Take Charge of Your Career to Avoid Physician Burnout

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Take Charge of Your Career

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, through the year 2026, physician employment is projected to increase by 13%.  The demand is related to many factors, including the numbers of individuals who are newly insured through the Affordable Care Act, an aging population requiring the management of chronic diseases, and the number of physicians who are at or near retirement age.  Typically, physicians who were graduating and completing their residency could expect to begin practicing in a hospital or private setting.  Today, physicians have many more options available to them and a variety of career paths.  Let’s look at different career options physicians can choose to best fit their lifestyle.

Academia

One way the demand for physician’s services has opened up new career paths is on the academic side of medicine.  For some physicians, after completing their residency, they may decide that they are better suited to teach than to practice.  Others, who have spent a few years in a practice setting just want to make a career choice that provides more stable hours and work-life balance. Training the next generation of physicians is a valid career option, and as long as demand is high, there will always be opportunities to teach the practice of medicine.  Another area of academic medicine that often gets overlooked is a career focused on research, or working in the pharmaceutical industry, or other specialized clinical environments.

Physician Leadership

As it has been in the corporate world for decades, healthcare is trending toward being more team-based.  This trend has created a wider avenue for physicians who are naturally inclined to take on more of a leadership role.  Leading clinical care teams provide physicians with the opportunity to exercise several skills that can ultimately translate into larger and more involved leadership positions within the organization.  Another parallel with the corporate world is that not every person has the skills and abilities to become leaders.  Physicians that have their sights set on the C-suite should focus on developing outstanding communication skills, conflict resolution, financial and operations management, and rounding out their overall business skills.

Private Practice

Many young physicians tend to gravitate toward working in a hospital setting for several years before considering other settings.  Nationally, the trend in the healthcare industry is for the majority of physicians being hospital-employed, but that doesn’t mean private practice opportunities aren’t available.  As recently as 2018, up to 46% of physicians worked independently with an ownership stake in private practice.

Choosing a Path That Fits your Lifestyle

Working in a high-demand occupation, physicians have more choices available to them than ever before.  Having choices means that doctors who find themselves in toxic work environments, or in a position with unruly schedules or excessive call hours, have the option to pursue new opportunities.  Much has been written about the levels of burnout being experienced by physicians in today’s healthcare environment, so it is important to consider if a job change can help resolve the issues.

Here are several ways to combat burnout and achieve a better work-life balance.

Envision Your Best Life

The first key to achieving work-life balance is to gain an understanding of what it would look like in your ideal lifestyle.  Think about all the things you would do if you had a reasonable work schedule.  Maybe you would go on golf outings, or spend time hiking or skiing.  You and your loved ones are the only people who can describe what that scenario looks like, so take the time and create a list.  Once you understand what your best life looks like, you can create a plan to get there.

Own Your Schedule

If someone asked you how you spend the majority of your day, would you have a clear answer?  When physicians are asked what is contributing to their unruly schedules, many of them immediately cite the amount of clerical work and documentation that they are required to perform. If you find that your day just “gets away from you,” and you don’t have a clear picture of why, unfortunately, you are going to have to take some time and document your activities for a few days. Once you have a determination of where the time drag is coming from, you can work on a resolution. Your career as a physician means that you are a natural problem solver, and your time is an issue to be solved, not ignored.

Lean on a Mentor

Just because you are a well-established physician, doesn’t mean that you have all the answers. We all have times in our life where we get so deep into the weeds that we can’t see our way out.  You are not alone in that, and it is times like this that having a mentor, or even a trusted colleague, can make all the difference in helping you find your way.  Having a mentor means that you have access to someone who has been where you are at, and they may have tips or tricks that you haven’t considered.  And even if they don’t, you will feel better getting your frustrations off your chest.  Keeping it all bottled up is the surest way to exacerbate burnout.

Advocate

Everyone in healthcare is aware of the levels of burnout being experienced by physicians and other staff.  Being aware of burnout doesn’t mean your administrators are actively working on or even close to implementing strategies to help combat the issue.  As a physician, you already have the staff looking up to you for some level of leadership, and when burnout becomes a debilitating issue for yourself and others, it is time for you to get involved.  Administrators and other healthcare executives may not understand the size of the issue, or they may not have a clue how to address the problem.  Stepping up to be a part of the solution will go a long way toward the creation of a happier and healthier work environment.

Treat Your Time as Sacred

How many times are you at a family function, or even just relaxing at a backyard barbecue and your phone starts blowing up?  And, how often has the issue or reason for the call not been an actual emergency?  To ensure that you are making the most out of every opportunity you have to recharge your batteries, treat your personal time as sacred.  Just like no one will barge into an exam room when you are with a patient unless it is an emergency, the same rule should apply when you are on your own downtime.  Develop an understanding with your co-workers that your time is your own, and unless it is an actual emergency, you shouldn’t be disturbed.  By doing so, you will quickly find out how much fun and relaxation you can enjoy when you are fully disconnected from your work environment.

