Four Physician Related Trends Medical Practices Should Expect in 2014

Here are four physician recruitment and retention related trends you can expect next year, and what your practice can do to stay ahead of the curve.

Healthcare is entering unknown territory in 2014. Though the path ahead may be bumpy, it is important to identify and implement strategies around the factors you can control to support your medical staffing objectives.

Here are four physician recruitment and retention related trends you can expect next year, and what your practice can do to stay ahead of the curve: 

1. Physician retirements will increase.
The AMA estimates that 24 percent of physicians are older than age 60, and an additional 49 percent are between the ages of 41 and 59. These physicians from the baby boom generation will continue to retire at increasing rates.

Stay Ahead of the Curve:
• Manage this source of turnover by incorporating anticipated retirements for the year into your staffing plan.
• Start your search to replace retiring physicians as soon as possible to ensure a seamless transition.
• Offer incentives such as flexible scheduling, part-time hours, or job sharing to keep physicians in practice longer as they approach retirement age.

2. Competition for physicians will be fierce.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the shortage of physicians will reach 90,000 by 2020, and healthcare organizations will continue to feel the pinch in 2014. At the same time, a downward trend in medical school enrollment paired with steady population growth will exacerbate the care gap.

Stay Ahead of the Curve:
• Create an environment that will attract “first round draft picks” by committing to and engaging with physician leaders in the organization.
• Make sure your recruitment package delivers a competitive edge over other practice options in your community. 

3. Engaging and aligning physicians will be paramount.
As physicians continue to move to employed models, their sense of possible loss of autonomy can create feelings of anxiety, frustration, and disengagement. Often that results in passivity, noncompliance, and active resistance. In fact, physicians are rejecting employment opportunities with organizations that don’t meet their expectations around what they need to feel engaged.

Stay Ahead of the Curve:
• Evaluate new candidates to get a true sense of their expectations and  whether their values align with yours.
Scrutinize your onboarding process and fill gaps that are undermining engagement from the day your new physician signs through his first year. 

4. Physician leaders will be in demand.
Healthcare reform is creating more opportunities for physicians to lead the strategic direction at every level of an organization. As reform measures take hold, value-based care will require physicians to guide operational strategies for improving quality and patient safety measures.

Stay Ahead of the Curve:
• Explore the options for business management curriculum and onsite physician leadership development programs for your rising stars.
• Offer physicians leadership opportunities, such as membership in committees, seats on the governing board, or other advisory roles.

How is your practice preparing for physician related recruitment and retention trends?

Lori Schutte is president of marketing at Cejka Search, a nationally recognized physician, healthcare executive, advanced practice, and allied health search firm providing services exclusively to the healthcare industry for more than 30 years. Email her here.