PHYSICIAN RECRUITING: Healthcare leaders, take your mark

Physician RecruitmentBy: Allison McCarthy, MBA

In today’s healthcare market the winner is the organization that delivers the best care to the most patients.  To that end, organizations are recognizing the vital role of primary care physicians – and quickly realizing there are far too few physicians to meet the growing demands of the future. With the competition heating up, forward-looking organizations have to ask themselves some tough questions. Are we doing enough to recruit the right talent?  Do we have the robust strategies we need to meet the all-round healthcare needs of the future? Have we created that all-important “funnel” of qualified candidates? Generally speaking, the reason for a lack of prospects is twofold: One, the targets are too narrow and two, lead generation is too passive.  To compete in the race for primary care physicians, healthcare systems should be tapping four distinct markets:

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Unfortunately, for one reason or another, organizations tend to have a natural connection to one market that makes it more attractive than the others. Yes, recruiting locally is more cost effective, but are you casting the widest net?  And yes, the logical target is residents who are already looking, but what about the six to seven percent of physicians who turnover every year? Wouldn’t it be nice to bring some practice experience into the mix? To win in the future, it’s wise to focus on all of them today. It’s also smart to broaden your approach. Like targeting comfortable markets, organizations tend to stick with a “tried-and-true” approach to recruiting. Some push. Others pull. But again, very few do both.  Even less push and pull in all four markets. To keep pace — let alone get ahead in the race for primary care physicians — healthcare systems must venture into new markets and learn to flex both their push and pull marketing muscles:

  • Push uses direct communication, such as mail, email and telephone campaigns, to create a deliberate dialogue with qualified candidates that push them forward.
  • Pull uses advertisements, search engine optimization and career resources to dangle the carrot and pull qualified candidates in (even those who aren’t “officially” looking).

Healthcare leaders, take your mark.  It’s no longer a singular race. It’s not even a triathlon. The competition to recruit qualified primary care physicians stretches far into four key markets and winning requires that you flex every marketing muscle you’ve got.

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