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Understanding Your Risk for Physician Turnover 2023
Jun 2023

Understanding Your Risk for Physician Turnover 2023

Authored by:  Jacob Jeppson, 06/09/2023 | Read Time: 4 minutes

Clinician turnover remains a major concern for healthcare organizations because high-quality clinicians make the difference for strong patient outcomes—the highest goal of healthcare. Turnover is also tied to significant financial cost. To mitigate negative impacts and improve retention, organizations must employ strategies that reduce the risk of turnover. Do you know which physicians are most likely to leave your organization? This white paper examines early data from 200+ physicians across three organizations, along with insights from 54 physicians (across all participating Collaborative organizations) who decided to stay at their organization after previously indicating plans to leave. Their experiences provide initial insights into how to identify potential turnover and which factors make the biggest difference for reducing physician turnover.

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arrow iconWant to know more about how to mitigate the impact of EHR dissatisfaction on providers’ likelihood to leave? Contact your KLAS representative or send an email to arch.collaborative@klasresearch.com.

Physician-Reported Plans to Leave Bear Out in Actual Turnover Rates

Based on an odds ratio calculation of Arch Collaborative data, physicians who indicate they are very likely to leave their organization are 15 times more likely to actually leave compared to those who report being very unlikely to leave. With this high, statistically significant correlation, organizations should feel empowered to take meaningful steps to correct the trend based on their results for this question. And when organizations’ efforts result in decreased physician-reported plans to leave, they can be confident this will bear out in actual reduced turnover.

percent of physicians who left their organization--by previously self-reported likelihood to leave

Engage Physicians at Risk of Leaving with EHR Education

Physicians who indicate plans to leave their organization can still be reached by their organization and are open to an improved experience. Even among physicians who ultimately decided to leave their health system, two-thirds expressed a strong willingness to engage with their organization by receiving more EHR education. Remarkably, this trend remains robust even when accounting for various other factors—regardless of their personal efforts to learn the EHR, overall satisfaction with EHR, previously reported plans to leave, or burnout levels, a majority of physicians express the desire to receive more EHR training. This highlights the broad importance of enabling physicians to acquire necessary skills and knowledge to effectively navigate EHR systems.

desire for more ehr training

Reversing the Trend—Insights from 54 Physicians Who Changed Their Minds about Leaving

strongest drivers behind physicians deciding to stay

Since the Arch Collaborative began measuring turnover in 2019, 54 physician respondents have had a change of heart regarding their desire to leave their organization within the next two years (i.e., originally planned to leave but later indicated they would stay). These individuals report experiencing significantly reduced after-hours workload, along with alleviation of a chaotic environment that drove burnout. Of note, the most significant improvements were regarding alerts preventing care mistakes, the EHR’s ability to support patient safety, and the EHR’s support of better patient care. Agreement with any of these metrics is correlated with a strong perception of the EHR as a high-quality product.

Comments shared by the above 54 physicians illuminate other important areas to address. These physicians specifically highlighted their efficient use of the EHR—including voice recognition, shortcuts, and macros—as a driver of improved satisfaction. While personalizing the EHR for improved efficiency may necessitate physicians investing significant time, there are strong returns for those who embrace smart phrases, personalized filters, smart orders, and a customized toolbar. Some responding physicians also highlighted improved integration with prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), the rollout of telemedicine, and secure chat features as having improved their satisfaction.

Organization-Focused Interventions

Reduce chaos in the work environment

  • Learn from your peers: Amid the many factors that contribute to a chaotic work environment, Bellin Health is tackling the EHR upgrade experience. They built schedules to prepare, test, and deliver communication and training for upgrades to make changes as easy for clinicians as possible.

Improve alerts so they better prevent care mistakes

  • Learn from your peers: Wellstar Health System works hard to provide meaningful best practice alerts (BPAs) that don’t contribute to alert fatigue. Wellstar uses a system-level committee that methodically evaluates a potential BPA’s impact. Also, Dayton Children’s Hospital uses a specific BPA committee and feedback from end users to ensure their BPAs are as effective as possible.

Individual Physician–Focused Interventions

Reduce burnout 

Reduce after-hours charting

  • Learn from your peers: A few years ago, St. Charles’ coders brought to light some charting backlogs. St. Charles began pulling data from their EHR database and generating reports by specialty in Power BI and Excel to provide the transparency and accountability needed to stay on top of chart-closure rates. Several times a week, these reports are supplied to managers and administrative directors, who then follow up with providers who start to fall behind.

Increase use of macros

  • Learn more in the Arch Collaborative report “Successful User’s Guide to High EHR Satisfaction.” Highly satisfied providers most commonly cite use of personalization tools as the reason for their success with the EHR. It is important to tailor EHR personalization to providers’ needs because doing so can enhance providers’ overall experience by making the system feel reliable and efficient.

EHR Vendor–Focused Interventions

Better enable the EHR to support patient safety 

  • Learn from your peers: Wellstar Health System maintains a culture of prioritizing patient care by using that as a lens through which they view the EHR.

Make the EHR more patient-centered 

Focus on delivering a high-quality EHR 

What Is the KLAS Arch Collaborative?

The Arch Collaborative is a group of healthcare organizations committed to improving the EHR experience through standardized surveys and benchmarking. To date, almost 300 healthcare organizations have surveyed their end users and over 380,000 clinicians have responded. Reports such as this one seek to synthesize the feedback from these clinicians into actionable insights that organizations can use to revolutionize patient care by unlocking the potential of the EHR.

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This material is copyrighted. Any organization gaining unauthorized access to this report will be liable to compensate KLAS for the full retail price. Please see the KLAS DATA USE POLICY for information regarding use of this report. © 2019 KLAS Research, LLC. All Rights Reserved. NOTE: Performance scores may change significantly when including newly interviewed provider organizations, especially when added to a smaller sample size like in emerging markets with a small number of live clients. The findings presented are not meant to be conclusive data for an entire client base.