Use a multidimensional approach to find quality physicians

During the recruitment process, hospitals often narrowly and incorrectly define a quality physician as one who provides excellent technical care—a good medical school, a renowned residency program, and stellar letters from program directors are the entrance ticket onto the medical staff. Certainly a physician’s quality of training and technical skills are important, but to end at this point is to overlook the fact that the right quality physician needs to be defined using multiple dimensions of performance.

Defining the right quality of physicians using a multidimensional performance framework is an important yet often overlooked consideration in the medical staff strategic development and planning process. In best-practice organizations, the physician recruitment/retention function is tightly integrated with the medical staff services department, which can expertly evaluate excellent and competent physicians using a multidimensional performance framework. For example, The Joint Commission adapted the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s (ACGME) competencies for residents as a comprehensive framework to measure physician competence. To evaluate physicians using a multidimensional framework, such as the one suggested by The Joint Commission and ACGME, hospitals should establish clear expectations of performance under each of the six competencies, which are:

  • Medical knowledge
  • Patient care
  • Professionalism
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Systems-based practice
  • Practice-based learning and improvement

When evaluating candidates during the recruitment process, these competencies must be addressed up front using as many methods as possible. This can include written references, direct phone calls, Internet searches, and behavior-based interviews.