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Why digital healthcare recruiting is more complicated than ever

The complexities of digital health recruiting impact healthcare transformation; innovative strategies can help secure the right talent.
By admin
Jun 24, 2024, 11:13 AM

CHIME DHI Digital Healthcare Recruiters Series


A recent Global Data survey of healthcare professionals showed that 43% of respondents believe a lack of specialized skills and talents is the primary challenge they face with digital transformation. Granted there is a pandemic of healthcare worker shortages across all job functions, especially non-technical. However, given the lightning pace of digital health transformation, the inability to fill roles that create a negative multiplier effect impacts on the bottom line.

Most important is the challenge of the digital healthcare recruiter to have working knowledge of many transformational technologies and that talent to better vet candidates before they get placed into the interview pipeline.

As part of our expanded editorial footprint, we will be covering the workforce issues below in our ongoing CHIME DHI Digital Healthcare Recruitment Series.

Recruiting for digital health positions presents several unique challenges. Here are some of the key issues faced by recruiters in this field:


Skill Shortages

  • Technical and healthcare expertise: Finding candidates who possess both advanced technical skills and healthcare knowledge is difficult. Digital health roles often require a combination of expertise in software development, data analytics, and clinical practices.
  • Rapidly evolving technologies: The fast pace of technological advancement means that skills quickly become outdated, requiring candidates to continuously update their knowledge. Updating skills takes time and investment which many may not have an appetite for.
  • Learning ‘the business”: Even after mastering the technical skills, digital transformation requires a deeper understanding of the business and economics of healthcare to determine impact.  This can be the most challenging and complicated of all the job requirements.
  • Recruiter-specific skills: Independent and in-house recruiters mirror the skills shortage that the healthcare industry faces. They also face job satisfaction frustrations considering the difficulty of finding and hiring top talent in the segment

Competition for Talent

  • High demand: There is intense competition for skilled professionals, particularly in areas such as data science, AI, and cybersecurity. Tech giants and startups alike are vying for the same pool of talent. Given the transportability of these skills across many cutting-edge industries, healthcare needs to up its game to ensure retention.
  • Remote work preferences: The shift towards remote work has broadened the job market, allowing candidates to choose from opportunities worldwide, increasing competition. Since in many cases, healthcare requires the worker to be close to the provider facility for patient interactions, remote work may not be feasible.

Regulatory Knowledge

  • Compliance and privacy: Candidates need to be well-versed in healthcare regulations like HIPAA in the U.S., GDPR in Europe, and other local regulations. This adds another layer of complexity to the required skill set.
  • Employment law is complicated: In addition to understanding healthcare compliance recruiting talent from a global talent pool can be complicated considering the constantly changing immigration laws in a politically triggered environment.

Cultural Fit

  • Interdisciplinary collaboration: Digital health roles often require working across different disciplines, including IT, clinical staff, and business units. Finding candidates who can seamlessly integrate and communicate across these domains is challenging.
  • Cross-cultural intelligence: Step foot into any healthcare facility and one immediately experiences how culturally diverse the workforce is. The ability to communicate across cultural contexts with patients and co-workers is key to patient satisfaction.
  • Mission-driven alignment: Candidates must be passionate about the intersection of technology and healthcare, not just the tech aspects. This is perhaps the greatest antidote to clinical and technology burnout.

Geographical Limitations

  • Localized talent pools: Certain regions may have a scarcity of qualified candidates, necessitating relocation or remote hiring solutions, which come with their own set of challenges.
  • Rural and indigenous facilities:  The challenges faced by rural and indigenous healthcare enterprises are perhaps the most challenging in the industry. Low pay, limited support staff, and technology limitations all make these work environments the most difficult to fill job openings unless the worker has a social conscience that drives them there…or back to where they grew up.

Compensation Expectations

  • Competitive salaries: To attract top talent, companies must offer competitive salaries and benefits. However, considering the dismal state of many provider finances, budget constraints can make this difficult.
  • Stock options and incentives: In a world of retail health startups stock options may be part of the compensation package. Recent failure rates and closures may not make this form of perspective compensation attractive to risk-averse candidates.

Employer Branding

  • Reputation and visibility: Companies in the digital health sector may not have the same level of visibility or reputation as major tech firms, making it harder to attract top talent. Therefore it is imperative that the trust and viability of the brand be factored into the recruitment process and promotional materials
  • Innovative appeal: Demonstrating a commitment to innovation and showcasing cutting-edge digital transformation projects can help attract candidates interested in making a significant impact. Many providers will emphasize a risk-reward structure to emphasize a culture of changemakers.  In fact, the creativity and innovation reflected in the recruitment process itself provide curb appeal that more traditional methods do not offer.  Something as simple as the recruitment section of the provider’s website can make a huge difference.

By addressing these challenges with strategic initiatives, companies can improve their chances of successfully recruiting and retaining top talent in the digital health sector.


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