Maximizing Your Physician Return on Investment

In today’s market, finding the right physician for your hospital can be a tall order. Tight budgets have hospital administrators looking for ways to reduce hiring costs, and physician shortages have organizations vying for a smaller pool of job candidates.

One way hospitals are trying to cut costs is by employing a do-it-yourself approach to hiring physicians. While this method may have worked in the past, it may take longer than expected to find the right fit for your open position in today’s competitive marketplace.

For every month it takes to fill an open physician job, your organization could be costing itself thousands in potential revenue. For instance, according to MGMA data, a facility’s average annual revenue for an internal medicine doctor is $675,759. That’s more than $56,000 in lost revenue per month while you’re waiting for a new internist. Consider also the potential long-term impact if patients are forced to visit competitors because your facility lacks important services while waiting for a new physician. You may be losing ancillary revenue from specialist referrals or ancillary services provided by your hospital.

Compounding the issue is the growing physician shortage. Jackson & Coker recently quantified the competition for physician talent in a report (available at, demonstrating severe shortages for in-demand specialties such as family medicine, internal medicine and psychiatry will continue to be an issue for the foreseeable future.

Being strategic about your physician recruitment can make all the difference for your organization. The key steps to expedite your candidate search and physician placement are:

        1) Know your differentiators. Have you been ranked a Best Place to Work? Or does your hospital have state-of-the-art equipment? Play to your strengths to attract physicians who want to work with an organization like yours.
        2) Streamline your process to shorten your search and reduce the timeline for onboarding new physicians. The faster a physician can get to work, the faster he or she can start treating patients profitably.
        3) Cast a wide net to find the right candidates. You can never be sure exactly where your next physicians will come from, so use a variety of outreach sources including job boards, industry groups, and marketing campaigns.
       4) Explore the option of using a firm. Because they focus exclusively on staffing physicians, firms can provide targeted resources to your search. These include:
• An extensive array of job board postings which may be too costly for a single hospital.
• Access to vast physician networks and contact information.
• Dedicated recruiters to proactively call and email physicians.
• The ability to reach physicians through mobile platforms and job postings. Mirroring larger population trends, 60 percent of physicians report turning to mobile devices and away from direct mail to search for and apply to jobs, according to recent studies.
        5) Don’t stop recruiting until you have a signed contract and are assured a physician is coming on board. Stopping interviews even when you have a verbal offer is a dangerous practice. If a physician backs out at the last minute, you could have to start over without a candidate pipeline, further lengthening your search.

A basic rule of thumb is: Don’t get caught up trying to cut corners in the short term, only to have it negatively impact your bottom line in the long term.

Tony Stajduhar is president of the Permanent Recruitment Division at Jackson & Coker. With more than 25 years in the industry, he is a sought-after speaker for national medical associations and residency programs. Tony can be reached at

Gary Holden is regional vice president of the Southeast at Jackson & Coker. He has extensive experience in physician staffing and consults with hospitals across South Carolina concerning their physician recruitment. Gary can be reached at

11-24-2015 10:46 (EST)