If you are ready for a new opportunity that can put you on the path towards a better career or better work-life balance, reach out to the experienced recruitment professionals at Jackson Physician Search today.

 

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Physician Workforce Trends to Watch in 2020

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The Association of American Medical Colleges publishes an annual report outlining the state of physician supply and demand, and their most recent study completed in 2019 confirmed that the United States may see a shortage of nearly 122,000 physicians by 2032.  In addition to an overall shortage of primary care physicians, Oncology and Surgery are projected to be the hardest hit specialties.  Strictly looking at the data regarding oncology, new cancer cases are projected to increase by 42% within five years, while the number of oncologists is only expected to increase by 28%.  More than ever before, hospitals and medical system administrators are being forced to place greater emphasis on physician recruitment and retention. Let’s look at some of the factors that are contributing to physician demand challenges.

The Aging Population.

Americans are living longer than ever, and those over the age of 65 are projected to grow by 50%. An aging population means that more individuals are managing chronic and age-related conditions.  At the same time, more than one-third of all physicians will be 65 or older by 2030.

The Residency Conundrum.

Even though medical schools are increasing their class sizes, the number of available residency slots have not increased commensurately.  Legislation to increase Medicare-supported residency slots by 15,000 over five years has been stalled in the U.S. Congress for the past two years.

Burnout and Flexible Scheduling.

As physicians suffer from burnout and stress at higher levels than in the past, many are negotiating reduced and more flexible scheduling to create better work/life balance.   As many as 78% of physicians report experiencing burnout, and when they combat the stress by reducing their work hours, the effect is a reduction in the number of full-time physician equivalents.

Increased Regulation.

In a 2019 MGMA survey, 76% of respondents cited increasing regulatory burdens as impacting their ability to practice medicine. More than half stated that the forced administrative overload is contributing to their likelihood of retirement within five years.

As the documented physician shortage continues to worsen, here are several solutions that can be enacted to ease the burden.

Lifting Residency Caps.

With the unfortunate state of gridlock in Washington, D.C., Congress could pass the bipartisan legislation that eases the limits on the number of residency slots.  As written, the legislation calls for an additional 3,000 residency slots each year for five years as a means to increase the number of practicing physicians.

Improve the licensing process for international med school grads.

With almost 25% of today’s physician workforce comprised of international medical school graduates, the archaic and cumbersome licensure process should be streamlined for efficiency. While relying on lawmakers to pass legislation to simplify the licensing process is unlikely at best, if the gridlock loosens, this would be a logical step.

Competition breeds creative compensation models.

Let’s face it, competition for physician services is fierce.  Salaries are on the rise, but even that isn’t guaranteeing recruitment success.  Administrators are becoming increasingly creative by including flexible scheduling, reduced or no call hours, signing bonuses, and student loan forgiveness to attract candidates to ongoing vacancies.

Increase non-physician utilization and technology.

Anyone who has tried to schedule a primary care appointment recently has most assuredly been offered a visit with a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner to get into the office sooner.  Healthcare administrators are working hard to balance their staffing with an increased mix of “non-physician” practitioners.  In concert with that, technology innovations are supplementing the monitoring and management of chronic conditions to reduce the need for frequent office visits.

Speaking of technology and other changes that are impacting healthcare delivery and practice settings, let’s review a few trends that may affect physician career planning.

The Rise of Hospital and Large System Employment.

During the age of buyouts and mergers over the past decade, the percentage of physicians employed by hospitals and health systems has grown significantly.  Even though buyout mania has abated to a degree, there is still a large percentage of doctors who are employed by a health system, and fewer who are independent or a part of a small group practice.

Concierge Medicine.

Physician burnout is well-documented, and one of the ways frustrated doctors are alleviating the burdensome relationship with insurance reimbursements is by turning to a concierge-style practice. Concierge medicine is a private, subscription-based practice that is growing by as much as 6% annually. According to Concierge Medicine Today, a national trade publication, there are estimates of up to 20,000 physicians practicing concierge medicine.

Telehealth Acceptance and Growth.

More than half of all U.S. hospitals currently have a telehealth program, and almost 90% of healthcare administrators in a recent survey responded that their organizations have already begun developing a telemedicine program.  With telehealth initiatives on the rise, research indicates that almost 74% of patients in the U.S. would be comfortable utilizing technology to communicate with their physician instead of scheduling an in-person office visit.  Currently, about 30% of patients are already using computers or mobile devices to monitor their medical or diagnostic information.

Consumerism.

