Physician Practice

Employee retention a bigger challenge in growing economy

Physician Practice Insider, May 17, 2016

The factors affecting employee retention can vary based on a number of concerns. For some practices, the region they operate in can affect employee expectations and turnover.

“An employee in an urban area who is younger may just see their position as a stepping stone,” says Tom Flatt, director of communications and publications for the American Medical Group Associationin Alexandria, Virginia. “But the same employee in a rural area who has a family and children may be perfectly content with their position. In the Midwest, it’s not unusual to find people who have been with the same practice for decades.”

Some positions are more prone to employee turnover than others. The two positions cited most often are front office employees and medical assistants, including physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

“Front desk employees are notoriously difficult to keep and train,” says Andy Swanson, vice president of consulting services for Medical Group Management Association in Englewood, Colorado. “The person who smiles and welcomes patients to your office is extremely important.”

Michael L. Munger, MD, a family physician and vice president of medical affairs for primary care at Saint Luke’s Medical Group in Overland Park, Kansas, notes that front office help is essential to the workflow of an office in a number of ways. “They are the first person a patient sees, and if they are unhappy or surly, that sets the tone for the patient during their entire appointment,” he says. Munger adds that front desk workers also play an important role in relaying information to nurses and doctors about whether a patient appears to be upset or having any other problems when he or she enters the office.

This article was originally published in Physician Practice Perspectives. Subscribers can read the full article in the June 2016 issue.

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