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7 keys to successful doctor onboarding

A thoughtful, standardized approach can make onboarding and orientation go more quickly and efficiently

The trend toward delivering integrated care to patients is sparking discussions between hospitals, independent physicians and medical group practices about forming new, mutually beneficial relationships.

As new physicians and practice groups join your organization, a thoughtful, standardized approach can make onboarding and orientation go more quickly and efficiently.

Here are seven keys to creating an efficient onboarding process that enables a smooth transition for physicians and staff joining the new organization and assimilating into the new culture.

  1. Due diligence: Create a check list of items typically required for due diligence such as by-laws, articles of incorporation, shareholder or partnership agreements, real estate documents, an asset list, all contracts, insurance documentation, pending litigation, financial documents, employee roster and regulatory compliance documents.
  2. Document exceptions: Develop a template to document exceptions to the standard agreement.  These might include medical directorships, additional assets or monetary arrangements or anything that is not typically part of the standard agreement.
  3. Develop a master onboarding list with a timeline. Identify responsible staff for each section and tie together sequential processes.  Provide central access to the list so that each department can access it as needed. 
  4. Communicate. Communication and coordination is the key to ensuring that all items are completed prior to the provider beginning employment. Missing key deadlines can be costly to the organization. Setting up a realistic timeline, which is minimally 60 to 90 days is essential. 
  5. Appoint a project manager/owner. The project manager/owner serves as the key contact for administrators and practitioners to ensure the process goes smoothly and remains on schedule. Regularly scheduled meetings with key players helps keep the project moving and holds people accountable.
  6. Establish an orientation plan. During the first year of employment, assign a physician mentor and hold regular meetings with the medical director to ensure engagement and integration into the new group and culture.
  7. Continually review the process. Create a physician survey related to the onboarding process as part of the master plan to help identify areas for improvement.

In our rapidly-changing environment, a well-planned onboarding process that serves as a structural compass before, during and after the partnership deal is done is critical to success. When a plan is in place, the organization as a whole benefits through improved employee morale and a vibrant culture that works together to put the needs of the patient first.

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