IHS Retention Briefs | Volume 3 — Issue 8
September 2016
Photo of Employees

Just as time has introduced a new generation of providers, there’s a new generation of patients.

How Health Care Professionals Learn About Job Opportunities - The proof is in the numbers. Nearly two-thirds of health professional applicants search online for jobs. 87% — Online job sites, 33% — Friends, 30% — Recruiters, 25% — Former coworkers, 23% — Social media, 22% — Current coworkers, 16% — Networking events, 7% — Conferences, 6% — Family. (Respondents could choose more than one.)
A New Generation of Health Care

A new generation is coming of age and it’s likely that by 2025 the majority of your facility’s providers will be millennials who have a different set of values than the older generation to whom you are accustomed. As a facility leader, you may need to adapt your facility’s culture to retain millennials. This could entail more collaborative efforts such as team approaches, open communication and flexible scheduling. Also, your work environment should be up-to-date with the latest technology and training for staff. This includes using social media for recruitment and retention: identifying someone to maintain Facebook, LinkedIn and even Twitter accounts regularly to promote your facility, Area and IHS, as well to attract technology-savvy millennials, while keeping your own professional staff engaged.


Just as time has introduced a new generation of providers, there’s a new generation of patients, one whose purchasing power continues to grow and has increasing influence on health care. According to a recent survey, health care facility staff must start thinking about new ways to approach millennials who think more like retail consumers across all industries than simply as patients. This means providing more one-on-one, high-quality patient care and greater access to care through telemedicine, satellite clinics and health centers.

What Today’s Patients Want
They want their health care fast.
They do their homework.
They trust but avoid doctors.
They want upfront estimates.
They listen to other patients.
They are leading health tech trends.
They view health holistically.

Source: Seven Ways Millennials are Changing the Health Care Industry and What It Means to You,
Hitchcock, Fleming and Associates, 2015.

What This Means

Changes in patient demographics, increased knowledge through social media, better access to care through satellite clinics, more efficient scheduling and technology-driven enhancements including telemedicine are shaping the way providers and patients think about health care.

While these factors influence where health care is going, ensuring access to care, establishing relationships with patients, maintaining ongoing communication with patients and empowering them to manage their own health brings tremendous satisfaction to providers. By working closely with your providers to establish patient/provider interaction goals, set parameters to make your office and patient schedule work more efficiently and provide training and support to promote improved patient care, you will go a long way toward retaining your highly skilled providers.

What IHS is Doing
Improving Patient Care

The Indian Health Service (IHS) launched the Improving Patient Care (IPC) program in 2008 to improve the quality of health care and to provide greater access to care for American Indians and Alaska Natives through the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model. Now, eight years after the launch, IPC continues to achieve success in improving patient access to care, implementing clinical quality-control enhancements and ensuring patient satisfaction.

IPC assesses its work through measures of clinical prevention screenings, management and prevention of chronic conditions, the patient care experience and patient access to care. Since launched, IPC has increased clinical prevention screenings for hypertension and depression, established outreach for victims of domestic/intimate partner violence and developed measures to track patient satisfaction. IPC participants continuously strive to improve the quality of care and use data to drive all improvement activities.

To date, 174 sites participate in the IPC Program. IPC seeks to transform the Indian health system by developing high-performing, innovative, patient-centered teams to improve the quality and delivery of care. These new standards of health care delivery will strengthen relationships among IHS and the Tribes, the care team, patients, their families and their communities. These types of programs can also lead to improved provider satisfaction, which impacts recruitment and retention of providers.

Retention Success Stories

You have a number of options when creating and implementing an employee retention program. For your reference, we’ve included descriptions of successful retention programs operated by a private agency and a national human resources organization.

Allegiance Health

Henry Ford Allegiance Health, an award-winning, community-owned health system in Jackson, MI, operates a highly structured, successful provider retention program. The program begins with a coordinated relocation process that manages moving details for the new employee, including working with the moving company and facilitating utility setup. Allegiance Health also works with local or state boards to fast track the credentialing process so the provider can begin practicing as soon as he or she arrives. Upon arrival, a new provider is greeted by a physician liaison, as well as a spousal support staff member.

What’s more, Allegiance Health sends out introductory letters to other physicians in the area to enhance the new provider’s referral network. The organization arranges to place introduction posters with the physician’s photo and background throughout the facility and hand delivers them to nursing stations. During the first year, the provider and liaison meet within 30, 60 and 90 days to review the provider’s satisfaction with the community and facility.

Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Washington, DC, is the largest US-based membership organization devoted to human resource management. SHRM offers a suite of effective practices to help achieve retention goals. SHRM recommends beginning the retention process during recruitment, specifically providing applicants with realistic visions of life and work at your facility during the interview process. Selecting an applicant based on previous life experience, such as tenure at previous jobs, involvement in clubs and organizations and educational experience may lead to improved retention. Choose an applicant whose interests match those that could be fulfilled by working at your facility. For example, an employee with memberships in a hiking club may be a better fit than someone who prefers membership at a state-of-the-art gym. Socialization within the community, a personalized onboarding program, mentorships and social activities are critical to integrating new employees into the community, making them more likely to stay at your facility.

The policy of the IHS is to provide absolute preference to qualified Indian applicants and employees who are suitable for federal employment in filling vacancies within the IHS. IHS is an equal opportunity employer.

If you received this email from a friend and would like to join our list: SUBSCRIBE.