8 Tips to Recruit Orthopedic & Spine Surgeons to Your ASC

This article is written by Heather Rottmund, director of marketing for SpineSearch.

The prevalence of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC) across America is increasing at a steady pace. As the emphasis on outpatient care continues to grow, ASCs must identify the best way to attract and recruit qualified orthopedic and spine surgeons to their centers. When it comes to recruiting qualified surgeons, it is important to understand the emerging landscape of ASCs and how the increase in ASCs will affect the future of outpatient care.

1. Understand attractive factors for surgeons.
In order to recruit surgeons to your ASC it is essential to recognize and identify what attracts a surgeon to work in such a setting. You must understand the workplace needs and wants of a surgeon. The most obvious need and want is to be a part of a profitable center with high patient flow. Efficiency and patient convenience are two main contributors to the success and profitability of an ASC, and therefore will influence your ability to recruit a qualified surgeon.

A major attraction to working at an ASC is the efficiency of such an outpatient setting. It is known that ASCs are more efficient than a hospital operating room and the turnover rate is much lower in comparison to hospitals. All of these facts help when recruiting a surgeon to your ASC.

2. Highlight patient benefits in ASCs.
As a recruiter you must ensure that the surgeons you are looking to hire understand the added convenience that an ASC offers to patients. The convenience that an ASC affords to patients in comparison to a hospital operating room is what drives increased patient flow. An increase in patient flow will equal an increase in the number of procedures your ASC performs which will have a positive impact on your bottom line. The convenience of location of your ASC is a positive selling point that will influence patients to seek care at your center.

A surgeon must recognize that the location of the ASC in relation to their pool or existing and future patients, as well as the flexibility for staff and operating room schedules, will produce a busier and more successful ASC. Patients are looking to get away from the hospital setting and the convenience of a centrally located ASC will allow them to do so.

Many patients have a fear of hospitals and the need to stay overnight at one due to having a surgical procedure performed. Outpatient surgical centers such as ASCs are designed for the convenience of patients whose surgeons recommend same-day surgery and discharge. Outpatient procedures performed at ASCs allow patients to return home and recover in the comfort of their own homes, surrounded by family and friends. Advancements in technology available at ASCs lead to less invasive procedures and minimal pain, which to a patient is essential to having an overall positive surgical experience.

3. Work with a recruitment agency.
Making sure that a surgeon is fully aware of the benefits of working at an ASC is important, but through what avenues can a surgery center begin to recruit orthopedic and spine surgeons to their ASCs? The first step is to look for a specialized recruitment company. SpineSearch for example is an organization that provides recruitment and educational services for spine professionals. Selecting a recruiter that specializes in staffing orthopedic and spine professionals will ensure that you are being sent qualified candidates.

The process of recruiting and hiring can seem like a long and daunting task. You do not want to waste your time and resources interviewing candidates that do not meet the required experience needed for your ASC. Utilizing a specialty recruitment company will help you to save both time and money.

4. Engage good candidates through word-of-mouth.
The orthopedic/spine community is smaller and more connected than you may think. Using word of mouth when looking for a qualified surgeon is important, so keep your ears open! Perhaps an employee or former employee knows of a surgeon that has moved to your area or is looking for a change of environment. Make it known to your fellow orthopedic and spine professionals that you are looking to hire a new surgeon — they might know a great fit for your center.

In regards to word of mouth, join a specialized organization or association dedicated to orthopedic and spine professionals. For example North American Spine Society (NASS) is a multidisciplinary medical organization dedicated to fostering the highest quality, ethical, value-based and evidence-based spine care through education, research and advocacy. Taking advantage of the events hosted by NASS and other similar associations in your area is a great way to meet and recruit a great surgeon.

5. Increase advertising initiatives.
Another option is to increase your advertising initiatives. By utilizing a bulge bracket advertising campaign you are able to make your ASC more visible to a large target area. The more visible campaigns you have for the general public, correlates to more people knowing about your center (this could include future patients or staff members such as surgeons).

6. Cater the recruitment process to surgeons.
When attracting a surgeon to your ASC you must make sure to communicate clearly with the prospective surgeon. You want the surgeon to choose your facility as their future place of employment so make sure that you are clear when communicating all information. It is also important to be flexible when setting up a time to meet and interview. For example, if a surgeon is working all day in a hospital and they are not available to meet until 7:00 at night you will need to be flexible in order to meet their needs. You may even offer to meet a surgeon on their lunch break in order to offer information on your ASC.

Just as you do not want to waste your time by interviewing unqualified candidates, make sure you do not waste the surgeons' time. Be prepared with all information relating to your ASC, especially in reference to a clearly defined benefits package. Having an appealing benefits package is always a major draw for attracting qualified employees. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of the benefits package provided by your ASC. That way you are able to explain the selling points of your benefits package clearly.

7. Open your recruitment nationally.
Since orthopedics and spine care is such a specialized clinical field it is important to open up your recruitment search on a national level to attract talented surgeons. Keep in mind that that recruiting is already a full time job. When creating a national recruitment campaign for an ASC you should know that a national approach is much more involved and requires a marketing budget, a thorough plan of action, and additional manpower.

8. Make sure the surgeon will be a good cultural fit.
Perhaps the most difficult question in the recruitment process is whether or not a surgeon will be a good fit. When a surgeon expresses interest in performing cases at your ASC how do you know they are the right fit your center? Having a strong prescreening process is the one of the most valuable tools to use when making a hiring decision. You must meet with the surgeon in person to have a sit down discussion/interview.

Be prepared with a list of questions to ask your surgical candidate. Ask questions that will allow you to identify whether or not the surgeon shares the same overall beliefs in regards to your company culture and your patient-centered approach to care. Another important part of the prescreening process is involving the surgeon's partners and colleagues. Speaking with and obtaining references from individuals who have worked with the prospective surgeon will give you a better understanding of their work ethic and overall work approach.

The recruitment needs for spine and orthopedic surgeons in outpatient care will continue to grow in the future. The need for surgeons in the ASC setting will increase as more spine surgery procedures are able to take on a minimally invasive approach in the form of outpatient care. This advancement in technology will allow for more services to leave the hospital setting which will result in a decrease in operating room time and hospital stay, and an increase in the ASC spine arena. Recruiting the right surgeon for your ASC is one of the most important factors in the overall success of your center.

More Articles on Surgery Centers:

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