~ Recruiting physicians in an ASC ~
1) Do my research. I research potential surgeons on line, try to find their bio, website, video or recent article. I especially like ranking sites, like Yelp and Healthgrades. If the information on these sites is current it tells me the physician has an awareness of his/her practice and our marketplace. I look for specifics such as is the website in English and Spanish, do they offer transportation, free parking, and other amenities. Patient centered practices are a good fit for us.
2) Ask my vendors for leads. I interface with many vendors and regard them as important stakeholders. If I’m looking for a specific specialty I ask them if they know of a physician who may be interested in learning about our Center. I am not shy about asking my vendors for an introduction, the name of the practice manager, and what is the best way to connect with the physician. I always make sure to thank the person who gave me the lead, and periodically let them know the outcome, such as, the doctor has applied for privileges, or the physician has decided to continue to stay put at this present hospital. Never pass on an opportunity to thank the folks who support your work.
3) Schedule recruitment time, as you would any other activity on your calendar. I spend 2 days out of my week on physician relations activity. Most of this time, I’m physically out of the Center visiting physician offices. I seldom make appointments, preferring to drop in. I enjoy talking to the office staff, thanking the surgical coordinator and just asking how are we doing with your patients. I still hear, “you are the only Administrator who ever visits us”. Not such a bad distinction.
4) Be relentless. Physician recruitment is a dynamic endeavor and requires participation from the medical staff. Engaging our Board of Directors and letting them know who my physician targets are, what surgeon is interested in joining the medical staff, and discussing with them practical issues, such as OR efficiency, is vital to successfully integrating new surgeons. I deliberately overshare my intentions, making a big deal of every new doctor, asking physician partners to call the new surgeon to welcome them, and arrange for same specialty surgeon to be at the Center the first time the surgeon performs a procedure. Saying no, I’m too busy for this, just means I’m going to keep asking.
5) Promote your weaknesses for greater engagement. Everyone talks about the good stuff. When talking to potential surgeons I frequently point out the Center’s shortfalls to make a lasting point. Such as, “we are so compact, there is no surgeon lounge. But if you have time to sit, then we are not doing our job and turning the operating rooms quickly enough”. I have learned these discussions tend to stick and provides balance to all the other Center’s positive attributes. It was a newly recruited surgeon that suggested turning our small closet into a dictation room. Surgeons like problem solving.
6) Make it easy for doctors to find you. Letting existing and potential surgeons to the staff know what the center is doing can have a lasting impact. I don’t have a marketing budget, so I look for low cost promotions, such as keeping the website current, creating colorful internal reports or forwarding articles of interest to the medical staff, writing a blog, or articles for local newspapers or Medical Association magazine- all efforts that have attracted physicians that otherwise would not know about the Center. I create my own content for these. I wrote an article for the local newspaper stating the Center had achieved 3 year AAAHC accreditation. I took the information the AAAHC sent in their press release, added my own blurb about the Center, called the reporter, and pitched the story that only 3 out 10 ASCs in our community are accredited. 2 days after the article was published, I had a plastic surgeon stop by to say congratulations and “how can I get on the medical staff”.
Maria B. Freed, MHSA, Administrator at Coral Gables Surgery Center a Meridian Surgical Partners facility. www.coralgablessurgery.com
Ms. Freed will be speaking at a panel discussion on Being A Great Administrator at Becker’s 24th Annual Business and Operations of ASCs Meeting in Chicago. Oct. 26-28, 2017
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