Physician Recruitment Sourcing Demands Balanced Approach

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Sourcing is the process of identifying interested and qualified physicians and non-physician providers who meet your criteria so you can recruit the total number of providers needed according to your schedule. Typically, organizations have conducted sourcing through such strategies as electronic job boards, data bases, social media, advertising, networking through residency, fellowship programs and medical specialty associations, and physician recruitment agencies.

No matter what method is used, sourcing requires planning and disciplined effort. Few communities will recruit a physician because he or she unexpectedly falls in love with small-town life as portrayed in the film “Doc Hollywood”. And not every remote area will be able to use its tax dollars to pay for a born-and-bred New Yorker like Joel Fleischman to attend Columbia University Medical School in exchange for his clinical services as portrayed for the town of Sicily, Alaska, in the television series “Northern Exposure.”

Above all, you must be proactive. For example, you should be open to some of the more innovative data base products on the market, such as those developed by Practice Link. These data bases allow you to identify physicians according to such factors as specialty, professional and personal interests of physician and spouse, and geographic and practice preferences. For example, a small rural hospital in Arizona could target physicians who were either educated in the southwest or who wanted to relocate there. The hospital could then email and telephone physicians identified by the data base and present its practice opportunity.

But high tech tools aren’t the only path to effective recruiting. You many still need to utilize targeted direct mail. Mailing lists developed by the American Medical Association and the American Osteopathic Association are continually being refined by mailing list companies to identify physicians through over 50 selection criteria, including number of prescriptions written weekly and patient mix. This is why the pharmaceutical industry still does a huge amount of direct mail.

While you shouldn’t abandon advertising entirely, you should avoid investing thousands of dollars in unproven shotgun advertising campaigns, even if they also offer electronic job boards. Recently, one 200-bed hospital in the Northeast spent more than $50,000 to place advertisements in a variety of medical journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine. While the hospital received dozens of CVs from interested physicians, none of the candidates met the hospital’s criteria.

If you believe that advertising in medical journals and their job boards might generate leads for your opportunity, practice the rule of three: Run the advertisement three times. If it generates the results you want, run it again. But avoid investing large sums of money in long-range advertising campaigns without positive results. Keep in mind that “activity” such as receiving CVs is not the measure of success. “Signed doctors” is what you measure.

Also be cautious about heavy expenditures. While you may want to buy a ready-made data base to lighten your workload, keep in mind that networking through your existing medical staff, medical schools, and residency programs are the most cost-effective physician recruitment strategies, and are the fundamentals that should be covered before making large expenditures.


Physician Recruitment is challenging enough without our own self-made problems. Learn more about AAMM’s seminars and resources.

Roger Bonds is the founder of the American Academy of Medical Management and president of The National Institute of Physician Recruitment & Retention, based in Atlanta, GA. Find AAMM on FacebookLinkedIn, Twitter.and YouTube. Email AAMM at [email protected], or call their main office at 770-649-7150.