Addressing the Physician Shortage in Your Hiring Practice

Dawn Pascale

The looming physician shortage in the United States is very real. According to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States is facing a shortfall of over 100,000 doctors in the next decade alone. As if the prospect of understaffed clinics, hospitals and private medical practices weren’t frightening enough, factor in the additional burdens of an increasingly aging baby boomer population and an increase in chronic health problems like diabetes, cancer and heart disease for a true glimpse into the potential nightmare scenario facing the American healthcare and medical sector over the next decade.

Knowledge, as they say, is power, so meeting your short and long-term medical and healthcare staffing requirements comes down to setting up an actionable and sustainable talent pipeline that will ensure your practice can meet all personnel demands for years to come in spite of negative market forces.

The “2030 Problem” and What Healthcare Providers Can Do to Prepare for Looming Physician Shortfalls Amid Growing Care Demands

In 2002, the National Institutes of Health published findings from a study examining how the looming retirement of the baby boomer generation would create a long-term care crisis in terms of cost, and access to adequate care and pharmaceutical prescriptions. The 2030 problem is named after the year that the largest percentage of the “Boomers” would reach retirement age.  The physician shortages, an increasingly ill and aging population will exacerbate the problem whose outlook is somewhat bleak.

So, what can healthcare providers do to meet the demand and continue to provide quality care in an already strained and ballooning system?

Start Recruiting NOW

If you wait until your practice is facing a staffing shortfall, it’s already too late. While that may be something of an exaggeration, anticipating what your staffing needs will be in the intermediate to long-term will help to ease these burdens and ensure your practice remains fully and competently staffed. Take an inventory of your current staff, account for retirements, career and job changers, and project your practice growth and future patient load. A strategic partnership with healthcare recruiting professionals, like MedSource Consultants, can take the stress out of the process and make the hiring process seamless.  Utilize your energy on providing care.

Take a Broad and Open-Minded Approach to Hiring and Training Doctors

Byzantine and often antiquated licensing and certification requirements can make the pool of available doctors even smaller. Many foreign-born and trained doctors already meet and often exceed the standards necessary to practice successfully in the United States but are often prevented from doing so due to burdensome recertification and training requirements.

While the regulations may be difficult, if not impossible to navigate in the short-term, think outside of the normal parameters when it comes to recruiting qualified and talented candidates. For example, your first choice may be a Stanford or Massachusetts General trained resident. The reality is graduates from less prestigious and nationally recognized programs also produce exceptional academic achievers with great experience who can provide the same level of care.

Divide and Conquer Shortages with Qualified Nurse Practitioners When Possible

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are qualified to perform many essential services without direct physician supervision in many markets in the United States and are already actively working to help fill the growing void in the availability of primary care services. While NPs alone are not a solution to the doctor shortage, they are an invaluable resource in the ongoing challenge of providing access to essential healthcare services, especially in understaffed and underserved markets like rural communities.

Don’t Fall Short of Your Staffing and Recruiting Needs

The need to recruit and retain talented and skilled medical and healthcare staff has never been more acute. Our healthcare recruiters are uniquely equipped to help hospitals and medical practices meet their short- and long-term staffing needs across the healthcare landscape. Contact a MedSource Consultants healthcare recruiter today!