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What You Should Ask Your Physician Recruiter

Key Questions That Have Nothing to Do With Practicing Medicine

Once you’ve created or edited a LinkedIn profile that allows physician recruiters to find you, you’ll start hearing all about “dynamic practice opportunities” and ways to “advance your career.” Fielding all of these emails is not worth the expensive time in a physician’s day. Being desired and pursued for impressive positions should feel like flattery, but it can also overwhelm you and turn you off in the process. Within your saturated mailbox there is almost guaranteed to be gold. If you want that – and who doesn’t – these tips will help you sift the nuggets from the sand. Here are three ways you can make the most of the physician recruitment process:

1. Scrutinize the Recruiter’s Ability to Represent You

Question any recruiter who sends what feels like copy-paste or automated email. Does it represent an actual position with detail or is the message just trolling for more CVs? Remember that the communication skills of your recruiter are often the difference between a higher or lower salary, as well as how seriously you are taken as a candidate. If the recruiter took time to make reference to specific information on your profile, and spun that information into an attention-grabbing email, that is a very good sign that you have an opportunity for effective representation.

On the other hand, if you get the impression that the recruiter is just playing the numbers, searching for a volume of candidates to hit a quota of CVs and can’t fit you into actual positions in a thoughtful manner, be very skeptical. Ask a lot of questions should you get on the phone with them. Your first call is about assessing the recruiter as much as or more than the opportunity represented.

2. Determine if the Recruiter Cares About Cultural Fit – and You

Most of your initial questions to a recruiter should center NOT around the name of the employer, or obvious information about the company that hired the recruiter to fill a position. Even clinical details are secondary and can wait for detailed materials, as often the recruiter knows little about medicine and how it is practiced. Rather, you are best served asking as much as possible about the company culture at this prospective employer. This serves several purposes:

  • It tells you whether the recruiter really is connected with their client
  • It tells you whether the recruiter cares about filling a specific position
  • It tells you if the recruiter is in their line of work only to push numbers
  • It tells you if the recruiter cares about the client’s well-being, and by extension yours

3. Research the Recruiter’s Legitimacy by Inspecting Their Brand

One of the best ways to know how real a recruiter is being with you is to really investigate their brand. Start by digging through their website. Is it full of testimonials that sound specific, not fictional?  Knowing that the company has served others well in the past, on both your side and side offering you the opportunity, is key to assessing your recruiter. Pay attention to the company’s marketing prowess. If their site and materials look good and works well, it’s a sign that they are successful enough to invest in looking successful.

Also, do they have a great many job orders, and are those job orders attractive rather than off-putting? The last thing an urbane doctor who has expressed specific locations for work wants is to hear about are the ten opportunities you represent in places very distant and different than what they want. If your recruiter tries to pitch far-flung locations to you, that could mean they aren’t invested enough in the regions you do care about.

 

Keep these points in mind when talking to a recruiter, because if the only questions you ask are about medical practice, you’re setting yourself up for wasted time. Go deeper than just practice details and your search will more likely be the success you want and need.

How a Physician Can Write a User-Friendly CV

408549043Make Your CV Easier to Read and More Likely to Work

Think of your Curriculum Vitae (CV) as you would an app: if the hiring authorities find it easy to get the information they want, you are closer to landing the right practice opportunity. Follow the tips in this article and anyone who reviews your Physician CV will have a good user experience.

1. Make it Concise

Most of the people who will read your CV know nothing about you and will have a limited amount of time to shortlist candidates. If those reviewing your CV don’t get through the whole document, they will not be fully informed.  While the optimal number of pages for a CV varies on a case by case basis, a 2 or 4-page CV is generally sufficient for the highlights in a young medical professional’s career. Write a precise and clearly articulated CV with unnecessary information removed.

Keep in mind that the CV may be viewed on a mobile device, making the density of its contents important for your success. Use bullets when possible to highlight information that needs to stand out.  If there are fewer words and those words are organized well, there will be a smaller chance that the important ones will be lost.

