Hospitals and health care organizations don’t do enough to keep physicians. A new book discusses how to change that.
Healthcare organizations invest significant time, energy, and money into hiring physicians. But according to Douglas Farrago, MD, the author of ‘The Hospital Guide to Physician Retention,’ very few organizations invest adequate resources into keeping physicians. Farrago, a Family physician, became interested in the topic from his personal experience as an employed physician. “I wrote this book to help companies improve their physician work environment, so that doctors don’t want to leave.”
Farrago says that increasing retention efforts can save organizations money and improve quality care. “It costs a lot to hire and train a physician,” he says. “Lowering your turnover rate by just one percent can save an organization up to a million dollars.” Retaining physicians also lowers overall healthcare costs, with a recent analysis estimating that primary care turnover adds nearly a billion dollars in excess healthcare expenditures per year.
The lack of organizational effort toward physician retention surprises Farrago. “When you look at other industries, especially big tech, these companies are doing everything they can to retain employees. They’re offering wine bars and ping pong tables, remote work opportunities, whatever they can to retain well-trained employees. If it’s worth this much to keep a coder, why aren’t healthcare industries doing the same?” Farrago points out that competition for physicians is high. “A shortage of nearly 122,000 physicians is projected by 2032. Unemployment in November 2019 was at 3.5%,” he says. “Doctors are your biggest asset, and happy doctors stay.” Fortunately, there are several simple steps to help organizations retain great physicians.
Rebekah Bernard, MD is a family physician in Fort Myers, Florida, and the author of four books, most recently Imposter Doctors: Patients at Risk. You can watch her entire interview with Douglas Farrago, MD on her YouTube channel, Patients at Risk.