How to Fix Your Healthcare Performance Review Process

All performance reviews are not equal. How you review employees should differ depending on what industry you’re in.

That’s certainly the case when it comes to the best practices for performance evaluations in healthcare.

Healthcare organizations face unique challenges during a healthcare performance review. The article below will dive into some answers to address these challenges:

  • Exactly how can you improve the review process?
  • What healthcare performance review template is best? 
  • How should healthcare reviews differ from reviews in other industries?

You’ll find the answers to these questions below. Let’s start with some information on why performance evaluations in healthcare matter.

Why Do Performance Evaluations Matter in Healthcare?

Performance reviews in healthcare are often put at the bottom of the to-do list. It can be hard to justify focusing on the performance review process when you're stretched for time. It's even harder to justify a review process if you're dealing with staff shortages. But, we would argue these are the very reasons why healthcare professionals need reviews.

Healthcare can feel like a thankless job with workers reporting record-high rates of burnout. Between 35 and 54 percent of U.S. nurses and physicians have reported serious symptoms of burnout. More than a third of nurses planned to leave their jobs before the end of 2022.

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A clinical or hospital employee performance evaluation can help. It allows you to recognize the dedication of your hardest-working employees, making them feel like valued members of the team. It enables you to build better relationships too. Employees should regularly check in with their direct reports and members of HR. That way, the entire team can create a more positive work environment.

Opportunities for feedback are important too. Here are some best practices for performance evaluations in healthcare: 

  • Space for employees to express their concerns
  • Space for employees to bring up issues as they arise
  • Space for employees to help brainstorm potential solutions to problems.

Feeling like a valued member of the team and working in a positive environment has the potential to ease systemic challenges. You can reduce burnout, which in turn can reduce employee turnover.

What Kind of Healthcare Performance Review Is Best?

Performance evaluations matter in healthcare. So which healthcare performance review template should you use?

Here are the top three healthcare performance review template ideas:

  • Self-evaluation
  • 360 Peer review
  • 90-Day review


Self-evaluations can be helpful in any industry, but they are a must in the healthcare industry. Physicians, nurses, therapists, and other healthcare workers want to make a difference in people’s lives. They are highly educated and know the impact their job has on patients and the community. That makes them driven to reflect on their performance in a meaningful way—as long as they are provided with the opportunity.

When you choose self-evaluation questions carefully, employees can reflect on their performance. The right questions also let managers see how employees critique themselves. Some employees can be overly confident in their competence. Managers can focus on any small critiques the employee did have and bring up ones they glossed over. For a humble employee, it might be important to the time to highlight positives they may have missed.

360 Peer Review

Healthcare professionals don’t just impact the lives of patients. They impact the lives of everyone around them. 360 peer reviews can help you determine the extent of that impact in the clinic or the hospital. They are the best way to see how each employee fits into the larger team, and whether or not they are going above and beyond to help out other team members.

A word of caution—360 peer reviews are only effective if you’re using performance management software to facilitate the reviews. Without an electronic system, it’s hard to do any of the important tasks associated with 360s. That includes:

  • Collecting multiple reviews from each employee
  • Organizing reviews by department
  • Reviewing each form one at a time

It’s much better to use a digital system that can collect, organize, and store the review forms for you.

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90-Day review

How often do you conduct reviews? The majority of healthcare leaders report meeting annually to discuss performance. In the fast-paced healthcare field, that may be all you have time for.

That’s okay for established employees, but it’s not a good strategy for new hires.

A 90-day review is a critical step in the onboarding process for new nurses, doctors, and assistants. New hires are likely to feel overwhelmed and unsure of themselves. A review after just 90 days gives employees a chance to pause, reflect, and address concerns about their performance. They don’t have to wait an entire year for their first review.

How Are Healthcare Performance Reviews Different From Other Industries?

A healthcare performance review usually revolves around interactions each employee has with patients. Other industries may be able to measure things like sales or projects completed. Clinical performance evaluations should tie into interactions, decisions, and outcomes regarding patient care. It’s important to find a system for organizing and analyzing this type of data.