2. Make it Accurate

Honesty and transparency are requirements for a CV to be most effective. When you describe your employment history, there should be zero gaps in the years worked. Be detailed about your career. Distinguish between part time and full time work. Include military service and volunteer activities under headings separate from employment. If you took a leave of absence, briefly explain it.

Don’t take credit you don’t deserve: specify your role in any group efforts described, including research projects and publications. Include all information about your educational background (the year your degree was rewarded, your major, the name of your degrees, and the complete name and location of the institution). Date all information about current and former memberships to any relevant organizations. If you are as transparent as possible about your past, your CV will be better for it.

3. Make it Consistent

Consistency is crucial for a CV to be reviewed and understood quickly. Organize information into categories. Include the same information for each entry in each category; for example, if you include the location of your undergraduate institution, be sure to include location in your medical school’s description as well.

If schooling is presented in chronological order, do the same with your employment history, publications, and any other referenced category. Present the descriptions of each category in a consistent manner as well; for example, job titles in bold style under employment history mean that the titles in a volunteering category should be bold as well.

Instructions on how to order the categories in your CV vary, but as a physician your education is so crucial to your candidacy that placing it first often makes sense. Consistency of information and how that information is presented will go a long way toward ensuring ease of use.

4. Make it Flawless

Before your CV is ever presented to any employer, have it reviewed by multiple readers. Each will evaluate the CV from a different point-of-view, so select readers who will best be able to identify weaknesses. For example, a friend with a writing background may do copy editing, but a colleague in your industry may have even more important edits affecting the content.

The most valuable feedback will come from a contact who has hiring authority in healthcare and knows what is most important to a potential employer. This authority could be an HR professional, a senior physician with whom you practice, or a department head where there is an existing academic relationship.

When you do make physical copies, print on 8 ½” by 11” white paper, on one side only, and place a single staple in the upper left hand corner. If the page is smudged, creased or marked, reprint it. Remember, if there are grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors, if important information is missing, or if the printout is problematic, the reader may stop in their tracks and dismiss you as a candidate altogether.

 

No set of tips is enough to make sure you land the position you want, but these four points contain best practices that can influence a hiring authority. Keep your CV as user-friendly as possible and it will ease your search for the right practice opportunity.

Against Counteroffers

Against Counteroffers6 Reasons You’re Better Off Walking

  • Employers are often panicking when counteroffers are made, and this panic is a frantic state of mind. If the counteroffer is accepted, employers are relieved and panic falls away. But gratitude that the employee is still around is soon replaced by resentment at being forced to give more. The employer-employee relationship rarely recovers. Think of it like any other relationship – once a significant rejection occurs, there is no returning to where you were before the break.
  • It took a counteroffer for your employer to pay you what you should have been making already. Did the employer find new value in you that wasn’t there before you almost quit? More likely than not the employer is not seeing you as worth more in the long term; to an employer a counteroffer can be a bribe to keep operations going until another cut-rate employee comes along, and you get let go. Even if you get to stay, you can’t expect an offer every time you want a raise. There should be no expectation that the next raise will come easily.
  • The beginning of a counteroffer is usually the beginning of being let go. Your need for counteroffers inform your employer that a backup plan is needed, and steps to find your replacement need to be taken. After all, your employer knows you are looking and has to protect the business from the problems your absence would cause, an absence now seen as inevitable. In the process of employers planning for the replacement, sometimes so much progress is made that you’re no longer needed long before you might have been planning on leaving. Whatever the reason, expect to be moving on after you take a counteroffer. It results in a temporary job.
  • Don’t forget the reason you wanted to make a change. Money may be a motivator that a generous counteroffer can satisfy, but the other reasons that sent you into the job market are not going to change because you are getting paid more. The boss is still there. The co-workers are still there. The rules are still there. The demands are there too. Even if the money is fantastic, whatever that money can’t influence will drive you to look again.
  • Bluffing with a bad offer to get a great counteroffer is a dangerous gamble should you end up being encouraged to resign when negotiating a counteroffer. On the other hand, leading on a prospective employer will lock you out of them once the counteroffer is accepted, so be prepared – if you walk away from what you were offered you should have no plan to go back at a later time. If you fail to get a counteroffer and have only a poor offer to take, you have nothing and nothing but your game to blame.
  • If you’re receiving a counteroffer, it means you’ve accepted an offer. What about the new job you’ve already committed to? The new employer must see value in you to offer you a position. Meanwhile, this counteroffer only came because you forced your current employer’s hand. Be completely prepared to take the offer and reject the counteroffer before you present anything. Above all else, integrity matters. If you don’t do what you said you would, you’ve lost something even if you end up gaining by going back on your word. No counteroffer is high enough to buy back your integrity.

