The future of hospital staffing

Healthcare reform, the continuing physician shortage and an aging population are changing the face of hospital staffing, according to U.S. News & World Report.

In 2004, cardiologists, anesthesiologists and radiologists attracted the biggest demand among specialty physicians. Today, none of them make the top 10, and only cardiologists finish in the top 20, according to the article. Hospitals are far more interested in recruiting primary care providers, along with nurse practitioners and physician assistants.  

Healthcare reform is driving the shift. For example, its emphasis on prevention, value-based care and moving away from the traditional fee-for-service model creates demand for primary care providers, emergency physicians, clinical pharmacists and health IT and data experts, the article noted.

Scripps Health, a 517-bed system in San Diego, operates primarily under fee-for-service, but recognized the changing nature of the industry and planned accordingly. Since 2010 Scripps has restructured to strengthen outpatient processes in anticipation of smaller-scale inpatient offerings. It also saved approximately $200 million during the past three years through consolidation and retraining rather than layoffs, according to U.S. News. Today, two-thirds of Scripps hires are internal transfers, compared to 75 percent external hires 10 years ago.

The shift in healthcare reimbursement and delivery is affecting hospital leadership as well. UnityPoint, a Des Moines, Iowa-based health system with 30 hospitals and 280 clinics and home care operations, has introduced physicians to its leadership team to make its operation more patient-centered and doctor-driven, according to the article.

In recent years, hospitals have put more doctors and nurses in executive positions. In addition, more physicians are heading back to school for their MBAs, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the U.S. News & World Report article

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