling about the workload. I needed to really understand what was motivating the search for these three different types of physicians. This allowed me to consider other ways we might meet their needs.”

The client’s needs were certainly met. Instead of waiting the standard 1-2 years to find an OB-GYN, an Internist, and a Family Medicine physician, they have 3 FMOBs starting this summer. These results can be attributed to a creative physician recruiter with market insight and the client’s flexibility and openness to consultation.  

If you are struggling to find candidates to fill a current need, contact the Jackson Physician Recruitment team today. Our market expertise and creativity may be just what you need to help you find the best physician for your organization.

Physician Recruiter Makes 42-Day Placement for Groundbreaking Clinic

When a groundbreaking clinic lost its sole physician, recruiter Sydney Johnson honed in on exactly what made the physician job attractive in order to find the right candidate in just 42 days…

Why Every Rural Healthcare Organization Should Recruit Advanced Practice Providers

Rural healthcare organizations do not have to depends solely on physicians to serve the community. New data suggests organizations should consider expanding their care teams with a mix of physicians and APPs….

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How to Navigate the Physician Retirement Conversation

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A leader in the pediatrics department for over a decade, Dr. J has an obvious passion for what he does. As a result, he is a favorite among patients and an impactful mentor to a number of other pediatricians. As he nears retirement age, administrators at the hospital are starting to worry about replacing him. They certainly don’t want him to retire, but if he’s considering it, they need time to plan. Is it okay to ask him directly? No one is sure…

These administrators are not alone. A record number of physicians are nearing retirement age, and organizations around the country are faced with this same dilemma–how to navigate the physician retirement conversation and the process that follows. It can be an uncomfortable topic, but in light of the impending wave of physician retirements, it’s imperative we answer the question of how to navigate the physician retirement process.

Physician Retirements on the Rise

According to a 2021 report published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), nearly half (45%) of practicing physicians are over the age of 55. This means more than 2 of every 5 active physicians will reach 65 in the next ten years. While 65 isn’t necessarily the magic retirement number for everyone, it is the reported median physician retirement age. This would suggest nearly half of all physicians who are currently practicing will be retired by 2030. Unfortunately, even this may be a conservative estimate. According to a 2019 study published by AMA Insurance and highlighted by the American Medical Association, 30% of physicians retire between the ages of 60 and 65 and 12% retire before the age of 60. All of these looming retirements are one factor contributing to the worsening physician shortage.

Of course, retirement isn’t driven by age alone; factors such as physician burnout and decreasing physician job satisfaction have the potential to increase an already high volume of physician retirements projected in the coming years. A recent whitepaper from Jackson Physician Search and MGMA,  Getting Ahead of Physician Turnover in Medical Practices, reveals the results of a study that support this claim. In the survey, 43% of physicians said, over the past year, they had considered taking early retirement. Additionally, in an October 2021 MGMA STAT poll, one in three medical practices reported a physician had left or retired early in 2021 due to burnout.

The Importance of Physician Succession Planning

With so many physicians expected to retire, physician succession planning has never been more important. If following an effective succession plan, physician leaders–regardless of their retirement plans–are tasked with detailing their responsibilities and developing talent in preparation for a potential need. A good succession plan also includes regular conversations with all physicians about their job satisfaction and future career plans for the purpose of forecasting–and preparing for–potential departures.

The reality, however, is that most organizations struggle to make succession planning a priority. In the aforementioned study by MGMA and Jackson Physician Search, the survey results make it clear that while healthcare administrators are worried about rising physician turnover, very few (16%) have a formal physician succession plan to address the issue.     

3 Questions to Consider Before Initiating the Physician Retirement Conversation

Initiating a conversation about a physician’s retirement plans may feel intrusive and perhaps even inappropriate. However, clear communication on this sensitive topic is critical. In preparation for the conversion, ask yourself these three questions.    

Who Should Start the Conversation?

In a 2019 physician retirement survey, 80% of physicians said they felt it was their responsibility to initiate a conversation about their retirement, but only 52% said they felt comfortable doing so. In the same survey, 40% of physicians said it was sufficient to give six months’ notice to an employer when retiring. Conversely, 50% of administrators said a one to three-year notice period was ideal.

Certainly, the more time an employer has to plan for a physician’s retirement, the smoother the transition will be for all parties involved. Administrators who wait for physicians to initiate the retirement conversation may rob themselves of valuable time. 

Knowing this, if you are still hesitant to start a conversation about retirement, try to make physicians as comfortable as possible and provide them with ample opportunity to initiate the conversation with you. Ideally, you already have regular check-ins with your physicians in which questions about their job satisfaction and goals are the norm–regardless of their stage of life. If these types of meetings are infrequent at your organization, it may be time to consider ways to improve physician communication overall.

What is the Motivation for Starting the Conversation?

