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Physician Hiring: Is Your Hospital Hiring "Star QBs"?

December 17, 2015


When Peyton Manning was drafted, the Indianapolis Colts fully expected him to struggle his first year. He went 3-13 and threw more interceptions (28) than touchdowns (26). Troy Aikman of the Cowboys went 0-11 and threw two times more picks than touchdowns. Steve Young of the 49ers spent several years as the understudy to Joe Montana. All three are in (or will be) in the Hall of Fame.

In each case, no one lamented their apparent slow development. It was expected. It was a big jump from college to the NFL, even for the most talented QB. A slow developmental process was the norm and teams drafted highly touted QBs with the understanding that their development would require patience.

Then along came RG III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. These highly acclaimed signal callers entered the NFL draft with more hype, better preparation, and higher expectations, than any group of signal callers in recent memory. They have not disappointed. All have their teams in the playoff hunt in their rookie seasons. Moving forward, teams will be looking for the same immediate return on their investment. They will scout the college ranks looking for the next franchise QB who can step in and produce like a veteran.

A chief medical officer told me today that the same thing has happened with respect to young physician hiring. Hospitals invest too much in young physician talent, to wait and hope that they eventually produce. The expectations have changed. It is no longer sufficient that a physician, after a few years, starts to earn her keep, or is able – hopefully - to manage the complexities of the organization and take a leadership role.

New physicians must come into the organization, able to relatively quickly be productive and to contribute to the growth of the organization.

This means two things:

(1) The organization must be ready and able to support physicians in their development

(2) The organization must do a better job ensuring a good fit during the recruiting and selection process.

With regard to the former, the hospital needs to understand the variables that impact physician success and remove barriers.

With regard to the latter, hospitals need to understand what they are looking for, use some level of diligence in evaluating candidates and, in some cases, realize that a bad hire just to fill the position is worse than leaving the position open a bit longer.

Hospitals are in an “arms” (get it?) race to build their physician networks. What can we learn from these rookie quarterbacks? That with the right assessment of talent, and the right team built around young physicians, you can increase the odds that your young talent will be productive early – increasing the odds that they stick around for a long and productive career.

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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.