Ever since the Affordable Care Act ushered in the age of high-deductible healthcare plans, patients are forced to treat their healthcare decisions as they would any other consumer-based transaction.  Today’s healthcare consumers are putting more effort into making informed decisions and shopping for services.  This has led to more competition in the healthcare marketplace, and in response, providers have to inspire loyalty and keep their patients engaged as a retail outlet would with any customer.  Patients are now prone to post and read online reviews about a provider and are demanding more transparent pricing. All of this is increasingly being used to determine where a patient seeks care or if they will leave one provider for another.

This has been the first installment in a new Jackson Physician Search Series on the career outlook for practicing physicians.  In our next installment, we will do a deep dive into what career options are available in the healthcare environment today.

If you are looking for your next career move, contact the experienced recruitment professionals at Jackson Physician Search today.

 

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3 Tips for Planning Your Next Career Move

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The best part about having a high-demand career, like a physician, is the flexibility a competitive environment creates.  With your services being sought after all over the country, there is no reason to stay in a toxic workplace or somewhere you aren’t happy.  Instead, you can weigh your options, and then make a career decision that is better suited for your family and future.  Whatever the reason is behind your desire to seek greener pastures, there has never been a better time to find a new opportunity.  Let’s take a look at how you can plan your next career move.

Move to where the greatest demand exists.

Let’s face it, as a physician, you can find a job anywhere.  But, if you are looking for a new opportunity that gives you more flexibility, or a better chance at future advancement, you may want to relocate to an area with the greatest demand for physicians.  In a recent report from Doximity, the top 50 metropolitan areas in the United States were ranked based on physician demand.  The top ten cities experienced a 5% increase in demand, which is in line with historical growth rates.  The metro area with the greatest demand was the city of El Paso in West Texas. Other high demand areas include Miami, Cleveland, Phoenix, Denver, Seattle, and Honolulu.  It stands to reason that if you were interested in relocating to one of these higher demand localities, that you would have an advantage in negotiating the terms of your employment. Whether it is a higher salary, loan forgiveness, better call schedules, or other terms that fit your personal and professional life, take advantage while the numbers are in your favor.

Consider adding Telemedicine to your skillset.

As the demand for telemedicine services continues to grow, it presents a great opportunity for physicians who are looking to make career changes.  For many doctors, telemedicine provides them with the opportunity to cut back on formal work hours, but still practice medicine full-time.  Currently, the specialties that are most engaged with telemedicine practice include Radiology, Psychiatry, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Family Medicine, and Dermatology.  Keeping in mind that telemedicine may not be for every physician, it is certainly worth looking into to determine if it is a good fit for you.  For example, with telemedicine, you can only consult for patients in the states that you are licensed in.  If you are looking for a lot of volume, you will have to ask the telemedicine provider how many calls they receive for your state.  You can also ask them if they will pay for you to acquire a license in a high-demand state.  Another consideration is how proficient you are at documentation. Telemedicine consults require even more documentation than you might have with a typical outpatient visit, so note-taking is an important skill to have.  Not every telemedicine platform is the same, so if you do a little bit of homework and find one that is right for you, it may provide you with a unique opportunity to practice medicine from the comfort of your home office.

Partner with a trusted search firm.

Even if you are not actively searching for a new opportunity, but would consider one if it came along, you might want to partner with a reputable physician search firm.  Making a career move that is going to meet your requirements is not always as simple as checking out the job boards.  By partnering with a search firm, you can discuss the elements of your “perfect” job and work with a recruiter to evaluate opportunities while you continue to focus on your current job.  Your recruiter should have established relationships with administrators across the country, so no matter where you want to end up, they can help you make it happen.  Another key component of working with a firm you trust is that they will have access to information that isn’t readily available.  They’ll be able to help you compare average compensation and the cost of living for many cities across the country.  A good recruiter will also be able to talk to you about the organization’s culture and leadership so you can get a sense of what working there would be like before you interview. By working with a recruiter, you’ll be better prepared to make an informed decision instead of jumping at the first thing that comes along.

If you are ready to take your physician career to the next level, contact Jackson Physician Search today. Our team of recruitment professionals have a nationwide reach and can help you access the perfect opportunity for you and your family.

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When is the Right Time to Ask for Physician Recruitment Help?

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Time is money, especially when it comes to the amount of time it takes to fill a physician vacancy.  The costs that are accrued from the time a position becomes vacant to the date it is filled can reach over $1 million in lost revenue, based on the specialty. Whether you are an administrator for a large system hospital or a small community health center, managing your time-to-fill rates are critical in today’s competitive physician recruitment and hiring environment.  More and more, organizations of all sizes are evaluating their internal recruitment and retention process to ensure they are maximizing their return on investment.  The stark reality of physician supply and demand is that no matter how good your internal recruitment teams are, there will always be a time when they could use some help from a trusted recruitment partner.  Let’s answer the question that more healthcare administrators find themselves asking, “When is the right time to ask for recruitment help?”