Office employees have all-the-time access to their email, and subsequently, performance review questionnaires. Healthcare employees don't have easy access to their email or a Google Doc all day long. You can't interrupt a patient interaction or delay a patient decision for a review.

Keep this in mind when scheduling reviews. It might mean conducting reviews less frequently because your staff is so busy. You can also block out certain times in employee schedules for scheduling review meetings. Just make sure everyone is committed to sticking to it without filling that time with other tasks.

Finally, hospitals have large numbers of workers. Even small clinics have employees in vastly different roles. This can make the healthcare performance review process difficult. It’s important to have a centralized system where all review information for every employee is stored.

How Did COVID Change Performance Reviews in Healthcare?

COVID-19 forced us all to reevaluate our priorities. In the healthcare field, a lot of peripheral operations and tasks got put on the back burner. Patient care and employee safety became more important than ever.

As the pandemic wore on, more and more people left the healthcare field. Almost one in five healthcare workers has quit since the pandemic started. This has resulted in employee shortages that leave everyone strapped for time. Doctors, nurses, and support staff are scrambling to cover the work that’s left behind. It can be difficult to justify having a performance review process when everyone is struggling to stay caught up in their day-to-day work.

That’s not all. The pandemic has changed the way we all work. The number of people working from home tripled between 2019 and 2021. Work-from-home opportunities are expected to continue growing. Some hospital workers, like HR departments, can work from home. Nurses and doctors are at the hospital working with patients in person. This disconnect can make the review process challenging.

Don’t let COVID and the demands of the healthcare field make you give up on a hospital employee performance evaluation process! These challenges can be overcome so you can support and encourage your employees to meet their goals.

How to Improve Your Healthcare Performance Review Process

You can improve your healthcare performance review process without compromising review quality.

Our top tips include:

  • Move everything online
  • Get some automated help for your HR department
  • Roll informal feedback into annual reviews

Move everything online

Gathering and storing review documentation the old-fashioned way is confusing, time-consuming, and frustrating. It’s frustrating for your employees too. Employees want transparency and visibility. They don’t want to be removed from the process. 

Move all documentation to a specialized performance management platform. It allows you to centralize every piece of the review process, from gathering reviews to feedback to improvement plans. You’ll be able to see every relevant document alongside corresponding review forms. Nothing falls through the cracks, no matter how large your healthcare organization is.

Automate your performance review process with PerformYard.Learn More

An online platform makes it easier for nurses, doctors, and other personnel to fill out review forms at their convenience. The platform allows employees to fill out forms from a mobile device. It gives them a centralized place to access their review information too. They can see the review process unfold in real time, doing away with the surprises that are common during old-fashioned reviews.

Get some automated help for your HR department

Automating what you can is a good strategy for any business. It works for hospitals and clinics too! Automated help is the answer if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of people, reviews, and forms you’re dealing with regularly.

A platform like PerformYard allows you to automate when reviews are scheduled for every member of the team in every department. It provides everyone with an automated notification when it’s time to fill out a form. PerformYard also sends out email reminders to employees when review time is getting close. Plus, it automatically synthesizes all healthcare performance review data into easy-to-read charts.

HR shouldn't have to remind people to fill out reviews. Let PerformYard handle it.Learn More

It does all of the minutiae for you so you can focus on creating meaningful reviews and supporting your employees to meet their goals.

Roll informal feedback into annual reviews

A lot of stuff happens in a single day in the healthcare field. It’s even harder to wrap your head around all of the things that take place in a week, a month, or a year. It can be hard to remember patient experiences, patient outcomes, and coworker interactions when it’s time for a mid-year or annual review.

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Dedicated performance management software lets managers store feedback in an employee’s profile. This simplifies the process of collecting data. During reviews, managers can pull up this feedback and remember something they wanted to mention at review time.

6 Healthcare Performance Review Templates:

Click the link below to download six performance review templates that you can use at your healthcare organization.

Six Essential Performance Review Templates for 2023

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