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Healthcare Recruitment & Blockchain

Healthcare Recruitment & Blockchain

The global shortage in the healthcare sector was anticipated even before the presence of COVID-19. The staff shortage, the rising demand for them, as well as budget issues are some of the most common challenges the industry faces.

With this shortage comes an expected rise for qualified healthcare personnel (clinical & non-clinical) worldwide. Therefore, almost 30% of HR recruitments hired for medical facilities were and are done at a rapid pace. However, the bureaucratic processes of the recruitment procedure often slow down the overall business and cost more.

Furthermore, the health industry relies on a unique set of data that is personal, sensitive, and confidential at the same time. Often, this data is stored and shared across multiple facilities and healthcare providers. This can be proved as both inefficient and unsafe practice, especially in a case of emergency.

Blockchain’s promise is to efficiently solve the above issues. It can store and encrypt workers’ and patients’ data, update the data across multiple locations, prevent data violations, and more. This article will show how blockchain technology can help the recruitment processes and transform the healthcare industry in general.

 

Explaining Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology is based upon a decentralized and secure system that generates and stores data records. It supports a digital ledger of records, i.e., blocks of all transactions that took place on that blockchain’s network.

The decentralized approach of blockchain eliminates the need for a centrally positioned authority and disperses power across all participants of the whole blockchain system. Meaning both individual consumers and companies can have greater control and transparency of their data.

Moreover, all participants within the blockchain system generate identical blocks whenever a transaction occurs. Thus, if the data is changed, shared, or accessed, a block will record that activity on each device on the same blockchain. Therefore, any data change can be spotted undoubtedly.

To sum it up, the main benefits of blockchain technology are:

  • Decentralization – no need for a centrally controlling authority and intermediaries,
  • Transparency – every member of the blockchain ecosystem owns a similar copy of all data,
  • Fraud protection – the block-like structure of the elements makes data manipulation impossible.

 

Current Healthcare Recruitment Climate

The healthcare industry was facing some serious challenges way before the global COVID-19 pandemic. HR recruiters in healthcare were facing a demand for highly qualified professionals and a shortage of staff at the same time.

That intertwined with the rising costs of skilled workers, physician burnout on the rise, and the vast administrative complexities contributed to a global workforce crisis in healthcare.

 

 (Image credit: Shutterstock: insta_photos)

 

Healthcare Recruitment Challenges

 

1.  Staffing Shortage

The estimated shortage in the healthcare workforce is expected to rise to 90,000 by 2025 and up to 250,000 by 2030. Some of the reasons behind these predictions are the growing aging healthcare workforce, limited new graduates to fill open positions, burnout, and more.

Therefore, 55% of healthcare recruiters would list quality-of-hire as their primary goal, and almost 40% would pinpoint retention rate as the second most important factor in the hiring process of healthcare professionals.

But, as the trends in the healthcare industry change, so should the hiring methods, too. Employers should implement new strategies to hire, train, and retrain their skilled workers.

Moreover, health care organizations can attract professional employees by creating a workplace where they can leverage innovative technology for their work (augmented reality, AI, blockchain technology), shift their work to meet patients’ demands (connect with them via telehealth, RPM), offer them possibilities to train and develop their skills, thus move to higher positions, and more.

2.  Employee Retention

Statistics show that averaging 2 years of data, practices have an average turnover rate of almost 55%. And while companies are spending a lot of money on hiring, 35% of them devote nothing to onboarding new employees.

Hence there is an urgent need to pinpoint which aspects of the work and the whole recruitment experience led to high turnover rates.

Therefore, everyone involved in the process of healthcare recruitment ought to be sure to:

  • Hire the right people for the right job openings
  • Provide new employees with a proper onboarding process
  • Create a successful work culture
  • Cultivate an employee-friendly workplace
  • Motivate employees
  • Provide training and career progression opportunities
  • Improve employee wellbeing

3.  Rising Costs & Lengthy Hiring Process

With the rising cost of skilled workers, many times, employers that offer the best salary win the best candidates. Also, most qualified workers are often concentrated in the urban areas, which drives the cost for them even higher.

Furthermore, the cost of hiring medical professionals is on the rise, with HR teams spending lots of money on advertising and hiring agencies.