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, as it depends on a lot of factors that are specific to your organization.  Things to consider are the effectiveness of your current in-house recruitment operation, how many vacancies are currently in the pipeline and do the vacancies include hard to fill specialties like family medicine, psychiatry, internal medicine, and OB/GYN.  Another important consideration when determining the right time to partner with a recruitment firm is how many hats your in-house recruiters are wearing in addition to sourcing candidates.  Are they responsible for sourcing, screening, setting up interviews, coordinating site visits, participating in interviews, and coordinating credentials?  Let’s face it, recruiting is a lot more than sourcing candidates, and when you are projecting vacancies due to retirements or planned expansion, finding a reliable, trusted recruitment partner can be the difference between finding a candidate who is the right fit and settling on a candidate to fill a vacancy.

Hard-to-fill Vacancies

One scenario that qualifies as a perfect time to establish a relationship with a physician search partner is when you have a hard-to-fill vacancy.  The market for physicians is competitive as it is, not to mention finding one of the aforementioned high-demand/low-supply vacancies.  Enlisting the help of a trusted firm can help you access a broader pool of candidates, including passive candidates who are only casually keeping an eye on opportunities.  A professional physician search firm will provide you with access to detailed candidate information, the latest technologies, and proven systems that can cast a wider net to find your perfect candidate.  It is never wrong to have a trusted partner do the heavy lifting on those difficult-to-fill vacancies.

Short-staffed Recruitment Team

Every organization goes through periods where individual departments are short-staffed due to illness, maternity and paternity leave, vacations, promotions, etc.  Considering the costs we have already mentioned, no amount of time is acceptable to leave a vacancy dormant.  Once you have established that working relationship with a search partner, it becomes easier to off-load searches onto an external team if your internal team is currently understaffed or overwhelmed.  Each month on average, a physician vacancy is costing you up to $150,000, so it makes sense in every perspective to keep the flow of candidates going, no matter what the situation may be with your team.

Understand Your Numbers

It may sound simplistic, but if you don’t understand your key recruitment metrics, you may never know when you have a problem.  Benchmarking your process gives you insight that allows you to adjust to fill gaps.  You should measure key data points, such as Time to Fill, # of Interviews until Hire, Acceptance Rate percentage, and three and five-year retention rates.  If you know these numbers, you will know if you need to bring on external recruitment help. Your numbers should also tell you your total cost to hire and your return on investment.  If you need to calculate what your current recruitment ‘Return on Investment’ is, find an ROI Calculator here.

Maintaining Momentum

How many times has your organization thought they had found the right candidate to fill a physician vacancy, only to find out that they accepted another offer? Once is too many if you are looking at your bottom line.  An often overlooked aspect of physician recruitment is what comes after you’ve sourced a candidate.  If your in-house recruiters are responsible for coordinating interviews, site visits, and everything else that goes into the hiring of a physician, then it pays to be cognizant of their workload.  When your team is juggling a lot of searches and the accompanying details, it is the perfect time to offload a couple of searches onto your external search partner to maintain the momentum with candidates that are already in the pipeline. Once a candidate is interested in your position, never drop the ball. From the first contact to the coordination of an interview, the interested candidate should feel reciprocal interest from your team. Allowing your internal teams to concentrate on maintaining that momentum while your external partner finds you candidates is an appropriate way to divide up the workload during periods of heavy activity. Here are a few key tips for maintaining momentum with a candidate:

  • The first contact with a presented candidate should be within 24 – 48 hours.
  • Set up an interview at the candidate’s earliest convenience. Be flexible!
  • Prepare a winning site visit. Don’t skimp, tailor the site visit to each specific candidate to show you are interested (please watch singular versus plural).
  • Don’t forget to recruit the physician’s family just as hard.
  • Have the framework of a contract in place and agreed upon by key stakeholders. Waiting on contract approvals is a sure way to lose candidates.
  • Maintain regular contact straight through the onboarding process.

Finding the right search partner can make all the difference in your recruitment process, but don’t discount how recruitment feeds into retention.  When you focus on the end result of finding the right candidate, you are in turn finding a candidate that naturally fits your organization and has a better chance to stay engaged, be productive, and want to stay in the position longer.  More than in years past, physicians want to find an organization that has a similar culture and values to their own.  Hiring for fit is the single best way to improve retention, and finding those candidates often requires more than posting your vacancy on a couple of job boards. Working with a recruitment partner is one way that you can expand the resources that are available to you and engage both active and passive candidates to your organization.

Jackson Physician Search is a healthcare industry leader and is poised to be the physician recruitment partner that your organization needs.  Contact our recruitment professionals today and learn how we can help you find physicians who fit, succeed, and stay.

 

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Policy and Politics Affecting Physicians Heading Into 2020

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Regardless of what side of the political aisle you find yourself, it isn’t hard to argue that legislative policies and politics have created a sea of change in the healthcare landscape over the past decade.  Now, as we stand on the doorstep to 2020, it is safe to assume that more legislation, driven by politics, will continue being a catalyst for change in the future.  For now, with our sights clearly set on the New Year ahead, let’s examine some of the policies and politics that will be affecting physicians and healthcare in general.