If you do decide to initiate the conversation, be sure to first consider your motivation. It is acceptable to ask about retirement for planning purposes, but be certain you are not attempting to nudge your physician towards retirement due to poor performance or as a result of other changes occurring inside the organization. Retirement should be a personal choice for the individual physician.

Because repeatedly asking about retirement could be construed as age discrimination or harassment, the Society of Human Resources Management advises seeking legal counsel before initiating a retirement conversation. 

What are the Next Steps for Each Possible Outcome?

If you are asking physicians if and when they are planning to retire, you must be prepared to support them however they answer. If retirement is not on their radar yet, great! Express appreciation for their commitment and ask them to please let you know as soon as anything changes. 

On the other hand, if they admit they have started thinking about retirement but their plans are uncertain, this is an opportunity to show support by presenting them with options. In the aforementioned JPS retirement study, only 17% of physicians said they expect to take a full-retirement and a third said they hoped to work part-time. Ask the physician about their intentions and offer physician retirement alternatives such as a shortened work week, opportunities to work telehealth, or job sharing. Be willing to make adjustments that would allow them to continue working in whatever capacity they prefer.  

If indeed the physician’s full retirement is imminent, offer congratulations and then ask for their help to make the transition easier for all involved, including patients. You’ll want them to document their duties and train another physician to take over those tasks if necessary. Consider how patients will be notified and what type of provider should be hired to replace them. The urgency of each step depends, of course, on the physician’s retirement timeline.   

If your organization is expecting a physician to retire in the next year or beyond, you may be wondering how soon you should initiate a physician search. The Recruitment Team at Jackson Physician Search would be happy to share recruitment trends by specialty so that you can more effectively plan. Contact us today.   

Medical Staff Planning: 4 Things to Consider

Increased physician retirements and other turnover means medical staff planning has never been more important. In this post, we’ll examine four considerations of medical staff planning and touch on how to apply them as you develop your medical staffing plan….

8 Steps to Create a Physician Succession Plan

Succession planning is the best, most proactive way to defend against the negative impact of rising physician turnover. But what exactly is a physician succession plan? Learn how to create one in 8 steps…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

Click the Get Started button if you’re ready to speak with one of our physician recruitment experts.

Physician Recruiter Makes 42-Day Family Medicine Placement for Groundbreaking Clinic

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When a ground-breaking wound care clinic in a suburb of Atlanta lost its sole physician unexpectedly, the practice manager immediately reached out to Jackson Physician Search for help. He submitted a query through the website the day before Thanksgiving, not hopeful that he’d hear from anyone before the holiday. Much to his surprise, Business Development Manager Brittany Lee got in touch right away. The need was clearly urgent, so she arranged an in-person meeting the following Tuesday. 

At the meeting, Brittany outlined exactly what JPS could do to find the right physician for the clinic. The practice manager was impressed by the JPS 100% digital physician recruitment strategy, and he specifically appreciated how quickly it could be implemented. He felt the transparent fee structure was more than reasonable and signed a contract at that first meeting. The organization was motivated to do whatever it would take to find the right physician as soon as possible, and Jackson Physician Search was ready to support them.     

Searching for a Physician Leader

Brittany teamed up with Search Consultant Sydney Johnson, who visited the clinic right away to learn more about the need. The clinic specialized in administering cutting-edge wound care technology, and the physician would work with a large team of advanced practice providers to treat patients in nursing homes or other homecare settings.

They would also oversee the treatment of patients in the office for injections and diabetic infusions. As the leader of a large team of mid-levels, the ideal candidate would have solid leadership experience. However, the practice manager was clear that the right physician would be compassionate and inspiring in order to be a good fit for the team. 

While the practice manager was specific in what type of leader he wanted, he was very flexible with respect to the other qualifications for the job. He was open to a physician of any specialty as long as they were board eligible and had an interest in wound care. They were open to giving the position a Medical Director title, but this experience wasn’t essential. Sydney knew this flexibility would help her find more candidates quickly, and the fact that the position required no call and no weekends would make the job even more attractive. 

An Attractive Physician Job Opportunity

Sydney crafted multiple versions of the job posting to share on the JPS vast network of online physician job boards. Through the Jackson Physician Search partnership with the American Academy of Family Physicians, Dr. C saw the job posting on the AAFP job board. He was attracted to the “Medical Director” title, which Sydney had highlighted in one version of the job posting. Dr. C also liked that the job was 100% outpatient.

Dr. C reached out to Sydney by email, and she called him right away. During their conversation, they realized Dr. C had actually known and respected the physician whose role he would be assuming. The coincidental connection seemed like a sign, and the fact that he had experience as a Medical Director in a nursing home made him an excellent candidate. Sydney presented him to the practice manager the very next day.

The practice manager was eager to meet Dr. C, and since he was local, they arranged for him to come into the office the day after he was presented. He hit it off with everyone on-site, so they arranged a virtual interview with the clinic’s CEO, who lived out of state. This too, went well, so an offer was extended immediately. Dr. C signed the contract on January 11th, just 42 days after initiating the search. 

