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Leadership and Clinician Retention: Baptist Memorial Hospital Case Study

Case Studies

Hospital Information

Facility: Baptist Memorial Hospital – Memphis, Tennessee

TeamHealth Services: Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine, and Orthopedic Surgery

TeamHealth Impact

  • Grew the hospital medicine team from 14 to 18 physicians over 3 years
  • Eliminated locum tenens by creating a core group of physicians following the “hiring for proper fit” process, which resulted in high physician retention
  • Established a team culture

Challenge

As the flagship facility of Baptist Memorial Health Care, Baptist Memorial Hospital – Memphis had a reliable core team of hospital medicine physicians to cover the hospital’s 500 beds. However, the busy facility was having difficulty recruiting the additional physicians needed to cover all shifts, which led to a frequent reliance on expensive locum tenens coverage—particularly for night coverage.

Solution

Baptist Memorial called on its integrated services partner, TeamHealth, for help. The TeamHealth facility medical director and associate medical director, in concert with TeamHealth’s vice president of operations, worked to create a physician-friendly environment and recruit physicians who would be a good fit with the core physician team already in place. An open and transparent line of communication was established with the physician team to ensure early notification of needs and upcoming process or procedure changes. Early notification allowed opportunities for discussion and feedback in the group’s monthly meetings, and all physicians receive invitations to provide input about and discuss solutions to challenges or workflow issues they are facing. This open group-wide approach created a sense of teamwork and ownership that has translated into a high retention rate for the team.

Results

Within three years, TeamHealth grew the hospital medicine team from 14 to 18 physicians, with only one physician leaving the practice and with the complete elimination of locum tenens. The stability and cohesion among the physician team has contributed to greater efficiency (25% improvement in wRVU per hour), strong performance on quality metrics (frequently lower than expected readmission and mortality rates), and positive relationships with the hospital’s other specialties. Instead of relying on premium labor for shift coverage, Baptist Memorial Hospital – Memphis now provides staffing support to other system facilities as well as new start-ups, enabling those facilities to also reduce their reliance on locum tenens.

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