Will Congress pass legislation to address the impending physician shortage?

Yogi Berra once famously said, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” When Yogi uttered those words, he was referring to Mantle and Maris hitting back to back home runs, but today it could be attributed to legislation that is stalled in Congress for the third time since 2013.  The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act was introduced in the House and Senate in 2013, 2017, and again in 2019, but has yet to advance any further.  The current iterations of the bill (S.348/H.R. 1763) have received bi-partisan support and are both designed to increase the number of residency positions eligible for graduate medical education payments under Medicare for qualifying hospitals.  Over five years, this legislation would increase the current number of slots by 15,000 and is strongly supported by the American Hospital Association.  Considering the toxic partisanship that currently exists in both houses of Congress, it will be interesting to see if these bills are taken up at some point, once the legislative session resumes after the holiday break.  At a minimum, it might show the voting public that things can get done in Washington.

How much risk does value-based care pose to providers?

The ongoing transition from volume-based to value-based care has been slowly building throughout the past decade, arguably with no consensus best-practice models to emulate. A Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) report states that in the near-term, “providers will increasingly face both upside and downside financial risk in their arrangements with health plans.”

Another challenge that poses a risk for physicians and providers, in general, is how unsettled the variation of payment models still are, as they continue to be reformed.  As both Medicare and commercial payers keep payment models in flux, physicians, hospitals, and health plans are going to be experiencing greater shared risk.

How is consumerism affecting physician care?

While it may have taken longer than in other industries, there is no questioning the impact that consumerism is now having on the healthcare industry.  Much of the impetus for consumer-driven change grew out of the Affordable Care Act, most specifically the creation of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), tasked with studying new models and expenditure reductions. Today, consumers have more healthcare choices than at any other time in history.  From choosing a health plan that best suits their needs to making choices on when and where to seek care.  Consumerism within healthcare is only going to increase, and it is forcing a significant change in the way healthcare is marketed, transparency and structure in the cost for services, and convenience offerings to match patient lifestyle.  All of this places inherent pressure on the physician who is providing care, as the power of the consumer affords the patient leverage and options that may not have existed in the past.

How much will the 2020 election impact physicians?

While it is not in the interests of this space to delve too deeply into the political arena, it is important to look at how the 2020 election may impact physicians.  According to a wide-ranging report on the top health issues of 2020 by PwC Health Research Institute (HRI), it is unlikely that the outcome of the election is going to bring about a massive change in the healthcare industry.  Instead, no matter which party wins, expect regulatory changes and other lesser impactful legislative changes.

Things to be on the lookout for include Medicare Part D reform, drug pricing reform to include transparency and possible linkage to overseas pricing, and additional Medicaid reforms.  One thing that won’t change in 2020 is increased healthcare spending.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are projecting that US healthcare spending will increase from $3.8 trillion in 2019 to at least $4 trillion in 2020.

Although it is difficult to project how much change will be driven by the election, healthcare will be a topic throughout the 2020 cycle as a recent survey by HRI indicated that 71% of adult Americans of both parties are voting for a candidate based on the stated healthcare policies or ideas.

If you are searching for an opportunity that can provide you with more stability in this unsettled healthcare landscape, contact Jackson Physician Search today and let our industry professionals help find your perfect practice setting.

 

How AI and Tech Are Impacting Physicians

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How Artificial Intelligence and Tech are Impacting Physicians

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Fans of literary Science Fiction have been reading about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and technological advancements for decades.  What has changed in that time is now, things that were once left to the imagination of authors like Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Isaac Asimov, are becoming the mainstream.  Especially in the field of medicine.  As technology grows more ubiquitous, everyone working in healthcare are being forced to adjust to the many ways AI and technology are impacting the industry.

The impact of technology on how physicians perform their duties is perhaps more significant than anyone else in the healthcare industry. Let’s look at five ways AI and Technology are impacting today’s physicians.

Robotic Surgery 

Typically, when considering technology and healthcare, the first topic mentioned is the use of robotics in surgery.  The first documented use of a robot-assisted surgery occurred in 1985, while the first unmanned robotic surgery came in 2006.  Today, more than one-third of U.S. hospitals have at least one surgical robot.  The rapid growth of this technology is creating new challenges for physicians, young and old.  The biggest change for physicians is in learning how to use the latest robotic technology, with none more impacted than surgical residents. Before robotics, residents learned surgical procedures up close and hands-on at the patient’s side.  Now, surgery is performed at a console 15-feet away from the patient, and residents are forced to watch over the surgeon’s shoulder or observe at a second console.  These training barriers have to be overcome for physicians to keep up with the growth of robotic technologies in the surgical suite.