Secrets to Physician Recruiting Success

Sydney credits the recruitment success to her client’s flexibility and speed of response.

“They weren’t fixated on finding someone with a given specialty or level of experience. As long as the candidate was compassionate and had a genuine interest in their mission, they were willing to consider them,” says Sydney.

The urgency of the need meant they were also motivated to act quickly. The speed of response allowed the search to move forward even through the holiday season.    

The fact that the job came with a competitive salary and great perks also made Sydney’s job easier. However, Sydney’s masterful skill in crafting the job posting and ensuring it was seen by the ideal audience was essential. Together, Sydney’s digital recruitment expertise and the client’s flexibility and responsiveness ensured a successful search on a timeline that beat all expectations.

If you have an urgent need to fill a physician vacancy, the Jackson Physician Search team has the expertise and experience to produce results quickly. Contact a Recruitment Specialist today. 

FQHC Struggles to Recruit Until Physician’s Wife Takes Charge

A national recruitment partner is especially beneficial for FQHCs, but, not just any physician recruitment firm will do. Find out what happened when one California FQHC teamed up with Jackson Physician Search…

Rural Practice Wins West Coast Surgeon with Promise of Autonomy, Flexibility, Growth

A high-volume Orthopedic Surgery practice in a rural Midwestern community was struggling to recruit a Total Joint/Adult Reconstruction Orthopedic Surgeon. Find out how a JPS recruiter changed their luck….

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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[Infographic Guide] Address Key Generational Differences to Improve Rural Physician Recruitment

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The results of the recent Rural Physician Recruitment and Staffing Survey show that 90% of physicians are open to considering a rural physician job if conditions are right. Physicians are drawn to rural medicine for a number of reasons, and the report suggests those differences often vary along generational lines. By discovering what each generation is most attracted to about rural medicine, organizations can more effectively market their open positions to physicians of every stage of life. Keep reading to learn how to address key generational differences to improve rural physician recruitment results.

Address Key Generational Differences to Improve Rural Physician Recruitment Results

An encouraging 90% of urban and suburban physicians are open to rural medicine if conditions are right, according to the 2022 Rural Physician Recruitment and Staffing Survey. A deeper look at this new data reveals what appeals most to each generation, so you can more effectively market rural medicine jobs to physicians at every stage of life.  

90% of physicians would consider rural practice if the conditions are well-aligned with their most important wants and needs.

  • 64% want higher compensation, bonuses, and benefits
  • 47% want flexible hours
  • 46% want improved work/life balance

Money Talks…to Everyone

Compensation is overwhelmingly the top reason physicians in every generation would consider rural medicine. 

  • 62% Baby Boomers
  • 63% Gen X
  • 72% Millennial

Promote Flexibility and Patient-centered Culture to Attract Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers

Most likely to already work in a rural setting 

55% of urban / suburban Baby Boomers say the ability to work part-time or have flex hours would prompt them to consider rural medicine

44% of Baby Boomer physicians say a flexible schedule or a part-time one would entice them to stay at their current organization for the next five years

37% of Baby Boomer physicians say “patient-focused” is  the most important attribute of an organization’s culture 

36% of Baby Boomers already practicing rural medicine chose to do so because it allowed them to spend more time with patients. 

To Win Over Gen X, Highlight the Ability to Make in Impact (and Have the Time and Finances to Live a More Balanced Life)

Gen X

Most likely to say they are personally (47%) and professionally (43%) unfulfilled

51% of urban / suburban Gen X physicians say improved work / life balance would make them consider rural medicine 

39% of Gen X physicians say physician autonomy is the most important attribute of an organization’s culture

For the Gen X physicians already working in rural practice, money is a huge motivator. 49% chose it because of higher compensation and 52% were swayed by a more affordable cost of living. 57% said compensation is the best way to retain them for the next five or more years.

Focus on a Healthy Work-Life Balance and a Family-friendly Environment to Recruit Millennials

Millennials

Most likely to be married to a physician (18%) 

30% of Millennials say student loan payoff could entice them to work in rural medicine

40% of Millennial physicians say supports work / life balance is the most important aspect of an organization’s culture

Most likely to say visa assistance and proximity to family / friends / colleagues would prompt them to consider a rural job

 

Visit our thought leadership page for more helpful presentations, case studies, and infographics. Or, reach out to a Jackson Physician Search representative for more information.

[Whitepaper] Rural Physician Recruitment and Staffing Survey Results

We surveyed physicians currently working in urban, suburban, and rural settings to better understand their specific needs and wants in regard to choosing to practice in a rural location…

Finding the Why: Consider Generational Differences to Improve  Rural Physician Recruitment

Physicians seek jobs in rural medicine for a number of different reasons, and a new Rural Physician Recruitment and Staffing Survey from Jackson Physician Search and LocumTenens.com suggests those differences vary even more along generational lines…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

Click the Get Started button if you’re ready to speak with one of our physician recruitment experts.