Why Better Physician Onboarding Leads To Higher Profits

April 16, 2015

geisinger-logo-150x150Serving the central and northeast regions of Pennsylvania, Geisinger Health System is one of the largest rural health systems in the nation, operating nine hospitals, along with a 1,200 member multi-specialty group practice, two research centers, and a 467,000-member health plan.

While some hospitals communicate with providers themselves, Geisinger decided to try a different approach, hiring Sean Duffy 12 years ago as its first physician relations representative. Now, as the system’s Director of Physician Relations, Duffy oversees a team of physician liaisons strategically located throughout the service area.

One of the most important ways the physician liaisons improve the organization’s bottom line is by streamlining the onboarding process for new providers, helping them start turning a profit as early as possible in the process.

According to Duffy, in 2009 a new physician or specialty group took 18 months on average to become self-sufficient. Part of the problem was the time it took to successfully market the doctors in their target communities once they became affiliated with Geisinger Health System.

To improve on these metrics, Duffy’s team collaborated with other departments to work with the providers much earlier, reaching out to coordinate with them and begin promoting them from the moment they signed on with Geisinger. The premise was that such early involvement would not only improve revenues but also make the physicians settle in better, and therefore reduce dreaded (and profit sapping) physician turnover.

The effort to ramp up provider promotion seems to be making a significant difference. Within two years’ time, and with critical support from the C-Suite, the physician liaison team was able to reduce the period of breaking even on new providers from 18 months down to six months. Now, several years later, this has decreased even further, with most newly onboarded physicians paying for themselves at four months, Duffy says.

“As a result [of these improvements], last year’s cost saving was just over $6 million,” he points out. “This means we went from losing millions to gaining millions just by putting our heads together in the organization.”

For more on how Geisinger executed this profit-boosting turnaround, click here to read the full article: Rural Health System Maximizes Profits Through Better Physician Onboarding; Can You Cut Your New Docs’ Time to Profit by 78%?
Matt Humphrey

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey


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