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[Infographic Guide] 4 Things to Know About Physician Succession Planning

Jackson Physician Search
November 22, 2021

We recently surveyed physicians and administrators to gain insight into physician recruitment, engagement, retention, and succession planning and published the results in our [White Paper] Getting Ahead of Physician Turnover in Medical Practices Survey. We learned that only 16% of administrators reported having a formal, written physician succession plan, and yet, they rank the importance of having one a 7.5 on a scale of 0-10. Continue reading to learn the types, elements, objectives, and steps to creating an effective physician succession plan.


4 Things to Know About Physician Succession Planning

Newest data from Jackson Physician Search and MGMA White Paper: Getting Ahead of Physician Turnover in Medical Practices

Why Every Organization Needs a Physician Succession Plan

More than 2 of every 5 active physicians will be age 65+ within the next 10 years.

61% of physicians are currently experiencing burnout. 62% of physicians report that their burnout is caused by their employer, while only 14% of administrators think the same.

On average, physicians rate their satisfaction with their employer at a 5.5 on a scale of 0-10. More than 50% ranked themselves as dissatisfied.

In the past year:

  • 46% of physicians considered leaving to work for another healthcare employer
  • 43% considered retiring early
  • 27% considered leaving medicine altogether

Only 16% of administrators reported having a formal, written physician succession plan. Yet, they rank the importance of having one a 7.5 on a scale of 0-10.

1. Three Most Important Elements of a Physician Succession Plan

  • Recruitment plan to replace retiring physicians
  • Transition plan for retiring physicians who want to work part-time in the practice
  • Mentor programs to minimize the experience gap that results when a tenured physician is replaced by a younger provider

2. Three Most Important Objectives of a Physician Succession Plan

  • Meeting patient demand
  • Strengthening culture
  • Forecasting future recruitment needs

3. Every Organization Needs Two Types of Physician Succession Plans

1. Long-term Succession Plan

Physician turnover is inevitable, but often you have time to plan for their departure. Because some specialties take much longer to recruit than others, it is critical to have a formal, written succession plan to minimize gaps in coverage.

2. Emergency Succession Plan

Some physician departures come as a surprise, leaving an immediate gap in coverage. The emergency succession plan identifies a physician who could take charge for a short time, while a long-term permanent replacement is hired and trained.

4. Five Steps to Creating a Physician Succession Plan

1. Survey your physicians to learn about their retirement plans.
2. Involve shareholders to create buy-in and alignment.
3. Consider internal candidates to determine if an external search is necessary.
4. Have a strong onboarding program and mentor incoming physicians.
5. Prioritize positions that have the biggest impact on the health of your practice; start recruiting early

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