Before the global pandemic, the healthcare industry was facing a serious talent shortage in plenty of areas. In 2015, a Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy study predicted a nursing shortage of 190,000 nurses by 2020. A team of healthcare industry researchers produced a study of the U.S. physician workforce, in 2020, which projected a national doctor shortage of 139,160 physicians by 2030. The talent situation was precarious years before COVID-19 came to be, wreaking havoc across the world and the healthcare workforce. Now, the nation faces both an acute and long-term talent crisis.
Nearly doubling pre-pandemic projections, the nursing shortage will reach between 200,000 to 450,000 nurses by 2025 according to May 2022 McKinsey healthcare and nursing trend analyses. That’s a 10-20% jump in unfilled roles. And the doctor shortage? With 22% of the physician workforce now “considering early retirement because of overwork,” according to research from Doximity, the doctor shortage is also escalating. But there are also talent shortages in healthcare that get far less coverage which, if not addressed, will also have a serious impact.
The good news? These roles require far less training and certification than nursing and physician roles. Healthcare systems and medical providers that keep an eye on these talent pools can stay ahead of disruptive talent gaps.
1: Insurance Specialists
In the 2021-2022 insurance enrollment period, Medix Healthcare saw the demand for insurance specialists and support staff surge by 11.6% . As the new enrollment period approaches, healthcare organizations and providers need to consider how their teams will handle the 2022-2023 period which will be even more demanding. With record-breaking Medicare Advantage enrollments and expanding insurance options for consumers, both patients and providers will see more complicated application processes.
The need for certified and skilled specialists who can support internal teams and external consumers through the process is rising quickly and will be dire by the fall. Medix’s recent ebook, “No More Talent Fire Drills: How to Make Open Healthcare Insurance Enrollment a Well-Staffed Success,” is a useful read for organizations looking to stabilize their enrollment process by expanding their teams of insurance specialists.
2: Mental Health or Behavioral Health Technicians
Increasing rates of anxiety, depression and burnout across the U.S., along with greater awareness and acceptance of the importance of mental and behavioral health, have greatly increased the need for mental health providers and practitioners. In addition to the demand for more clinicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists, the demand for mental health/behavioral health technicians who work as aides in hospitals, behavioral health and treatment facilities, or shelters is on the rise as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for behavioral health technicians will increase by 11% by 2030.
3: Medical Technologists
The technologists who fill labs and run the tests doctors and care professionals base diagnoses and treatments on are increasingly hard to find and recruit and find. According to the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), “the number of accredited clinical laboratory technology programs has steadily declined,” in recent years while the need for essential lab work and testing is increasing. The rise of the aging population across the U.S. alone will supercharge the demand for lab services as older patients have far higher chronic disease rates and the resulting need for lab testing and services.
4: Healthcare Recruiters and HR Professionals
Nurse and doctor burnout rates are high and so are the rates for healthcare recruiters and HR team members. The persistent turnover across the healthcare industry and the unrelenting push to fill roles efficiently and affordably has sent lots of healthcare recruiters out the door. Healthcare recruiters are often asked to do the impossible: bring in top talent while minimizing salary and benefits expense growth. That added pressure to keep talent costs low in a market where talent is scarce is making an already difficult recruiting era even more challenging. It’s no wonder healthcare recruiters are seeking out other opportunities.
5: IT Talent
The IT labor crunch extends way outside tech hubs like Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas. In fact, most large hospital systems and small medical practices need some level of tech support with efforts like EHR system implementation and optimization, data security and data analysis. While larger hospital systems may be able to compete for top tech talent, smaller healthcare organizations may struggle to find and retain IT talent without creative solutions.
Thinking differently will be key to strong IT recruitment in healthcare, and one example is Medix Technology’s Medix Direct, which trains and certifies local tech professionals to support all facets of the EHR implementation and delivers certified EHR talent at 40% the cost of traditional consultants. It’s one example of how bringing new ideas for developing and delivering talent will be key to meeting workforce demands and building a healthcare system with the resources to work.
The healthcare talent shortage is a chronic challenge for the U.S. marketplace, but creative recruiting practices and strategic talent development can have a considerable positive impact. Learn Medix is using healthcare recruiting expertise to help organizations avoid the squeeze.