4 Ways to Screen Physician Candidates for Emotional Intelligence

4 Ways to Screen Physician Candidates for Emotional Intelligence

3Nov, 2014

4 Ways to Screen Physician Candidates for Emotional Intelligence

The Affordable Care Act brought many changes to healthcare when it was finally implemented. From changing how care was delivered to how it was paid for and reimbursed, the ACA has forever changed the field of healthcare in the United States. One such way that it has affected healthcare was in the emphasis placed on patient satisfaction. Under the Affordable Care Act, the quality rating hospitals receive will be based at least in part on patient satisfaction. Because of this, it is now more important than ever that hospitals and health systems ensure that the physicians they recruit have a high emotional intelligence (EQ), which usually translates to more compassionate and empathetic patient care. But how do physician recruiters screen physician candidates for emotional intelligence? Below are four ways recruiters can spot high performing, emotionally intelligent physicians during the interview process.


1. Conduct a Personality Assessment


In general terms, an individual’s EQ is very closely tied to their personality, making these tests an excellent tool  for hiring physicians with a high emotional intelligence that are likely to generate high patient satisfaction scores. In fact, recent studies out of the University of Nebraska have indicated that warm, friendly physicians that are good communicators have patients who report high satisfaction with their care.With this in mind, a Personality Assessment of a prospective candidate is just as important as a Skills Assessment. 


2. Check their Training Program


With the new importance placed on interpersonal skills and bedside manner, many training programs are now taking EQ into account when selecting their residents. The programs using this approach are among the best in the country, and have realized that in order for a physician to be successful and effective in practice, they would need to have an excellent EQ. When hiring recent graduates, make sure to see if their training program is one of the many that now utilize this new approach in selecting their residents.


3. Check for Leadership Experience


Many Hospitals and Health Systems have generally taken a physician’s committment to service and excellent leadership skilled into account when promoting physicians to leadership positions. These commitments to patient service and the ability to successfully lead a team are key indicators of a physician’s emotional intelligence. Without a high EQ, it is doubtful that the physician would have the tools and skills necessary to successfully lead others, or even be selected for such a position.


4. Research Current Patient Satisfaction Scores


In today’s day and age, there are online reviews for just about anything you can think of, and physicians are no exception. There are many sites where patients can go online and score their physician in terms of patient satisfaction, using a variety of categories such as wait time and communication skills. Prior to hiring any candidates, a physician recruiter should do their due diligence and see what, if any, patient satisfaction scores they have on online sites such as healthgrades to see what their patients think about the quality of care they receive. This can give some indication of what to expect from a provider should they join your team. 



While there are training programs and courses designed to improve a provider’s emotional intelligence and therefore improve their patient satisfaction scores, many can be quite costly, especially if they need to be taken by a large number of providers at your organization. It is instead much more cost effective and efficient to hire right and screen for candidates with excellent interpersonal skills. Not only will your patient satisfaction scores improve, but patient loyalty and outcomes are also likely to improve.