Healthcare organizations are leveraging mobility strategies to help fill their talent gaps.
By Michael Krasman
There has been a lot of buzz about the growing shortage of physicians in the U.S.—in fact, a deficit of as many as 90,000 physicians is predicted in the next decade, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
This is an alarming development, especially given the unique recruiting challenges that the healthcare industry already faces. With demand steadily outpacing supply, this deficit poses a threat to recruiting and hiring initiatives for hospitals and healthcare providers across the nation.
These metrics are indicators not only of what’s to come but also of issues that need to be addressed sooner rather than later, including the rise of hospital vacancy rates for physicians, nurses, and staff.
“Texas healthcare facilities are dealing with a formidable deficit when it comes to the recruitment of emergency room physicians,” says Dr. Jay Woody, founder and chief medical officer of Legacy ER & Urgent Care. “While most reports indicate that the number of ER physicians in Texas has increased over the past decade, so has the burgeoning population of the state. In the past five years alone, the population of Texas has grown by 10.9 percent.”
This population growth is causing many challenges, says Woody, including a widening gap between the ratio of ER physicians to patients. The numbers say it all: In Texas there are currently 6.9 board-certified ER physicians per 100,000 people. The national average is at 10.1.
The Complexities of Healthcare Recruitment
One of the main reasons why medical facilities are having a hard time meeting hiring and staffing goals is the complex nature of the recruitment process. Healthcare recruiters seek top-tier talent to fill open jobs, and many of these positions require a highly-specialized skillset. The candidate pool can be limited, and there are increased federal regulations and compliance requirements to adhere to. Vetting these candidates is also a time-consuming and costly process. When hiring for medical roles, the recruitment process alone can range anywhere from nine months to one year, according to the National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network.
“Healthcare is hands-down the most regulated industry in the world,” says Dr. Kate Tulenko, health workforce expert at IntraHealth International. “Before hiring someone, you have to check with every facility they ever worked in to find if there were any quality or disciplinary problems.
You have to check every medical malpractice insurance they have had for almost their entire career. Not to mention, there are literally hundreds of different types of jobs to fill and hundreds of different types of trainings, qualifications, certificates, licenses.”
Faced with these escalating hiring challenges, how can healthcare organizations and their recruiters make certain they are filling open positions with highly-skilled and qualified staff— especially amid the inevitable hiring shortages?
It’s an often overlooked approach, but relocation allows healthcare recruiters to cast a wider net by extending their search beyond their backyard, significantly broadening their candidate pool.
Leveraging Relocation to Build Stronger Teams
In short, there are simply not enough medical professionals to fill the available positions at hospitals and healthcare facilities across the U.S. A strong and defined relocation strategy allows healthcare recruiters to find the right talent for the right position, no matter the distance, and in turn, enables healthcare providers to build the strongest teams possible.
By relying on a strategic and comprehensive relocation approach, recruiters are able to not only find the best prospects but also to attract and incentivize top physicians, nurses, and staff to relocate for a position that may be outside of their region. More importantly, a strong relocation strategy enables healthcare recruiters to get ahead in today’s competitive hiring market and build a world-class workforce.
Forward-thinking healthcare providers are already taking initiative to recruit outside of their vicinity to improve hiring efficiency. At Legacy ER & Urgent Care, Woody is implementing strategies to address the hiring concerns he is facing. “Facilities all over Texas are feeling the brunt of this shortage as it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to hire ER physicians,” he explains. “We are dedicated to providing the very best care for our patients, and staffing our facilities accordingly is of the utmost importance in the pursuit of this goal.”
Woody provides three strategies they leverage in order to combat the shortfall:
• Recruit doctors from out of state, where the talent pool of ER physicians is larger;
• Offer value-added incentives, including leadership opportunities, career growth, and very competitive salary/compensation packages; and
• Provide more flexible scheduling opportunities.
By prioritizing out-of-state recruiting and taking a more proactive—versus reactive—approach, Legacy ER & Urgent Care is tapping into markets where their hiring goals can be effectively reached.
Enabling Data-Driven Results
When it comes to talent management, the healthcare industry has been slower than others to adopt technology. Leveraging data and technology allows for cross-functional visibility by bringing information into one place.
By bringing data into the employee relocation and hiring strategy, healthcare recruiters can:
• Identify key trends and provide visibility into a crosssection of data;
• Recognize regions of high-value candidates;
• Provide valuable insights into cost metrics; and
• Formulate a data-driven hiring plan that tracks retention and turnover rates.
Michael Krasman is CEO and co-founder of UrbanBound.