Best Practices for Recruiting New Physicians
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many medical practices are facing the challenges of finding new physicians, and according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the physician shortage will become progressively worse. By 2025, the U.S. will face a shortage of more than 130,600 physicians. In addition, an estimated 250,000 physicians are likely to retire by 2020. The demand for services is likely to increase, as indicated by the estimated 32 million Americans who entered the health care system with coverage in 2014. Primary care doctors, in particular, are in high demand.
That means that your medical practice faces fierce competition to attract physicians. Don’t wait until a physician retires or leaves your medical group to implement practical steps now that will help you weather the oncoming storm. Following are some things to keep in mind:
Practice makes perfect?
Well, maybe not perfect, but you need to be sure that your practice is one where a new physician would want to work. Emphasize the positive aspects of your practice. If your practice has problems with negative rankings on popular review sites, look into reputation management to help improve your online presence. Remember: potential new physicians will also be checking out your online profile . . . and that includes reviews. If you don’t know how you’re perceived by the general public, make that your first step toward physician recruitment.
Also make sure your practice is taking advantage of innovative new technology that many younger physicians and recent medical school graduates value. Most younger physicians are also very technically savvy and may be leery of joining a practice that is not computer-centric.
All in the family
Remember that you are not just recruiting the physician; you are recruiting his or her family as well. Be sure to provide information on schools, realtors, recreational activities and other things about your area. Take the family on a brief tour of the area and take them out to a restaurant. You may wish to work with the local tourism bureau or the chamber of commerce.
A team approach
Organize a physician recruitment team, and designate one person as the main point of contact for potential doctors. This employee should have solid customer service skills and the ability to make a positive first impression. It is also important to follow up on promising applicants immediately—don’t let their CVs go for weeks without being answered!
Some hospitals may also help pay for the cost of recruitment if there is a demonstrated need for that specialty in the community. An in-house recruiter may also be well-worth the investment, and in some cases, hospitals may assist or pay for the cost of using an independent search firm.
Of course, these are only some of the many tips that can help you. If your practice has not seriously considered the impact of the upcoming physician shortage, this would be a good time to take stock of your medical office and ask yourself what makes this a great place to work?