The conversation around the physician shortage is often about “the numbers,” and the complexity of meeting the needs of a patient population that is growing faster than – and aging with – the physician workforce.
When the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) issued their most recent projection of a shortage of between 40,800 and 104,900 physicians by 2030, they aptly titled it “The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand.” Their projections are based on a complex set of assumptions that factor into a projected shortage that varies in degrees of magnitude depending on location, specialty and population served. AAMC recognizes that meeting America’s goals for population health – especially for people living in underserved communities – requires the training of more physicians as well as advanced practice providers.
We also studied the symptoms of the shortage as evidenced by the highly competitive recruitment landscape. The large volume of advertised physician openings far eclipses the number of final year residents, who make up part of the dramatically smaller “recruitable pool” of physicians — or those whom recruiters will target. The result is a noisy, highly inefficient landscape that makes it difficult for physicians and organizations to connect in a meaningful way.
For the specialties in highest demand — Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Psychiatry — the numbers make it abundantly clear that many Americans go without care because they simply cannot easily access a physician.
Don’t Just Recruit the Physician – Recruit the Person
Hospitals engagement in medical staff planning requires a methodical analysis of community needs and a projection of the number and types of physicians and other providers in the particular specialties that are required to meet that need. These plans are most often based on market share, physician-to-population ratios, expected work RVUs, patient throughput, bundled payments, payer reimbursement and a host of data-driven factors that will green light bringing new physicians to your community.
But, the reality is, physicians are people, not numbers. They have families, friends, hobbies and interests that are important to them. Their individual needs, motivations, values and work styles significantly influence how and where they will choose to practice medicine.
Likewise, a medical staffing plan is not a recruitment strategy. They must be aligned, of course. But to get ahead – and stay ahead—of the physician shortage, your recruitment strategy must focus on:
- A rewarding workplace
- Strong organizational culture
- Non-traditional incentives
- Recruitment process efficiency
- Hiring for fit – and retention
Trends Driving the Physician Shortage
A deeper review of trends driving the physician shortage, and practical advice about what healthcare leaders can do today to prepare for the future, are presented in the white paper that is available for you to download: “Physician Workforce 2030: Get Ahead of the Recruitment Curve,”
Contact us if you need help assessing your recruitment strategy and want recommendations to meet the demand for physicians within your organization and community.
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