A small card labeled "succession plan" pulled from a shirt pocket.

With the recent pandemic, medical practice owners have been shuffling to get their affairs in order. Running a medical business means that you have to think about potential replacements aka succession planning.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re finding replacements for when you pass away. Rather, succession planning allows you to create some exit strategy from your business, whether that exit is through retirement, moving, changing jobs, or other means.

Successional planning in the medical field can be difficult to tackle because of the legalities involved. This is not to mention the shifting of patients after one provider has moved on. To learn more about succession planning for physicians, keep reading.

The Steps to Successful Succession Planning

To move on gracefully from your medical practice, you need to have a rock-solid plan for succession planning. This doesn’t mean pushing everything together at the last minute.

Even if you don’t think you’re going to leave your current doctor’s office any time soon, you should still keep your succession plan in mind. You don’t want to be caught off guard by a sudden life change. This will leave you with very little time to get a succession plan in order.

Rather, you should start succession planning as soon as possible. Let’s talk about how to go about making that plan.

1. Be Proactive

Why not start now? Succession planning isn’t a hint that you’re going to leave your medical practice soon. Rather, it tells your colleagues that you’re trying to prepare for the future. In fact, they may be comforted by a well thought out plan.

Your coworkers will appreciate that you’re taking the time to make a plan for the future. Whether you’re planning a successor for your position or someone else’s position, they’ll be grateful for the easy transition in the future.

We should also note that succession planning doesn’t have to be an isolated event. If you’re running a medical business, you need to have a succession plan for your employees that may move on from your medical practice. You never know when you’re going to be short a med tech or find yourself with one less nurse.

2. Look Internally

Before you build a succession plan that looks to hire outside help, look internally at those already employed at your medical practice. You may be surprised at how many people are ready and willing to pick up a promotion or move to another department.

When you’re making a succession plan, you should pick current employee(s) who you’d want to shift to make up for the lost employee. You should also consider what kind of training those employees may need to fill those roles. You don’t want to push them into the position right away.

Always have a back-up plan. You may not be correct about the employee you chose wanting a promotion. You could offer a promotion and have that person turn it down.

Therefore, you should line up several candidates and plan for bringing in outside help if your internal choices don’t want to take on the new position.

3. Share Your Plan

Communicate your plans. You should let those employees know that you’ve chosen them to take on this job if anything were to happen to the current employee.

As you’re speaking with them about the succession plan, you should also mention that this plan could change at any time. You don’t want them to think that they’re going to get the job no matter what.

Letting them know your plans is just a courtesy. They shouldn’t expect a promotion or job-shift in the next few weeks.

4. Focus on Development

Professional development should already be an important part of ongoing employee training. In the medical field, professional development and learning are musts for patient safety and staff compliance.

Encourage your employees to go above and beyond while they’re working. They should be rotating jobs, completing new tasks, and learning more often.

Having regular training is a must, especially for a medical practice. In return, you’ll get employees who are ready to take on several different positions.

5. Run a Trial

If you’re looking to avoid a last-minute crisis, you should consider running a trial of the succession plan. When the employee that you’re looking to find a successor for takes a vacation, that’s the perfect time for the potential successor to get a chance at working their job.

You don’t have to force the original employee out. You should run the trial respectfully, meaning that you should tell the employee that’s on vacation that there will be someone working their position while they’re gone.

Be sure to note how the potential successor handled the position while the original employee was out. How did they handle the job? Would you still consider them as a successor for the position based on their work?

6. Fill the Gaps

It’s doubtful that your current employees can fill every single role your company needs to have a successor for. You may not have access to the right talent or simply find that you don’t have enough employees in general.

Whatever the case, you need a plan to fill the gaps. You can’t leave your employees hanging without extra help if they need it.

As you’re creating your succession plan, you need to consider what your current employees are good at. At the same time, you need to consider what other talents you may need.

For example, a medical practice may need to hire a mid-level provider and a succeeding physician to fill a gap in patient demand.

Contact DoctorsManagement to Learn

Succession Planning and Medical Practice Management

As we said, succession planning isn’t easy. However, it is necessary.

Recognizing the employee factors that your medical practice needs to thrive is essential to finding great successors for all of your employee roles. If finding these employees or recognizing these abilities isn’t your strong suit, you can depend on Doctors Management.

Our medical practice management services can help you attain the level of success you desire while protecting you and the longevity of your business. Leave the business of medicine to us.

Call Us (800) 635-4040