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Case Study

How HIAE Used Mentorship to Retain Early-Tenure Physicians

15 Minute Read


The challenge

Newly graduated physicians were eager to work in the emergency department (ED) at HIAE (Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein). But many of them viewed the role as a short-term stepping-stone that would help them set up their own independent practices. As a result, few ED physicians went on to have careers within the HIAE system, with most leaving within five years. Poor retention was also tied to the limited “soft skill” development of early-tenure ED physicians, which hampered their ability to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues.

The organization

Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein is a multispecialty, private nonprofit hospital in São Paulo, Brazil, with Joint Commission International accreditation. It employs a workforce of 13,000 including over 1,300 physicians, of whom roughly 300 work within the emergency department (ED).

The approach

In 2017, HIAE developed a physician mentorship program for early-tenure physicians and piloted it within the ED before expanding it across the organization. The program supports new physicians within the first year of tenure and is based around monthly, one-hour meetings between mentor and mentee.

The result

The mentorship program has a 90-point Net Promoter Score from participants and has been rolled out to physicians across HIAE. Altogether, 152 physicians have passed through the mentorship program since 2017. Since the start of the program, turnover rates have fallen by 36% (from 25% to 16%). Similar mentorship programs are now being considered for non-physician clinical staff.



How HIAE structured its physician mentorship program around a clearly defined set of goals

Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein’s physician mentorship program was designed to maximize the expertise of tenured mentors by focusing the program on career development and teaching “soft skills” like effective communication and teamwork best practices. Both mentors and mentees understand that this program was designed to facilitate meaningful discussion about personal growth, as opposed to discussing clinical skills or workplace logistics.


The four elements

The success of HIAE’s physician mentorship program came down to four main elements:

  • Element

    Create a one-stop resource hub for early-tenure physicians

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  • Element

    Embed mentorship as a key responsibility for tenured staff

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  • Element

    Equip tenured physicians with strong mentorship skills

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  • Element

    Devise a clear mentor-mentee contract

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HIAE’s physician mentorship program has produced strong results directly tied to the value early-tenure physicians received from their participation in mentorship.

  • Mentees give overwhelmingly positive feedback on program: The physician mentorship program has a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 90, meaning that a net 90% of participants valued the program positively.
  • Boost in physician retention: In 2017, the turnover rate for early-tenure physicians was 25%. By 2019, this figure had been reduced to 16%.
  • Pipeline for physician leaders: Across the four years of the program, 23 mentees have been promoted into leadership positions across the HIAE health system.
  • Continuous interest in development of the program: Since 2017, 42 physicians at HIAE have participated as mentors within the program. Notably, 16 mentees have transitioned into the role of mentor.
  • Strong impact on patient outcomes: Since the start of the mentorship program, the patient Net Promoter Score reported in the emergency department has increased from 63 to 71.

Total number of mentees who have
participated in the program since 2017

The mentor-mentee relationship has developed over time into an invisible support network, especially during the pandemic. My mentees and I have all moved into different positions across the system, but even now we still routinely reach out to one another for support and advice. In effect, our mentorship has transformed into partnership.

Dr. Fernando Ramos de Mattos, mentor of first cohort, 2017

Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein


Supporting artifacts

DNA Einstein Mindmap

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