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Myth Busting: Onboarding Is Not Orientation!

Myth Busting: Onboarding Is Not Orientation!

When we ask leaders if they have a provider onboarding program, we often hear “Yes, of course.” Then, we ask how long and hear the standard “A couple days to a couple months.” We are here to tell you that is NOT an onboarding program – that is orientation! Confusing the two can literally be a multi-million dollar mistake.

Instead, imagine building a gold-standard physician onboarding system within your hospital with the power to:

  • Cut credentialing time by two-thirds
  • Accelerate ramp-up to full productivity by nine months
  • Lower turnover by 75%
  • Improve culture and satisfaction

Underinvesting Is a Common Cause of Costly Turnover

Given the potential impact on revenue, it’s important to know how effective onboarding can build your bottom line. But, first let’s start where most organizations are today. Many hospitals operate under the false assumption that “orientation” is the same as “onboarding.”

If that sounds like you – you are not alone. The majority (88%) of organizations said they have an onboarding program, but only 33% have a formalized structure or committee, according to the American Medical Group Association.

Yet, underinvesting in physician and advanced practitioner onboarding is both a common – and costly – error that can delay productivity on the front-end and later result in costly turnover.

Organizations with one month of orientation reported 66% higher turnover than those with one year of onboarding. That amounts to “real money” when you consider that replacing a physician costs $250,000 or more and can also leave a million-dollar hole in your revenue budget.

Based on industry data for net revenue generated per physician on behalf of their affiliated hospitals, the contribution of a physician practicing at full productivity equals $1,448,548 annually.

A highly integrated recruitment, onboarding and retention strategy will engage new physicians and advanced practice providers, helping them navigate your organization and efficiently ramp up into their first year of practice. The result: increased satisfaction, recruitment success and long-term retention.

Onboarding wheel graphicEmbracing the Gold Standard Drives ROI

Organizations that embrace best-in-class onboarding have seen the extraordinary results in productivity, performance, satisfaction and retention.

Developing and launching a formalized hospitalist onboarding, navigation and mentorship program for CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System sparked a dramatic turnaround and improvement in recruitment, retention and value-based operational performance. As results became evident, C-suite executives endorsed the program:

“Being skeptical at first, we immediately saw the high degree of engagement of our stakeholders and value of the ‘slam dunk’ results following close behind.”

After establishing an integrated and rigorous approach to physician onboarding and navigation at Dayton Children’s, physicians achieved full productivity levels nine months faster. Positive feedback from new physicians reinforced the value of the program:

“Dayton Children’s has the onboarding process figured out. Onboarding was very organized, and I was able to get into the clinic quickly.”

Onboarding best practices include:

  • Objective program assessment to engage and gain buy-in from stakeholders
  • Prioritizing and activating solutions focused on shared objectives and outcomes
  • Streamlined processes for getting practitioners productive quickly to drive revenue
  • Year-long onboarding engagement for the practitioner and family
  • Mentorship guided by physician and advanced practice provider leaders to reduce turnover risk
  • Accountable reporting toward measurable growth and retention goals
  • Cross-functional teams and committed leadership

The goal is to create a sustainable program that will give your team the tools, techniques and training to do what it takes to make onboarding successful for the long-term. When establishing or refreshing your program, look to experienced onboarding professionals who can draw on a vast bank of best practices, including a trained physician to structure mentorship.

The Bottom Line 

Effective onboarding can produce a return on investment exceeding $1 million per physician per year through faster productivity combined with reduced vacancy rates and lower replacement costs. If you’d like to learn more about gold-standard onboarding and navigation practices, let’s talk!

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