Creating a More Efficient Physician Recruiting Process

September 11, 2013

Tips for healthcare facilities to cut the fat in physician recruiting and onboarding using lean continuous improvement methodology.

Many companies have embraced the philosophy and principles of "lean" in the spirit of continuous improvement. One of the most popular ways to accomplish this is through value stream mapping and kaizens, or rapid improvement events, where process steps are identified and waste is removed until an ideal state is achieved.

Here’s how a kaizen works:
• First, form a cross-functional team of individuals involved in the process you’re trying to improve (in this case the recruiting process).
• Have them collaborate to visually depict all the steps necessary to complete the process from beginning to end (creating the job description, promoting the position, screening candidates, interviewing, etc.).
• Don’t forget best- and worst-case scenarios, along with the average time to perform each step, including time spent waiting between each step.
• Next, determine benchmarks for takt time (the amount of time you can devote to physician recruiting) against the current rate of production (the amount of time it is currently taking to recruit), and capture this in a visual flow chart, which becomes your value stream.
• From here you can begin to define the ideal state of the value stream. 

For over five years I have witnessed the power of lean in my own physician staffing firm. Though we’ve become extremely efficient at staffing other organizations, we were less so with our own internal hiring process. Earlier this year we held a kaizen event and were able to eliminate 23 steps to make our hiring process 42 percent faster. We’ve estimated that this will save us nearly $20,000 annually in hiring costs.

For the last three years we’ve also been partnering with some of our larger clients to hold kaizen events at their facilities, even dedicating a team to this cause. To date, we’ve conducted 10 events around the country, specifically focusing on improving processes for physician staffing, credentialing, and onboarding.

Even as a small-practice owner, you can use lean principles to improve your hiring process. Check out this infographic highlighting the impact made from a handful of these events. You’ll notice that many of the improvements made are simple and applicable to any size facility. In reading this, does it give you any ideas for improving your own internal processes?