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Physician Healthcare Hiring: Thinking about a physician “workforce”

February 9, 2012

The wave of physician employment by hospitals continues. Unfortunately, so does the rather haphazard approach to managing this growing and very unique workforce.  We’ve not thought of how to incorporate this workforce phenomenon into the overall healthcare hiring strategy.

Yes, I said it – “workforce.”  We’ve always had employed physicians.  There just weren’t many of them.  They were either a special subset of specialties like pathologists or radiologists, or an anomaly.  The bulk of the medical staff members in any community were independent, private practice physicians. 

As more have moved to employment for a number of reasons, we understand that they arehealthcare hiring ashhra employees, but they are “different.”  They retain a great deal of autonomy.  Often human resources tells us “we have nothing to do with physician hiring” and there has been little thought put into exactly how to build, manage, and develop the right physician workforce.

We are discussing this exact issue with a panel of experts in a webinar on February 16th, 2012, through the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA).  Drs. Sam Agnew and Robert Crossey will join attorney Maria Greco Danaher to discuss important issues such as:

1.     What are we looking for when we recruit and select physicians to join our organization?

An impressive CV and clinical experience are no longer enough for success.  We need physicians who have high levels of emotional intelligence, who can collaborate, who will not display disruptive behaviors, and whose goals are aligned with the organization’s.  How do we re-design the traditional physician recruiting and hiring process to evaluate these traits and how do we pro-actively develop them in new physicians?

2.     What are the important HR considerations?

While they may be physicians, they are employees.  Their actions impact the organization.  HR problems are magnified.  The legal ramifications can be far more severe.  See Maria’s recent blog entries on physician-related employment law matters.  What about record keeping requirements – how are they coordinated with medical staff issues?  What about benefit issues?  Do you have physicians conducting interviews of candidates?  Are you comfortable they know what they can and can’t ask?  Do your physicians understand what is acceptable behavior and what constitutes harassment?

3.     How do we identify and develop physician leaders?

Is there a new ideal physician leader?  The stakes are certainly higher than ever before.  Hospitals expect more from physician leaders, like the ability to collaborate, combined with healthcare business acumen.  How do we identify and develop these new leaders?

In recent weeks, nearly all of our healthcare clients have been asking for information and solutions in this interesting arena.  Perhaps we are moving beyond a simple hiring wave, to a physician “workforce strategy?”  Please join us for what is sure to be an interesting panel discussion!

Bryan Warren Bryan Warren was the former Director of Healthcare Solutions at PSI. He was responsible for developing and promoting tools and services designed specifically for the unique challenges faced by healthcare organizations.