Looking back ten years, there have been momentous leaps in society, be it technology or lifestyle-based. Netflix was only just starting to offer streaming content. Job positions like app developer and social media manager were only concepts in the most forward-thinking minds. And can you believe how we survived until now without avocado toast?
The healthcare industry has also seen significant shifts during this time period, many of which have impacted physician recruitment. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was in infancy just seven years ago, but its growth and subsequent expansion of care has contributed to the recurring challenge of physician supply vs. patient demand.
Surgical robots and bionic limbs seemed like something only possible in futuristic films. Stem cell research and epigenetics, now commonplace terms in the medical field, were once overwhelmingly controversial. Such advancements have required a need to fill highly-specialized fields with qualified candidates.
In short, a lot has changed.
Here are a few of the most impactful developments in physician recruitment over the last decade.
Reach & Refined Quality Of Candidate
Digital capabilities have expanded reach beyond what was possible a decade ago. Recruiters once had to rely on print publications, direct mail, and a rolodex of potential candidates. Now, recruiters can connect with prospective hires almost anywhere in the world using a multichannel marketing strategy.
Access to this larger, more diverse pool—whether domestic or global—provides increased competitiveness in a shrinking market. It also allows recruiters to find the most qualified candidates; physicians who possess the skills required by hiring health systems.
Access to this larger, more diverse pool—whether domestic or global—provides increased competitiveness in a shrinking market.
In previous years, prior to the physician shortage, recruiters could take a slightly more relaxed approach. They considered a candidate’s curriculum vitae, shared basic info about the health system, and if it seemed a good fit, perhaps an offer was made. Now, extensive promotional tools are created to inform candidates about a hospital’s culture, community, and employment benefits, as well as what the greater regional community has to offer. Utilizing everything from video presentations to audience identity management technology, recruiters now have a more robust promotional toolbox from which to build new-hire success.
Social Media & Mobile
The evolution of social networking entities like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn has opened up endless opportunities for connecting with potential candidates. Again, this goes back to the idea of "reach" but is somewhat its own animal in that it casts a net to the unintended. For example, a physician’s spouse might pick up on a post his friend shared about health systems hiring in sunny San Diego, and suddenly a conversation ensues. That wasn’t readily available five to ten years ago.
Mobile has also made physicians more accessible. Doctors increasingly use smartphones and tablets to check email and browse the Internet, which makes sense since they’re always on the go. The key here is to optimize for mobile. You can’t risk rendering issues or messages being blocked due to limitations of email platforms or outdated mobile technology.
A Focus On Retention
A final consideration in the changing landscape is the focus on retention within health systems and hospitals. A large factor for both finding new hires and retaining existing physicians is whether or not the CEO is "physician friendly," something that wasn’t given much weight previously.
The CEO plays a significant role in the recruiting process in terms of physicians' perception of the organization and physician culture. A pro-physician CEO—one who is communicative with medical staff and doesn’t hole away in an office, unavailable and aloof—can more easily attract new hires and keep existing staff in place.
One way CEOs can accomplish this positive rapport is by using email and other digital means to keep essential lines of communication open.
The Goals Are The Same, But The Game Has Changed
The goal of physician recruitment hasn’t really changed—finding individuals who have the right balance of education, required specialties, and customer service skills to appropriately meet the needs of patients. But, the manner in how those individuals are discovered, engaged, and turned into new hires has advanced—and will continue to advance—in years to come.
In the second blog of this two-part series, I’ll discuss how each of these areas of physician recruitment will continue to change and progress in 2018. In the meantime, if you’re attending the ISPR Midwest Recruiters Conference in Chicago, Nov. 9-10, be sure to stop by and say hello to all of us at the DMD booth.