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Journal of ASPR - Fall 2012 - Onboarding and Retention
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Onboarding and Retention

Key Areas of Focus Gleaned from 2012 ASPR Annual Conference

By Donna Ecclestone, FASPR, CMSR, Associate Director, Physician Integration, Duke Medicine, Durham, NC

Donna EcclestoneNow that the conference is over, I find myself thinking about what I learned and setting goals for 2013. As keynote speaker Cy Wakeman suggested, it was time for me to ask, “what can I do next to add value?” The following are some key areas to focus on:

Change and communication go hand in hand

At Duke, we are going through myriad changes with the introduction of Epic, embracing new business models, and opening three new buildings, followed by the relocation of multiple clinics. It’s an onboarding nightmare! Just when I thought I had it all figured out — the settings, the contacts, and the orientation — plans changed! What is the key to staying sane? Good communication, being proactive, and building good relationships. Stay alert to what is happening within your organization and share that information with new physicians and those involved with their onboarding. Education and communication is what onboarding is all about!

One plan does not fit all

“Standardization” is key in my world; however, meeting an individual’s specific needs for onboarding is just as important. This can get difficult when onboarding 150 to 200 physicians a year, but it’s critical to their success. Ensure each new hire has the appropriate training and tools to do his or her job effectively and the rest will fall into place.

Know the rules of the game

Physician recruitment professionals (or onboarders) should know their entity’s onboarding process — who’s involved, timeframes, requirements, etc. Re-evaluate your program annually and make adjustments as needed. For instance, if computer training is only offered twice a month at the beginning of the month, then it makes sense to use the first of the month for start dates to maximize efficiencies. Teach onboarding professionals and leaders in your organization ways to maximize onboarding’s effectiveness.

Proper orientation is a JCAHO standard

If your organization is Joint Commission accredited, it is important to review and understand the standard that details how new providers should be oriented at your organization. Creating a checklist is a great way to ensure that all requirements are met.

Measure success based on the organization’s goals

Measuring an onboarding program’s ROI depends greatly on what the institution values. Money is a “common” language, but how it is presented and calculated depends greatly on what the organization values, i.e., time to productivity, physician satisfaction, retention rates, patient satisfaction. Perhaps, the validation includes a combination of multiple variables. Find out what your organization values most and make those standards a top priority.

Knowledge is power

One great take-away from the conference is all of the side conversations where people share ideas. In addition to learning from colleagues, I frequently scan websites such as FierceHealth, ERE, the Advisory Board, and SHRM to find out the latest onboarding trends and share them when appropriate. In the future, our upcoming Onboarding and Retention group (OAR) will be great a resource as well. Also, get your social media groove on: like it, link it, tweet it, chat it, share it!

It’s time to review, revise, and reinvest in what we have already done to add value for the next season of onboarding! Additional resources on this topic are available on the ASPR website.


Journal of ASPR - Fall 2012

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