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Closing the Gap: Accelerating Healthcare Hiring Amidst the Specialist Shortage

Healthcare Specialist

The healthcare industry is grappling with a significant specialist shortage, exacerbated by both the COVID-19 pandemic and natural demographic trends. The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts the demand for primary and specialty care physicians will outpace supply by up to 124,000 physicians in the next ten years. 

Healthcare employers will see more competition within the hiring market. This article outlines how healthcare organizations can accelerate and improve their hiring process to attract and retain specialized talent in the years to come.

The Challenge

While the healthcare workforce shortage is a phenomenon that the industry has grappled with for years, the recent COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the rate of change within the labor market. A spike in quits and early retirements due in part to the working conditions that the pandemic brought on meant that by August of 2021, more than 230,000 physicians had left their roles.

Demographic trends within the physician workforce add another layer of complexity—more than 40% of currently active physicians will be 65 or older within the next decade. While the number of licensed physicians in the U.S. rose by 19.8% from 2010 to 2020, it's not enough to meet the growing demand, replace vacant positions, and counteract the retirement trend.

An Employer's Next Steps

Letting Tech Lead The Way: One way the industry has responded to the shortage is to maximize the use of technology. Telehealth, electronic referrals, and asynchronous patient communication are helping to expand access to specialist care by improving patient access and oversight. Young physicians in high demand following their residency are looking for signs from prospective employers that those technological solutions will see the appropriate investment; a tech-forward onboarding experience makes a strong first impression. 

An Efficient Onboard: The offer and onboarding phase is equally critical, as in-demand physicians can still entertain competitive offers following a verbal acceptance. Streamlining screenings during this period is crucial, considering time is of the essence and safety is everything. Most healthcare background checks include national sex offender registry searches, criminal history checks, and professional license verifications. All of these are vital steps in the hiring process, and more might be required depending on the nuances of the role. 

Developing an Effective Background Check Policy

  • Understand your screening needs. Different roles may require different types of background screenings. Work with one of our experts to identify which positions in your organization will be subject to what kinds of screenings, and customize your screening packages so you present your candidates with everything they need and nothing they don't.
  • Streamline your disclosures. Include a policy outlining the disclosure and written authorization requirements under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Ensure your HR team understands these legal obligations and communicates the appropriate disclosures to the candidate while gathering the information and consent needed without an inefficient back-and-forth.
  • Employ continuous monitoring. Considering the time-sensitive nature of healthcare hiring, receiving results in real-time should be part of the background screening strategy. Our platform ensures all your reports are accessible from the dashboard and the results are available as soon as they’re ready. We also offer actionable data reports across your screenings to help inform and accelerate hiring decisions.
  • Find a reliable partner. Given the potential risks and the here-to-stay time pressure, partnering with a reliable background screening provider is essential. Hiring during a specialist shortage will be no small feat; we're here to help you do it with confidence.

The healthcare specialist shortage is a complex issue with no easy solutions. Employers can attract and retain more talent in the competitive job market by leading with tech and streamlining the early onboarding stages. An effective and efficient background screening strategy is vital to that optimization; customized screening packages, streamlined disclosures, and continuous monitoring will make a big difference. By leveraging these solutions, employers can accelerate the hiring process, reduce the specialist gap within their organizations, and continue to provide high-quality care to their valued patients.