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Recruiting AND Retaining Providers in Underserved Areas: Does Social Media Help?

The shortage of qualified physicians is one of the biggest obstacles in hiring doctors in community health centers today. There are several factors that are aiding in this shortage as well, including an aging population with more health issues, older doctors retiring, increasing demand for specialists, and doctors wanting more time with their families and trying to balance life and work.

Though these stumbling blocks may be there, there are ways to overcome them. Many community health centers use searchable databases provided by organizations such as the National Health Service Corps. as well as relying on recruiters to find providers. However, how do you isolate those candidates that want higher pay or just don't understand the mission behind community health centers in underserved areas? Social media can play a big part in answering that question.

When it comes to recruiting through social media, community health centers (such as Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Centers (FQHCs and RHCs, respectively), have used social media to provide information about their health centers to potential candidates.

When asked if he thought social media could play a part in helping CHC’s find providers, Scott Rollett, CEO of WindRose Health Network, stated, "I think that social media can definitely play a part in educating providers about FQHC’s and the programs they offer to both patients and staff. There are a lot of people who don’t know about or don’t understand how community health centers work or how they benefit the communities that they serve. FQHC’s have been around since 1965 but before I came to Windrose in 2004, I had never even heard of an FQHC. Yet, today, FQHC’s provide care to almost 30 million people or nearly 10% of this country’s population."

The following are a few ways they have utilized social media to meet the growing needs of providers in their area:

  1. Partnered with medical schools. Targeted medical students and residents who may have been interested in working in underserved areas. Showcased job opportunities and highlight the benefits of practicing medicine in these areas. Medical schools can also be an excellent source of referrals for doctors who may be interested in working in underserved areas.

  2. Used video content. Video content is an engaging way to showcase the benefits of working in underserved areas. They have shared testimonials from patients who have benefited from these health centers highlighted the impact community health centers are making on their communities.

  3. Leveraged social media advertising. Social media advertising has been a powerful tool to target specific audiences, not only to gain patients but to find providers who are the "right fit" for these underserved area. Using targeted messaging that speaks to the different challenges and rewards of working in these areas has beneficial.

Searching for and retaining doctors in underserved areas is a critical challenge that can be addressed through social media and other means. By partnering with medical schools, using video content, and leveraging social media advertising, you can appeal to and retain talented doctors who are passionate about the mission in treating underserved populations


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