Penn Medicine Significantly Reduces Turnover and Identifies Top Talent

Learn how HealthcareSource Staff Assessment, formerly TestSource HSI, played a signficant role in reducing turnover and identifying top talent at Penn Medicine.

About Penn Medicine

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Overview: Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System. The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation’s top 10 hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; and Pennsylvania Hospital – the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Penn Medicine also includes additional patient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region.

Employees: 15,000

HealthcareSource Solutions: HealthcareSource Staff AssessmentSM, HealthcareSource Leadership AssessmentSM

What can health care organizations do to achieve the highest HCAHPS ratings and levels of patient care and satisfaction? A growing number of them are augmenting their interviewing and hiring practices with behavioral-based, pre-employment assessments that help hire for the perfect fit.


Penn Medicine, one of the most highly regarded academic medical centers in the world, maintains a staff of 15,000 physicians, nurses, and other employees to handle over 2,000,000 outpatient and more than 120,000 emergency room visits annually. Penn Medicine is committed to safe and effective clinical care, but when Courtney Brown was hired in 2007 as the Director of Talent Acquisition, she found the organization was struggling to measure the quality of its hires.

Delivering on a commitment to excellence
According to Brown, Penn Medicine has always done a good job of hiring top talent. As a world-renowned research center, Penn Medicine is committed to delivering on its mission of providing world-class patient care and safety. Key to achieving that goal is integrating best-practice selection strategies to identify the highest-quality talent. This is especially important since the organization processes over 140,000 applications a year for its open positions. “While many people want to work at Penn Medicine, we have high expectations of our staff for going above and beyond when it comes to providing quality care. That’s why we take our hiring decisions so seriously,” says Brown. Brown spearheaded an initiative to identify the best solutions for integrating best practices in interviewing and hiring top talent at Penn Medicine.

Opting for the hands-down leader
Based on recommendations from peers in a regional health care roundtable, Brown evaluated HealthcareSource Staff AssessmentSM, formerly known as TestSource HSI.

Staff Assessment, is a behavioral-based, pre-employment assessment that evaluates critical HCAHPS competencies such as Service Excellence, Compassion, and Teamwork. In addition, Staff Assessment has also proven to help organizations increase new-hire retention. “We are invested in a relentless pursuit to improve our hiring practices, and were impressed with the fact that other health care organizations recommended Staff Assessment without hesitation. We were also struck by HealthcareSource’s deep understanding of the health care field and the challenges we face in interviewing and recruiting,” explains Brown.

After checking references, Brown was confident Staff Assessment would exceed Penn Medicine’s requirements. Satisfied that Staff Assessment was user friendly, allowed surveys to be scored uniquely based on the position applied for, and provided easy-to-use behavioral-based interview guides, Brown elected to pilot the solution with Penn Medicine’s nurse managers.

Realizing benefits across the board
Penn Medicine’s nurse managers were so happy with Staff Assessment that the vice president of operations and vice president of HR implemented Staff Assessment throughout Penn Medicine and made the assessment a standard part of the organization’s selection practice. Today, no one is hired by Penn Medicine without completing the Staff Assessment, and both recruiters and hiring managers are realizing the benefits.

Staff Assessment Feedback Report provides comparative scores, specific follow-up interview questions for low scores and a structured interview guide that utilizes best-practice selection strategies. By providing interviewers with structure and consistency, Staff Assessment builds their confidence and assists them in identifying the most qualified candidates who are the best fit for Penn Medicine.

As a result of implementing Staff Assessment, Penn Medicine has reduced turnover in the first 6 months by nearly 50%. Using a conservative cost of turnover, the savings within Penn Medicine equates to over $1,000,000 annually.

Brown understands a number of variables impact turnover but believes Staff Assessment has played a significant role in improving the quality of hire and reducing turnover. Striving for continuous improvement

Brown expects Staff Assessment to continue to help Penn Medicine reach its goal of being more proactive around long-term planning for recruiting and hiring. In addition, Penn Medicine is now piloting the HealthcareSource Leadership AssessmentSM to bring the same structure and consistency to its leadership selection process.