21st Century Sourcing: Solving the Healthcare Supply-Demand Crunch

Healthcare Supply and Demand

The modern process of finding the right nurses, physicians and allied professionals for a healthcare enterprise is almost completely different from just a decade ago. Using the old techniques are like driving a horse-and-buggy on the freeway: You won’t get where you need to go.

By 2024, healthcare will be the largest employer in the nation, with job openings due to growth and replacement needs totaling nearly 5.2 million, including more than 1 million nurses, 1 million technologists and technicians, 300,000 therapists and almost 300,000 physicians and surgeons, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS data also show a widening gap between job openings and job hires in healthcare. At the end of 2015, there were more than 1 million job openings in healthcare but only about 550,000 job hires.

That gap of unfilled jobs, which has been growing since 2014, is a superheated competitive environment for quality healthcare professionals that has been labeled a “war for talent.” With shortages increasing for all types of healthcare professionals, this scenario will continue for years, and healthcare providers need the most advanced sourcing methods available to staff their facilities with quality professionals.

“Unmet demand for quality healthcare professionals is becoming a major challenge for our healthcare system,” said Landry Seedig, AMN Healthcare Division President, Nursing. “Hospitals, health systems and other healthcare providers are facing an unprecedented situation where demand for services is increasing but so are shortages of practitioners to provide those services. That’s why we’ve developed the industry’s most advanced system for sourcing the talent they need.”

Reach. Engage. Activate.

It begins with reaching quality practitioners through the health industry’s widest digital footprint for candidate supply, engaging them through the largest clinical database, and activating them with an expert recruitment team – all of which is driven by the engine of candidate insight and analytics.

Reaching candidates is achieved through a multilayered digital outreach that includes more than a hundred channels of social media, mobile platforms, search engines and websites. An important goal of developing the widest possible digital footprint is to find the clinicians wherever they are online. That can differ depending on variables such as the type of healthcare professional. For example, physicians may use different types of social media than nurses. Demographics are very important too, as older and younger clinicians use different digital media to search for jobs and gain information about employment. Understanding diverse healthcare professional needs and preferences is central to a robust sourcing strategy.

AMN uses the largest clinical database in the nation to communicate individually to candidates through e-mail, text and voice interactions. Once the candidate has opted into a relationship, AMN uses sophisticated communication tools to provide the relevant message to the right person at the right time. “Building a valued and trusted relationship is important to our long-term communication strategy,” said Brian McCloskey, AMN Healthcare Senior Vice President, Candidate Sourcing and Digital Marketing. “We know that relationships must be earned and that they can be easily revoked in the digital world.” Once identified and engaged, potential candidates are assessed to gauge their suitability and readiness for available positions, applying a precise scoring system to support the next step in the process – activating the candidates.

This is the step where a similarity exists to past sourcing methods – personal contact. A team of the healthcare industry’s top recruiters makes contact with the candidates for specific job openings. But the difference is that recruiters in 21st century sourcing possess a huge amount of information about candidates that was never before available. Recruiters match candidates to orders from clients, and they also prepare temporary clinicians for their next assignment.

Driving these steps is the analytics engine that determines critical factors such as where the jobs are, and where are the people who match up to those jobs. Or, which digital channels are the most and least effective -- and cost-effective -- for reaching candidates? Analytics also can dictate sourcing strategies for customized client campaigns, measuring success or the lack of it, which might necessitate a change in recruitment strategy or tactics. Analytics can be used to guide nearly every step in the clinical candidate sourcing process.

Providers Must Focus on Patient Care

Most hospitals and other healthcare facilities and services do not have the capacity to engage in advanced sourcing techniques and strategies because of the investment that is necessary. Today, more than ever, healthcare providers must focus their energies and resources on patient care. They are heavily incentivized by healthcare reform to convert to value-based care, containing costs and improving quality while also expanding healthcare to cover populations – all at the same time.

Meanwhile, the aging population requires a greater degree of care due to the increase in multiple chronic diseases. And, competition among providers for healthcare consumers has become intense. With all the patient-care demands, advanced sourcing expertise is not a priority at most healthcare enterprises.

“Patient care is always first and foremost for healthcare providers. Healthcare staffing and workforce solutions are not their core competencies,” Seedig said. “But they are our core competencies. We can remove the stress and burden of sourcing in this extremely competitive marketplace, so that hospitals, health systems and other healthcare services can focus on getting and keeping people healthy.”