Disease Detection

One area that AI is clearly making a difference is in the early detection of diseases.  For example, over 12 million mammograms are performed annually in the U.S., yet 1 in 2 healthy women are misdiagnosed. When AI is used to translate mammograms, the results are returned 30% faster and with up to 99% accuracy, which has resulted in a reduction in unnecessary biopsies and patient stress due to misdiagnosis.  AI also performs a natural benefit by monitoring the data collected through consumer wearables and other medical devices. As advancements in AI continue to develop, look for the technology to detect life-threatening episodes earlier, leading to better treatment outcomes.

Decision Support Systems

Dosing errors make up 37% of all preventable medical errors.  Researchers found that AI can be used to determine the correct dosage of immunosuppressant drugs for organ transplant recipients, a process that typically included educated guesswork combined with practiced guidelines. AI is also emerging as an aid to clinical judgment and diagnosis.  AI can provide critical information to physicians by combing through the millions of genetic variants of a patient to determine a probability that one of them could cause a particular disease.

Virtual Reality Training

New technologies are used to augment physician training. Virtual Reality (VR) can provide physicians with targeted training on many clinical scenarios.  AI, through natural speech technology, can even respond to questions or challenge decisions made within the VR session.  Similar to how flight simulation transformed the aviation industry, VR is changing medical education and training.  While still in its infancy, the benefits of this immersive training are unquestioned.  VR provides trainees the ability to learn in a simulated, engaging hands-on environment, which allows physicians of all experience levels to learn at their own pace without risk to patient health.

Simplifying Administrative Tasks

One of the most significant areas of promise for the utilization of AI and technology is in streamlining the ever-increasing amount of administrative activities.  New technologies can improve administrative workflows such as charting, ordering tests, and filling prescriptions through the utilization of voice-to-text transcription.  Creating efficiencies like this allows the physician to have more time for direct care and more meaningful patient interactions.

Technology and artificial intelligence are already changing the way physicians are practicing medicine.  As advancements continue across the spectrum of care, the question to be answered will be how physicians can most effectively learn and interact with the technologies to continually improve patient care.

If you are looking to take your physician career to the next level, partner with a firm that can offer a nationwide reach and decades of leading industry experience, contact Jackson Physician Search and speak with one of our recruitment professionals today.

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How to Make The Most of Your Physician Job Search

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For Physicians, there has never been a better time to find a new practice opportunity.  With a projected shortage of up to 122,000 physicians by the year 2032, any doctor who is not happy in their current situation has plenty of opportunities to improve their circumstances or career trajectory.  Let’s look at five key things all physicians can do to ensure a successful job search.

Reconcile Why You Want a New Job

One necessary step physicians should take before they begin a job search is to determine all of the reasons why a new practice opportunity is essential.  Giving consideration to the reasons why you are ready to leave your current position is an important factor in finding the right new opportunity. The best way to accomplish this is to put pen to paper and list the reasons why you are ready for a change. Whether the change is to get out from under unmanageable work hours or to improve your job satisfaction, or maybe you want to advance your career by getting into a leadership position. Listing the reasons why you are ready for change can help you avoid getting into a similar situation in your new job.  It can also be helpful information to have when you are working with a physician recruitment firm.

Update Your CV and Prepare for the Interviews

Now that you have thought about why the time is right for a new practice opportunity, take the next step in the process by updating your CV.  In today’s high-demand climate, there is a real chance that you will be receiving job offers right out of the gate.  Taking the proactive step of updating your CV will help you keep the momentum of your search going forward. Now is also a good time to jot down questions that you may have for any potential new employers.  Administrators know that physicians who are actively searching will receive multiple offers, so don’t be surprised when they move quickly once you are on their radar.

Prepare for the Compensation Questions

Physician compensation is complicated and varies between organizations.  It is vital to understand your entire compensation package, including base salary, benefits, bonuses, and potential incentives.  Based on where you are at in your career, you may want to ask about student loan forgiveness or different retirement saving options.  It is also important to keep in mind the tax implications between states.  Fortunately, there are tools available to help you compare compensation in different locations.

Involve Your Family

Job searches don’t happen in a vacuum.  As important as it is for you to find the right opportunity for your career, it is equally important for your family to take part in the decision-making process.  Moving to a new location has a lot of serious variables to consider. Is it a good fit for your lifestyle? Are there quality schools for the children? What kind of weather is prevalent in that part of the country? No individual location or community is going to be perfect for every member of your family, but you need to consider how any move will impact everyone involved.

Career Advancement

At the end of the day, your job search should result in the advancement of your career.  That advancement can be professional, personal, or both. If you are at a stage in your career where you seek more control or a more significant say in the decision-making process, begin exploring leadership positions.  If your current situation requires you to work an unreasonable amount of hours, or you have become frustrated with a toxic work culture, then your job search should be focused on finding an organization that espouses values similar to your own.  The good news is that once you find the right practice setting, your life should change for the better. From having more free time to spend with the kids or finally having time for the occasional round of golf, a new job can be just the recharge your batteries need.