How to Perfect the Description on Your LinkedIn Profile

Recently, we covered ways to improve the headline of your LinkedIn profile:

Here are five ways similar principles can be applied to the description of yourself on LinkedIn:

1. All of the advice we gave for headlines directly applies to how to go about writing a description: it should have a hook; it should be targeted; it should give details; it should demonstrate your abilities through its own quality; it should be clever and creative; it should do all this within the bounds of what is considered appropriate in your specific industry.
Bottom Line: What applies to headlines applies to descriptions too

2. Numbers are a description’s best advocate. Yes, a great description should be engaging through its creative way of telling your story, but there is no value to the points your make unless you use data as a foundation. Think of your description as a series of stats connected by compelling content. Scanning a resume, numbers pop off the page in a way letters cannot.
Bottom Line: Let facts and numbers be your foundation

3. Your description needs to engage, and the best way to do that is often by telling a story. Pretend you have only a short bit of time onstage to captivate an audience with the story of your professional life. That may sound like a huge challenge, but if you are honest and insightful in concisely describing yourself, a compelling story will form on its own.
Bottom Line: Tell the short version of your story

4. Using the first person is always best in a LinkedIn profile description. Doing so will help make this description into a narrative. The first-person voice draws a profile viewer in. It invites them to see the world through your eyes. Use this effect to make the facts of your professional life into a story-line, and engage your profile viewers in the process.
Bottom Line: Use first person always

5. Don’t be afraid of using the max of 2000 characters. If you’re telling a good story with your profile, your viewers will not focus on how many characters they counted while reading. It’s not always a best practice to fill up the page, however. If your experience isn’t extensive in the professional world, it’s better to be honest and brief than to embellish. Until you hit 2000, however, worry about the content, not the scope.
Bottom Line: Take the space you need for your story

Follow these guidelines and you will write yourself a great description to go with your great headline.

Challenges of Quality in Behavioral Health Data

 

EHR and Mental HealthWith the prevalence of mental health issues in the United States at nearly 20% of the general population, and the suicide rate rising, the stakes for improving behavioral healthcare are high. Parity, or ensuring that mental and physical healthcare are given the same support and accessibility, is a crucial goal. The Wellstone-Domenici law enforces it, preventing individuals receiving behavioral health services from getting less favorable benefits than those receiving other healthcare services.

Wellstone-Domenici has regulatory guidelines that are driving compliance. In billing and other financial aspects of behavioral healthcare, parity is slowly becoming a reality. For example, reimbursements for behavioral health treatment have improved both from federal government and from private insurers.

In IT, however, parity hasn’t been achieved. The information systems for recording and exchanging patient data related to behavioral health are poor where they exist at all, creating a major gap in quality measurement. Most EHR systems are simply not designed to accommodate the unique records necessary in behavioral healthcare.

How are the insights and nuances of widely varying therapeutic approaches to be documented in a manner that creates useful data? Even simpler data-points, such as recording whether a patient is a danger to themselves, or others, or both, don’t easily fit into a standard EHR rubric.

In large part, behavioral health data elements were left out of meaningful use requirements. As a result, there haven’t been many incentives for EHR vendors to add fields specific to behavioral health.  The increasing importance of integrated health requires shareable and robust behavioral health data, so new resources may be available to develop behavioral health EHR as the healthcare industry shifts towards value-based care. If incentives were offered to vendors for such development, parity would become more feasible.

