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Attracting Doctors: How to Win the Physician Shortage Battle

Posted on Jul 31, 2019 by Lori Boyer

    Attracting doctors is going to be one of the biggest challenges of the next decadeIf you’ve tried hiring a new physician in recent times, you may have noticed a trend—young physicians are in high demand! If fact, 65 percent of new residents say that they received more than 50 job offers. And nearly half—45 percent—saw more than 100 offers! Experts estimate that within the next decade, there will be a shortage of up to 49,300 primary care physicians and 72,700 specialty physicians in the U.S. alone. It’s no wonder hiring has become so challenging.

    A big piece to the successfully attracting the talent you need is figuring out what these young physicians want (and making sure you provide it!). Recently, Merritt Hawkins conducted the 2019 Survey of Final-Year Medical Residents asking them just that. There were a few key takeaways from the survey. So, without further ado, here are some of the things physicians are looking for in a healthcare organization (and some tips on providing those features).

    Work-life balance.

    Everyone wants enough personal time. Unfortunately, for physicians this can be notoriously difficult to come by. Burnout rates and physician dissatisfaction are at all-time high levels. With most physicians working 40 to 60 hours per week and nearly 20 percent reporting 61 to 80 hours each week, after sleep, for many there simply isn't much time for any life outside of work. 

    Healthcare organizations that provide a good work-life balance all have one thing in common: good time-management skills. Effective time-management involves setting both long- and short-term goals, planning and organizing, and not engaging in time-wasting activities.This may include a daily "huddle" about patients each day, preparing electronic health record templates, making clinic checklists, and taking advantage of time-saving technologies.

    In addition, an organization can offer creative benefits to physicians. Things like the ability to work just 3 or 4 days per week, access to services that cover household responsibilities such as cleaning, shopping, or chores, required time-off, work from home options, and flexible hours are all ways to make your organization more attractive. 

    As for the hours a physician is at work, it is critical to cultivate a culture of friendliness. Try to create an Cultivate an atmosphere of fun and friendlinessenvironment where employees are happy and like one another. This makes the hours spent in the office much more pleasant. 

    Help with the business side of medicine.

    When it comes to running the business side of a healthcare practice, residents said they felt:

    • Very prepared: 8 percent
    • Somewhat prepared: 54 percent
    • Unprepared: 38 percent

    The majority of residents said that they never received any formal training on these topics in medical school. You can make this easier for incoming physicians by having certain processes in place prior to hiring a physician. Start by having the staff necessary to cover different facets of the business. A strong support team surrounding physicians can make a huge difference when it comes to running all the different sides of the business. In addition, you can create calendars of conferences and classes potential physicians can attend to gain some of these skills. 

    Financial success.

    Of course, earning a good income is one of the top concerns for physicians young and old. Creating a healthcare organization that is financially successful requires streamlined processes and a thriving patient base. Part of owning your own business is figuring out what makes you different than the competition and marketing that to your patients. Your healthcare organization should designate the "ideal" patient and gear your marketing efforts towards that ideal. You should also take the time to create a unique brand that will resonate with your ideal patient. Studies show that people (including patients!) look for companies and brands that are consistent in their messaging and reliability.

    For example, you may decide that your practice will have better, more thorough communication than your competitors. Once this has been decided, you make communication an important aspect of everything you do. You regularly send newsletters. You shoot off text messages to check on how patients are doing. You reach out on social media and interact with patients that way. You learn how to be the best "in-person" communicators--mastering things like eye contact, body language, and empathy. 

    Or perhaps you decide to be the practice that uses the latest technology. This means that not only do you have the best technology for diagnosis and treatment, but also for patient access. You use technology to offer online scheduling, access to records, digital prescription options, and even telehealth. 

    Whatever way you decide to make your practice stand out, it is important to have SOMETHING in place when hiring. This shows potential physicians that you are likely to be a place that will bring the financial success they want.

    For more tips on standing out from the competition, you can read the "Top 10 Tips to Create the Best Patient Experience."

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    Lori Boyer

    Lori Boyer

    Lori Boyer has spent over a decade developing content and customer strategy for a wide variety of companies. She especially loves "walking a mile" in the shoes of her target audience. At Solutionreach we focus on relationships - building and maintaining them. She does the same. Lori Boyer is a lover of crisp fall mornings, a good book, and just about anything Beauty and the Beast related.

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