Indianapolis’ largest hospital networks—Indiana University Health, St. Vincent Health and Community Health Network—are not using formal social media programs to recruit doctors, even though more physicians are turning to the technology when searching for jobs.
However, the networks plan to rely on social media more heavily, and a survey suggests the networks might gain by doing so.
AMN Healthcare Services Inc., a San Diego-based staffing firm, in March released a survey showing one in three health care professionals used mobile job alerts last year to search for work, up from just one in five in 2010.
Those professionals, many of whom are young and tech-savvy, are having success, too. Fourteen percent said they received a job offer using social media, and 8 percent said they accepted a job compared with just 1 percent the previous year, AMN said.
Indeed, increasing numbers of hospitals find it important to have a social media presence, the survey said, even if they’re not using it for recruiting. More than 1,220 hospitals used social media in 2011 compared with just 391 in 2009.
The top social media platforms for hospitals are YouTube channels, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Linked In accounts and blogs.
St. Vincent spokesman Johnny Smith said, “It’s something that we’re definitely looking into, but at this time, it’s not active.”
St. Vincent, as well as IU Health and Community, still rely heavily on referrals. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however, as the study’s 2,790 respondents, including 650 doctors, say referrals and direct contact remain the most popular way to find a job.
Brett Walker, IU Health’s director of physician and advanced provider recruitment, can vouch for the effectiveness of personal contacts.
“Our physicians are the best recruiters,” Walker said. “You get that first recruit and it takes on a life of its own. The first thing we say to them is, ‘Who do you know?’”
Many physician groups use the same strategy. American Health Network, one of the largest physician group practices in the Indianapolis area, with about 210 physicians, typically starts from within when searching for new recruits, CEO Ben Park said.
But Park acknowledged social media likely will need to be incorporated into the strategy.
“My sense is, yeah, we probably should be,” he said. “I just didn’t realize how many physicians were looking for opportunities that way.”
IU Health, the largest hospital network based in Indianapolis, recruits about 100 new doctors every year for clinical openings at its 19 locations throughout the state. It eventually expects to add some sort of social networking program to complement its existing recruiting, Walker said.
He receives a few requests each week from physicians throughout the country wanting to connect with him through Linked In, some of which inquire about job opportunities.
Walker is certain IU Health eventually will dip its toe further into social media waters as more physicians turn to the technology as a main source for employment information.
“Are we posting all of our positions on Linked In? No,” he said. “Will we eventually? Probably.”
IU Health relies heavily on job-posting sites. It spends about $30,000 annually to purchase posting space on practicelink.com and practicematch.com, two of the most popular physician job boards.
Walker also attends national job fairs and, what might seem surprising, still mails fliers to medical students.
“A lot of people have thrown the towel in on that, but we still find it effective,” he said. “You only have to get one doctor to have it pay for itself.”•