Recruiting and Retaining Skilled Doctors in the Accountable Care Era | Healthcare of Tomorrow

Central to great hospitals are great doctors. But recruiting and retaining those physicians who understand and support the organization’s clinical and financial goals is challenging – particularly as reimbursements shift to value-based, care moves into the community and health care costs rise.

How are three hospital-centric health care systems addressing this challenge? At the U.S. News Hospital of Tomorrow conference in the District of Columbia, Dr. Steve Kahane, athenahealth, Inc.’s executive vice president of the Client Organization, talked to leaders at the organizations to find out.

The panel, called “Case Study: Orchestrating a High Performing Physician Network in the Accountable Care Era,” featured Dr. Michael G. Callum, executive vice president of Business and Corporate Development at Steward Health Care System, Dr. Michael Nochomovitz, senior vice president and chief clinical integration and network development officer at New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, and Dr. Peter Plantes, CEO of CHRISTUS Physician Group.

Here are a few strategies they said they’re using:  

  • Compensate with more than salary. At Steward, even affiliates receive access to the organization’s health care insurance and competitive malpractice coverage. “You try to come up with other ways you can have value adds for the physicians,” Callum said.
  • Incentivize the values you want to drive. Steward values quality, care coordination and physician loyalty, to name a few, and sets incentives accordingly. “You build on infrastructure like that in order to build a high-performing group,” Callum says. “That’s where you start.”
  • Support physicians. As the healthcare landscape continues to drastically change, physicians can’t be expected to constantly adjust – “without [the systems] doing things to make their lives easier,” Nochomovitz said.
  • Built team spirit. If you don’t have employee engagement and satisfaction, “Heaven help you,” Plantes said. One way to build those areas? “Make sure you have fun to celebrate your successes,” he said. “Spread out a little incentive money and be sure you get some dinner.”
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel. What are effective targets to motivate physicians? Look to the medical evidence, Plante said. “You don’t have to make it up.”
  • Align your goals. “We try to bring the interests of physician organizations and the hospitals very close together and have them align very closely so that as much as possible, we are going in the right direction,” Nochomovitz said.
  • Don’t be what you’re not. Plante is a big fan of vendor relationships. Just as patients don’t try to cure themselves, hospitals shouldn’t pretend they’re experts in, say, telecommunications. “Don’t try to be what you’re not,” he said.