But it’s not only money that healthcare recruitment needs. According to hiring statistics in the U.S., it takes an average of 49 days to fill a role in the healthcare workforce. Moreover, other statistic shows that the average time to hire a nurse is between 55 and 119 days.

Consequently, finding ways to be cost-effective and time-efficient will continue to be a challenge for healthcare organizations in the future as well.

4.  Worker Burnout

Even before the COVID-19, physicians showed clear signs of burnout and decreased productivity. A 2018 survey shows that 80% of physicians are at capacity or overextended, and 78% have experienced feelings of burnout. And the global pandemic has highlighted these issues even more.

In one research that examined nurses’ burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 35% of them showed signs of emotional exhaustion.

Some of the main factors that contributed to this statistic are:

  • Increased perceive thread of COVID-19
  • Longer working hours
  • Working in a high-risk environment
  • Increased workload, and more.

In consequence, it’s of utter importance for healthcare providers to prevent and/or reduce burnout levels of medical workers. 

5.  Administrative Complexities

Another challenge for healthcare recruiters is the vast number of administrative complexities during the hiring process of skilled professionals in the medical workforce.

Healthcare recruitment often time means a longer screening process of candidates, licensing, background checks, and other forms of verification that slows the overall process. Sometimes, the delay caused by these administrative procedures even leads to applicant drop-off. 

 

Covid-19’s Impact

Both healthcare recruiters and candidates have been facing higher levels of fear and stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased workload, understaffed hospitals, and constant change of priorities are some of the top reasons behind this.

And as the problems evolve, so do the solutions. This means healthcare organizations must seek out innovative technological yet cost-effective solutions to meet global needs.

Blockchain in combination with artificial intelligence technology can unprecedentedly boost healthcare hiring needs. The fusion of both can change the recruiting landscape in healthcare and provide the best results.

 

Alleviating Challenges with Blockchain

 

(Image credit: Unsplash: Morthy Jameson)

 

So, what are the solutions to the abovementioned issues? How can blockchain technology help healthcare?

By the end of 2026 healthcare industry in the U.S. is expected to fill 3.5 million new jobs. The rising demand for healthcare personnel will emphasize the existing gaps making recruitment even more challenging.

Leveraging blockchain for recruitment can speed up the hiring process by storing verification info, references, licenses, and more on the blockchain. Thus, whenever needed, the data can be both easily accessible and secure at the same time.

Both recruiters and candidates can benefit from blockchain’s use for identity verifications. Candidates will be able to upload and share their credentials with recruiters. On the other hand, the latter can shorten the overall hiring process by efficiently vetting qualified healthcare workers.

Moreover, using the decentralized hiring approach that blockchain provides enables international hiring too. Blockchain technology efficiently diminishes the administrative and bureaucratic processes and streamlines the recruitment procedure. 

 

Other Uses of Blockchain in Healthcare

Apart from the recruitment processes, blockchain can have broad usage in other healthcare operations such as:

  1. Patient data management - secure storage and transfer of patient information,
  2. Secure electronic health records - protected recordkeeping systems,
  3. Medical and pharmaceutical supply chain management - providing medical and drug safety and their traceability,
  4. Recruitment for clinical trials - improved quality of clinical trials,
  5. Reducing costs, improving data sharing and access permissions

Moreover, blockchain finds its usage with the rapid spread of the coronavirus, too. Blockchain-enabled tools helped the health sector develop patient tracing apps and track medical supplies and vaccines, too.

 

Final Thoughts

Blockchain technology can help healthcare organizations thrive and improve their processes. Starting from identity verification and secure data sharing in the employment processes, up to day-to-day operations connected with patient data and health record management.

It creates new, more secure ways for patients to access healthcare while reducing the medical industry costs. But even most importantly, it does all these things while promoting safety, reliability, and transparency.

However, it’s still a pioneering technology in the healthcare industry, and so it leaves opportunities for further growth and innovation. For example, in this implementation stage, blockchain has proven most suitable when used for transactions with a lightweight digital footprint.

Still, in the data-driven future, blockchain technology will continue to support medical industry advancement at an unprecedented scale.