Ultimately the issue is not just one affecting IT, EHR vendors, and a vertical in healthcare. Individuals with behavioral health issues who have chronic, co-morbid conditions often have physical and mental health records that cannot be integrated in a meaningful way. EHR that is insufficient for the purposes of behavioral health affects the quality of care that all providers are able to give.

This speaks to an uncomfortable truth at the center of parity: that behavioral health issues and medical/surgical issues are not distinct or even separate. They are all healthcare issues. It is time for incentives in healthcare IT that address the capturing and structuring of all data with equal urgency.

Preventing Ransomware in Healthcare

 

Doctor, Physician, Nurse, Medical, Career, Job, Opportunity, Healthcare, Executive, Leadership, Resume, Medical, Health, Administrative For over a decade ransomware has been a threat to cybersecurity, but only recently has it become a trending topic. Ransomware is just what it sounds like – IT systems locked up for ransom. Attackers encrypt important files and then demand payment to decrypt them. Lately, preventing ransomware has become a worldwide IT priority – largely due to publicized attacks on many major healthcare facilities. Organizations in California, Kentucky and the DC Metro Area were hit already this year. This crisis demands a response before attackers can make any more demands. Leadership in prevention of ransomware should come from those most publicly affected: healthcare facilities.

Attacking Healthcare through Backdoors

The first phase of a typical ransomware attack occurs when someone within a company’s system clicks a link to a dangerous site or opens a malicious email attachment. Infection starts there, but the software is not what can do the most damage; people are. Ransomware is most dangerous when it lets in attackers through backdoors. Once in, attackers inflict damage strategically, making their work more targeted and more debilitating than anything a typical virus could do on its own.

To get deeper and deeper into IT systems, ransomware can act autonomously as well, hiding in the very records a hospital depends on, granting access point after access point to attackers by jumping from machine to machine. Whenever a clinician pulls up records, another backdoor is thrown wide open for attackers to enter.

Once access is opened to core systems, everything is there to be attacked, often including backups. If all backup files are encrypted, there is little to no hope for restoration without the ransom being paid, so the importance of robust backup systems at any healthcare facility cannot be overstated. They prevent downtime, protect patients from uninformed care, and lessen the burden of potential legal action on clinicians and facilities.

Targeting Hospitals for Cybercrime

Frequent access to life and death data is critical for a healthcare organization to operate safely. Without medical records, how can clinicians hope to provide any treatment? How can patients feel safe at facility under attack? If a medication allergy is missed, for example, patients can die, or survive only to take legal action.

When a Kentucky hospital system was hit, providers were entirely unable to access patient records over a weekend. By Monday, however, all systems were restored completely – thanks to secure backups. Without backups that withstand cyberattacks, paying the ransom is a best practice. In the California attack a $17,000 ransom was paid out in Bitcoin after the hospital’s systems were offline for over a week.

What to do if ransomware hits your organization? Follow one response from DC Metro Area hospital system MedStar. When attacked in the spring of 2016, MedStar acted immediately: every machine was taken offline, including WiFi and Bluetooth devices, and every connected USB stick or hard drive was removed as well. MedStar then went back to using paper until the issues were resolved. Going offline and back to paper until restoration may sound drastic, but it is by far the safest response when faced with ransomware.

Trained Employees Are the Best Firewall

The first point of failure in every ransomware attack is human error, so the most proven, effective defense against ransomware is rigorous training. Teaching employees how to spot it is crucial. One method for preparation is to simulate attacks. Hackers are hired by the healthcare facilities to send out simulated ransomware to employees and measure the results.

Just as ransomware is more dangerous when it allows attackers to be deliberately and manually encrypt a system, if properly trained, your people acting deliberately and manually can be your best firewall. Training to prevent ransomware should be the highest of priorities for every healthcare organization. Expect to be attacked regardless, and expect dire consequences if your backup systems and everyone you work with are not prepared when the attack hits.