In today’s healthcare environment, physicians don’t have to remain in a job that doesn’t align with their lifestyle or values.  Demand for physicians is high and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future.  If you are ready to begin exploring new opportunities, you may want to consider finding a partner for your job search.  An experienced recruiter has access to administrators and job openings that you won’t find on your own. Additionally, professional recruitment partners can help you work through contract negotiations, compensation packages, and also provide insight into organizational culture questions you may have.

Jackson Physician Search has a team of recruitment professionals with decades of high-level industry experience. They have a nationwide reach and established relationships with healthcare industry administrators in organizations of all types and sizes, giving you the best opportunity to find a position that takes your career to the next level.  Contact a Jackson Physician Search recruitment professional today.

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How to Ignite Your Career with a Physician Recruiter

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Everyone in the healthcare industry has read about or heard that there is a growing physician shortage in the United States. Earlier this year, the Association of American Medical Colleges confirmed that there would be a gap of between 46,900 and 121,900 physicians by 2032.  For any physician looking for new practice opportunities, there will be plenty of jobs available.  While this is good news, the question to ask yourself is, which job opportunities are right for me? That’s where having a relationship with an experienced physician recruiter can benefit you the most.  Let’s look at the unique ways a trusted recruitment partner can help you.

How Physician Recruiters Simplify Your Search

Nationwide Reach

Whether you are looking for a perfect opportunity across town or across the country, you will have access to information about available opportunities. Your recruitment partner will have the resources and the network connections to find you an opportunity that matches your career and life goals.  For example, he or she can keep you informed about hiring and compensation trends in whatever specialty or geographic region you are exploring.

Insider Access

In today’s high-demand climate, physicians who conduct extensive searches on physician job boards may find a suitable position. However, this approach is time-consuming at best. When you work with a recruitment professional, he or she already has relationships with hospital system administrators and in-house recruiters. According to a 2017 ASPR Benchmarking Report, more than 40% of physician searches were to replace a departing provider, and almost 70% were for hospital-owned practices. These numbers highlight the importance of the relationships and trust a recruiter has built throughout their network.  Recruiters have information about current open positions and future openings that typical job board searches will miss.

Heavy Lifting

Once your recruitment partner understands your career goals and lifestyle needs, he or she can help you throughout the process of landing the right opportunity. This support can be preparing you for the interview to scheduling the site visit and even helping you navigate the contract negotiations.  An experienced recruiter has a wealth of information that can help you overcome challenges and put your best foot forward when being presented as a candidate.

 

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Getting the Most Out of Your Recruitment Partner

Establish Trust

The most important way to establish trust with your recruitment partner is open and honest communication. Make sure he or she knows exactly what you are looking for in your next opportunity and why you are looking in the first place. If you want a new opportunity because of a bad work environment,  process issues with administration, or unruly work hours, explain that to your recruiter. Your recruiter needs to know what your cultural fit looks like so he or she can match you with a client employer who shares similar values.  The more information your recruiter has will only benefit you in finding your perfect practice setting.

Use Recruiters as a Resource

As important as it is to establish trust with your recruiter through open dialogue, it is equally important to maximize him or her as a resource. Your trusted recruiter has information about every aspect of the position and the organization with which you are applying, even the expected salary range. Never be shy about asking tough questions.  Find out about the challenges an organization is facing or even why there is an opening. Your recruiter knows the hiring team, the administrators, the culture, as well as important details about the community. Tapping into that knowledge and experience is the key to helping you make the right career decision.

Be Committed to Your Search

Once you have established a relationship with a professional recruiter, and he or she begins finding opportunities based on your stated requirements, you need to see it through. As Warren Buffett famously stated, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only five minutes to ruin it.” When you have a recruiter working on your behalf, respect the process, and treat it seriously. Essentially, this means that if things advance to the point of an offer, it shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip with your current employer.  If you were open and honest about your reasons for the job search, then any offers received will be given the consideration they deserve.

Jackson Physician Search has a nationwide reach and a team of recruitment professionals with decades of healthcare industry experience. Contact our team today and let us work on finding the perfect fit for you and your family.

 

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Creating a Culture of Physician Wellness

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Physician burnout has been a topic of conversation for several years now, but a related topic that is not garnering nearly enough attention is physician wellness.  According to the National Institute of Health, part of the reason is that physician wellness or physician well-being is not clearly defined or measured.  With the spotlight on the issue of physician burnout, now is the perfect time for healthcare administrators to focus attention on creating a culture of wellness within their physician group.

An article published by the New England Journal of Medicine cited a culture of wellness as one of three drivers that contribute to higher professional fulfillment, along with the efficiency of practice, and personal resilience.  The article cites the culture of wellness and the efficiency of practice as organizational responsibilities in addressing burnout, while personal resilience is the responsibility of the individual physician.  Let’s look at ways healthcare organizations can begin creating physician wellness efforts as an approach toward reducing burnout.

