Is Texting the Future of Medical Staffing?

Dante Antonini

Is the new tool in healthcare recruiting as close as your smartphone? RevCycle Intelligence thinks so, and it makes sense; Adweek says consumers now spend more than five hours a day on their phones, which is an 88 percent annual increase from past years.

With healthcare facing unprecedented labor shortages, is the best way to reach talent through the smaller screens of our personal digital devices?

Why Smartphones Matter

Finding good candidates in healthcare is already hard and getting harder. This is true for everything from administrative roles to physicians. Just look at the stats from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC):

  • The American healthcare industry will be short up to 120,000 doctors by 2030.
  • Specialists face the biggest gap, with projections suggesting we will need somewhere between 33,800 to 72,700 more specialty care providers during that timeframe.
  • The shortage doesn’t just rest with specialists; primary care providers will fall short by 14,800 to 49,300 FTEs.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says we’ll also need 1.1 million more nurses than we have. Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) says 61 percent of their members report facing even non-clinical staffing shortages. An aging baby boomer population will place huge strains on the American healthcare safety net. Hiring managers and HR teams will most certainly feel the pinch.

These unprecedented labor shortages require our best efforts. Hospital hiring teams and their recruiting firms will need to employ new outside-the-box strategies for success. The one tool every doctor, nurse, mid-level or clerical worker has, however, is a smartphone. Here’s how we can recruit more effectively by letting our fingers do the talking.

Smartphones in Healthcare Recruitment

Mobile technology is huge: Between cell phones, tablets, and other devices, the U.S. now has a total of 435 million gadgets in our homes – which means devices outnumber its citizens. Not surprisingly, more than 70% of active job seekers use their mobile phones to look for jobs. Mobile recruiting is changing everything about the way employers hire, even the interview. Now candidates can record answers to written questions from their mobile devices, making the job interview as portable as the application. Employers can then watch these video interviews anywhere, meaning the interview process becomes easy to work around even the busiest schedules.

Mobile accessibility has enabled employers to connect with more passive, on-the-fly candidates that they were otherwise unlikely to engage, to deliver more personalized messages that wouldn’t have otherwise been noticed, and to communicate with prospects on their terms vs. the employers’. Safe to say the existential ‘War for Talent’ has become a little more intense.

RevCycle Intelligence recently interviewed the HR Digital Marketing Manager at Community Health Network. CHN has more than 200 healthcare sites in Indiana, and they currently use texting to great advantage when recruiting both clinical and clerical teams. It’s the immediacy of digital communication that has replaced the traditional phone or email these days, in part, because these older communication methods do not fit the busy lifestyles of target candidates. Nurses and doctors are often onsite with patients and don’t have time to check email or take a phone call. According to ComputerWorld, smartphones are now the preferred communication tool for clinical teams, and this includes using their cellphones to talk with patients by text and video conferencing.

CHN uses texting even on the first contact with recruits. Since the use of this new technique, they’ve improved the candidate response rate by 83 percent. The article said, “By improving turnaround times and response rates, Community Health Network ended up shortening the entire healthcare recruitment and employment process.”

Texting is a medium most candidates – no matter their age, gender, or specialty – seem to feel comfortable with. CHN suggested the tone on these texts be a little lighter and less formal after the first contact; they had luck even adding emojis or abbreviations.

In tomorrow’s competitive healthcare recruiting landscape, any tool that helps find top-quality talent should be leveraged. That’s exactly why you should start a conversation with MedSource Consultants. Contact our leading healthcare recruiters today to get started.