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Could IT Sway MD Recruits?

August 29, 2008
by Mark Hagland
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A recent survey of hospital-based physician recruiters is confirming a deepening and broadening shortage of physicians nationwide, as well as newer approaches to finding physicians. Asked whether the broadening doctor shortage is changing their approach to physician recruitment, two-thirds of respondents to a recent survey said that it is indeed doing so. What’s more, 79 percent of survey respondents said their organizations are offering part-time hours in an effort to recruit physicians; 25 percent are hiring additional physicians to cover staff on-call or weekends, and 12 percent are offering flex-time.

Among the physicians that recruiters say are the hardest to recruit right now are orthopedic surgeons, psychiatrists, family practitioners, hospitals, and internists, with cardiologists right behind them.

It would have been interesting to learn from these recruiters whether their organizations are using information technology as an additional carrot to lure specialist physicians, especially hospital-based doctors such as orthopedic surgeons, cardiovascular surgeons, anesthesiologists, and hospitalists, into their organizations. I believe that in some markets, the availability of surgery PACS and surgical information systems, comprehensive EMRs, integrated pharmacy systems, and other clinical information systems, is gradually becoming a factor in quality of work-life for many doctors. Five years from now, there will be no question about that.

This only goes to show how deeply embedded CIOs need to be in strategizing with others in the c-suite and their boards of directors to move their organizations forward in broadly diverse areas. Let’s put it this way: if Dr. Smith, the most desirable orthopedic surgeon catch moving to your community, chooses Hospital B down the street to practice at because they’ve got their IT act together, won’t that be a disappointment to the whole organization?

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