Understand what a Culture of Wellness Means

As defined, a culture of wellness includes a set of values, attitudes, and behaviors promoting personal and professional growth, the practice of self-care, and compassion for colleagues, patients, and the individual.  Once healthcare organizations recognize the importance of physician wellness, they are more likely to measure and attend to it with resources and accountability.

Recognize Burnout in Your Organization

While 98% of healthcare administrators recognize that burnout is a problem, most perceive it to be a greater problem outside of their own organization. To understand the levels of burnout within your organization, it has to be measured periodically via the Maslach Burnout Inventory or another similar tool.  It is always better to know how much burnout is impacting your staff and work toward finding solutions.

Designate a Wellness “Owner” 

One key way that organizations can prove that they are taking physician wellness seriously is by designating an individual to own wellness efforts. Having someone who can champion the effort and also have accountability for the development of the plan and associated results, demonstrates a level of seriousness that facilitates physician “buy-in.”

Focus on Continuous Improvement in Workflows 

As important as measuring your internal levels of physician burnout are towards understanding the scope of the problem, it is equally important to understand the contributing factors. Organizationally, it is critical to recognize inefficiencies in workflows and other factors that are causing your physicians the most frustration. For some, it is excessive time spent on EMR’s, for others, it might be appropriate time off after unusually long or difficult shifts. The best way to get a handle on the issues causing the biggest challenges for your staff is by talking about them. Encouraging open and honest dialogue can shine a light on things that need to be changed, but also lead to physician-led solutions.

Skills Building

Everyone handles stressors differently. Some physicians seem immune to pressure situations, while others internalize them and struggle in silence.  Being resilient is a critical characteristic for anyone who has a stressful occupation. The good news is that resiliency can be learned. Putting resources toward developing resiliency skills in your physician staff and implementing other interventions like a strong mentorship program can help your team handle the pressures of the job while facilitating important dialogue and creative solutions.

Creating a culture of wellness requires resources and accountability throughout clinical and administrative leadership. It is not unreasonable to expect that your physicians should attend to their own well-being, although providing them with the tools and resources to do that is critical to a successful approach.  Clearly, strategies to reduce physician burnout are dominating national studies of practicing physicians and physicians in training.  As more research and data becomes available about successful physician wellness programs, discussions about integrating a more balanced approach to combating physician burnout will be more prevalent.

Jackson Physician Search is comprised of a team of professionals with decades of healthcare industry experience.  Contact us today to find out how our expertise and nationwide reach can work for you.

 

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Serving the Under-served

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Dr. A. had received a Doctorate of Dental Surgery in Damascus, Syria, and then again at the University of Southern California.  He enjoyed his work, but the long commute and time away from home had been wearing on him.  It was time to start looking for an opportunity located close to his home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

There are community health centers all over the country struggling to find and retain medical care providers for under-served populations. Such was the case with a small community health center in South Dakota that had been unsuccessfully searching for a dentist to add to their staff.  The clinic, an FQHC, also provides dental clinic services in three area schools to help serve a large rural population that can’t make it to the main location.  Because the FQHC was on an extremely tight budget and had already spent money the past two years trying to recruit a dentist, they were hesitant to contract with a search partner.

Eventually, the administrators at the clinic agreed to a call with Tara Osseck, Director of Recruiting for Jackson Physician Search.  During the call, Tara was able to share specific data, available resources, and highlight recent successes.  The clinic agreed to partner with JPS in late July, and Rebecca Larsen, a Jackson Physician Search Recruitment Consultant got started right away.

Rebecca traveled to the clinic to learn more about the community.  She found a growing community with many new developments, but also a large rural population in surrounding areas.  Armed with this information, she dove into the search to find the right candidate.  Dr. A. was practicing about three hours south of the FQHC that Rebecca was busy recruiting for and was completely unaware of the clinic’s need, despite their 2-year search to find someone.

Within two weeks of her visit, Rebecca and Dr. A connected, and both determined that the FQHC opportunity was a perfect fit for Dr. A. and the clinic. That fit was even more evident when Dr. A, learned that the clinic administrator shared his commitment to mission work. Dr. A. has a long history of spending time providing free dental services to military veterans and also impoverished communities. Now, he was beyond excited to have a new job close to his home that would also afford him time to continue his volunteer work.

In all, from starting the search to a signed contract with Dr. A, it took an amazing 39 days.  Obviously, in today’s competitive physician recruitment environment, not every search is completed within that short of a timeframe, but it does illustrate how a trusted, professional recruitment partner can bring together an opportunity and a physician to create a win-win scenario for both parties.

If you are looking for a partner that can help with your job search efforts, contact the professionals at Jackson Physician Search today.

 

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