June 27, 2008

Providence Pumps Up the Web to Attract New Physicians

When people look for new job opportunities, it's likely that one of their first stops will be at a Web site.

But in some professions, people have not been as likely to go online to find that next career stop. Take physicians, for example. Surveys show they were, at one time, slow to embrace the online approach. As recently as 2003, only 38 percent of new medical residents thought the Web would be one of the best resources to find career opportunities.

Now, with a new generation of physicians raised during the online boom, that appears to be changing -- and health systems are changing their approaches as well.

Providence Health & Services, which operates hospitals and clinics in five Western states, is looking to recruit more than 600 physicians to employed and private practice positions during the next two years. Providence hopes to meet that target by enhancing its presence on the Web.

Providence's new "Physician Opportunities in the West" Web site, www.providence.org/physicianopportunities, features more than 300 employed and private practice positions across all specialties in Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon and Washington. The site also includes biographical information on 24 physicians from these communities, as well as an interactive map to help users locate career opportunities in all five states.

"Many physicians who are seeking job opportunities are just out of residency or fellowship and are in their mid- to late-30s. Our recruitment Web site is designed to meet the specific needs of this technologically-savvy demographic," says MaryBeth Cruz, executive director of physician recruitment for Providence's Physician Services & Development. "In addition established physicians are also embracing the Web to search for new opportunities in mid-career."

This strategy is supported by recently released results of the Merritt, Hawkins & Associates' 2006 survey of medical residents in their final year of training. In 2006, 77 percent of final year residents indicated the Internet was among their best resources for finding out about practice opportunities -- more than double the 2003 figure.

According to Cruz, the physician recruitment market is very competitive because of a national physician shortage. The American Medical Association recognizes there are already acute shortages in certain geographic areas and in certain specialties. Part of that is due to the aging population and a stagnant number of medical-school applicants. The Providence Web site includes both employed and private practice job opportunities for physicians across virtually all specialties.

Providence Health & Services is a not-for-profit network of hospitals, clinics and physician partners in Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Providence has a 150-year history in the West, and continues to grow with the communities it serves. With more than 300 physician opportunities in virtually all specialties, Providence offers physicians diverse lifestyle choices, flexible work arrangements and robust practice support. Learn more at www.providence.org/physicianopportunities.