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New AAPPR Survey Sheds Light on Physician Recruitment Technology Adoption

Jackson Physician Search
February 18, 2020

There’s no disputing that physician recruiters benefit from today’s sophisticated recruitment and marketing technologies. To hire physicians who fit the culture and will succeed in the role, recruiters need to be able to reach them where they are with the right messaging. Technology serves to streamline that process. Let’s look at the ways in which in-house recruiters use technology and how access to the right technology stack differs based on the size of the organization.

New Survey by the Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment (AAPPR) Clarifies Technology Adoption by In-house Recruitment Teams

Jackson Physician Search recently sponsored a new AAPPR survey that examined how in-house physician and provider recruitment professionals use technology for applicant tracking, time management, communication, and general staff productivity. The resulting survey, titled ‘Physician Recruitment Technology Utilization and Satisfaction Study,’ shed much-needed light on how healthcare organizations – both large and small – invested in and used this technology. In the process, AAPPR learned that investments in technology to support physician recruitment lags behind other technology investments by hospitals and health systems.

Furthermore, healthcare organizations with smaller in-house recruitment teams who perform 50 or fewer searches per year are at a disadvantage in this competitive physician recruitment environment, as they have made fewer investments in recruitment technology.  Larger healthcare organizations and health systems (those who conduct more than 200 searches per year) often have more resources to spend on technology that can create efficiencies in their recruitment and hiring process.

Investments in Physician Recruitment Technology

With the astronomical pace of advancing technologies, one would assume that healthcare organizations would all be investing in technology as a way to improve efficiency and create greater success in physician and provider recruitment.  According to survey respondents, 60% of organizations have made sizable investments in technologies designed to improve the daily processes of their recruitment professionals.  As expected, larger health systems have invested more money and more frequently, while smaller health systems report that they have never made a significant investment in recruitment-centered technologies.  Overall, less than half of the survey respondents cited a large investment in technology in the past twelve months.

Larger healthcare organizations that employ sizable in-house recruitment teams are better positioned to take advantage of available technologies that can create an edge in the competitive recruitment environment. Smaller health systems typically don’t have the budgets to support major tech investments. One way smaller healthcare organizations can level the playing field is by partnering with an outside physician recruitment firm that can provide smaller organizations with access to technology and candidate pools that they don’t have on their own.

Types of Technology in Use

Applicant Tracking Systems and Customer Relationship Management Systems

Out of all available technologies, over 94% of in-house recruitment professionals are utilizing an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and/or a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.  Unlike the difference between large and small health systems concerning technology investments, it appears that an ATS and/or CRMs are integral to recruitment teams of any size.  Almost 90% of the smallest healthcare organizations and up to 100% of the largest health systems are using an ATS and/or CRM.  The difference between large and small organizations is that the larger in-house recruitment teams are using commercially available ATS/CRM technologies.  Small health systems with fewer in-house recruiters are using homegrown systems such as Excel spreadsheets or other systems they have developed in-house.

While spreadsheets are good for many things, managing critical recruitment functions is not one of them. These types of inefficiencies in the recruitment process can be the difference between landing the perfect candidate for your physician vacancy or losing out to a competitor. Smaller in-house recruitment teams that are losing candidates or are unable to reach candidate pools need to advocate to their administrators that a technology boost is needed.  A compelling case can be made that with today’s physician shortages, having a digital recruitment strategy is a critical component in finding and hiring qualified candidates.

Broadcast Emails

The key to successful physician recruitment is to reach candidates through a variety of means. From engaging them on social media platforms or connecting with them via email, physicians are as digitally connected as most Americans.  Utilizing broadcast emails was another area where the size of the organization didn’t matter in the survey results.  Almost 83% of all healthcare organizations use broadcast emails in their sourcing efforts.

For medical practices, hospitals, and healthcare systems, physician recruitment has become much more than posting openings to job boards or sending out mass emails to candidates in their database.  Targeted recruitment is the key to reaching passive physician candidates who are not actively seeking new opportunities.  This is another area where large in-house recruitment teams and permanent physician search firms have an advantage – they are more likely to have well-nurtured and segmented candidate pools.  Smaller healthcare organizations can close this gap by developing a relationship with a trusted search partner.  An experienced physician recruitment firm can supplement an in-house recruitment team’s efforts with a digital recruitment strategy that includes access to a nationwide candidate pool and critical technologies.

Other Software Technologies

One of the more surprising aspects of the recruitment professionals’ responses to the AAPPR survey was an apparent lack of motivation to integrate other sources of software technologies designed to create efficiency in their processes.  For example, software designed for time management, social media management, or onboarding functions are only used by a small fraction of in-house recruitment teams.  The largest health systems, and especially those that employ ATS and CRM systems, are more likely than others to use these additional types of software, but the small numbers were still surprising.  Only 8% of recruiters use time management software, another 8% use a social media management platform, while only 13.5% use onboarding software.

Clearly, technology is ubiquitous in today’s society.  You would be hard pressed to name someone who doesn’t use a cell phone than to name five people who do, but the inconsistent usage of recruitment and other software technologies is certainly something to keep an eye on over the next few years.  As competition in the physician recruitment marketplace continues to increase, healthcare organizations of all sizes will continue to look for ways to gain an edge in attracting candidates to their searches.  In many cases, that edge can be gained through finding ways to implement technology solutions to create efficiency and improve communication channels with those they are trying to reach.

If you want to partner with a physician recruitment firm that combines decades of industry experience and access to the latest recruitment technologies, contact Jackson Physician Search today and learn more about what we can do for you.

The Jackson Physician Search team wishes to thank AAPPR for conducting such a well-conceived and informative survey and for allowing our sponsorship. You can download the full ‘Physician Recruitment Technology Utilization and Satisfaction Study’ here.

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