As health systems recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, they face an ever-worsening provider shortage. Last year, the Association of American Medical Colleges predicted the U.S. would see a shortfall of up to 122,000 physicians by 2032. Now, lost revenue due to the pandemic has caused many hospitals to furlough employees and slowed, or completely delayed, recruitment efforts. The end result will be unprecedented demand for providers unlike what hospitals have ever dealt with before.
The lack of funding from cancelled elective procedures and high costs associated with treating COVID-19 patients were financially devastating for healthcare systems around the country. In May, the American Hospital Association estimated that hospitals were losing more than $50 billion per month. The U.S. Labor Department reported that 1.4 million healthcare workers lost their jobs in April. Nearly 135,000 of those job losses were in hospitals.
Even prior to the pandemic, healthcare leaders had been increasingly worried about their ability to fill key provider positions. According to J.P. Morgan’s 2019 Healthcare Industry Outlook, 97% of senior healthcare executives were concerned about the provider shortage and 35% listed it as one of their top three challenges.
In this blog, we’ll outline some of the changes on the horizon for healthcare recruiting and the ways recruitment firms employ innovative solutions to fill key roles in hospitals and health organizations.
Virtual Recruiting Will Become the Norm
Some of the biggest challenges for recruiters during this time are travel restrictions and in-person meeting limitations. Just as many other industries have turned to virtual meetings, so have healthcare systems and recruiters.
Many health systems have pivoted to an entirely virtual recruitment process, utilizing virtual job fairs and online job sites to identify potential candidates. If the candidate is deemed a possible fit for the organization, they’ll advance to phone and Zoom video interviews with key decision makers. Their final interview will take place in-person, with COVID-19 screening and social distancing guidelines.
The innovation doesn’t end there. In order to obtain buy-in from a candidate, the health systems offer video tours and photos of the facility they’ll be working in, as well as the opportunity to talk with future colleagues for a more personal look into the organization. Recruiters have also partnered with local realtors to provide candidates information on the community and available housing options—all through a virtual screen.
Health Systems Will Shift Hiring Priorities, Optimize Screening Processes
There is a staggering amount of provider positions that need to be replaced, and it is going to take an extended period of time to fill these roles. To ensure health systems are providing the best possible care to their patients, they will need to prioritize which key positions are on the top of their list.
This prioritization will also extend to the screening process. Health systems and recruiters will need to work together to establish which skills and experience are most important in potential candidates. As telehealth continues to rise in popularity, possessing a “virtual bedside manner” will also become essential. Consulting with patients and colleagues through video will require providers to be highly attentive and empathetic. Recruiters will make greater use of behavioral interviewing to ensure candidates possess soft skills and high levels of emotional intelligence.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major setbacks for health systems that were already contending with provider shortages. However, they are not alone in their struggle. With the help of an experienced recruitment firm, advanced technology, and streamlined recruitment practices, hospitals can recoup their losses and find talented individuals to provide the much-needed care our nation needs to heal and move forward.