May 17, 2020

4 Tips to Recruit the Best Hospital Staff

3 min
Hospital employment is expected to see an 18 percent increase in the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If your hospital's hiring department misses the mark when recruiting doctors, nurses and other staffers, it could result in subpar patient care, or...

If your hospital's hiring department misses the mark when recruiting doctors, nurses and other staffers, it could result in subpar patient care, or worse, medical malpractice lawsuits.

Medical Practice Hiring Statistics

Physician and nursing jobs are one of the fastest growing occupations in the country.

If your hospital is currently recruiting doctors, nurses, or other staff members, then you already know how many applicants are out there competing for a spot.

In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 700,000 physician jobs filled in 2012 alone. In addition, hospital employment is expected to see an 18 percent increase in the next 10 years.

[READ MORE] How to Attract and Retain Your Hospital Accounting Staff

With that said Becker's Hospital Review reports that medical malpractice payouts in the U.S. reached $3.6 billion in 2012.

With malpractice and medical practice fraud on the rise, it's more important than ever for your hospital to hire qualified, trustworthy employees.

In order to avoid a less-than-effective staff, here are a few hiring procedure tips every hospital should follow.

1. Vet the Best Candidates

As the following article looks at, when it comes to physicians and stolen tax returns, avoiding medical practice fraud starts with vetting the best possible candidates. This includes thoroughly checking candidates' backgrounds as well as contacting all references.

Whether you're in search of a head surgeon or patient care technician, past work relationships and previous employers can tell you a lot about a candidate.

No matter the level of the position, contacting all references and researching the candidate thoroughly will ensure your hospital hires the most reliable, honest personnel available.

2. Revamp Recruiting Procedures

In order to find the best possible candidates, your hospital's hiring department may need to take another look at its hiring procedures.

Is your hospital posting job openings on reputable medical sites? What other methods are being used to market open positions? Are hiring managers conducting multiple-part interviews?

Asking your hiring department these questions will lead to revamping hiring procedures.

[READ MORE] The One Thing Every Hospital Can Do to Improve Operations and Reduce Costs

This includes marketing job openings to diverse candidates and conducting more comprehensive interviews. Interviews with hiring managers as well as medical department heads will ensure your hospital hires the most qualified individuals.

3. Offer Residencies and Internships

Offering residencies and internships as opposed to long-term positions will help your hospital find the best fit possible.

Residencies usually last two years; more than enough time to decide whether a candidate works well with employees and patients.

Likewise, offering internships to candidates who don't have much experience is another great way to ensure you choose the right hires.

Many nurses participate in paid internships as part of their training, which is a great opportunity for your hospital to see how candidates respond to real life medical situations.

4. Monitor New Employees Closely

A number of hospitals consider the first few weeks of work as a candidate's "trial period."

This is the time when hospital department heads monitor new staffers' work habits, personalities, working relationships, and bedside manners. Once your hospital hires a new doctor or nurse, use the first few weeks of their employment to monitor their activities and make sure they're the right fit.

When your hospital is ready to recruit, keep in mind the tips above and avoid hiring the wrong medical personnel.

About the author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including healthcare and employee conduct.  

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Jun 13, 2021

How healthcare can safeguard itself against cyberthreats

Jonathan Miles
6 min
Jonathan Miles, Head of Strategic Intelligence and Security Research at Mimecast, tells us how the healthcare sector can protect itself from attacks

One of the most fundamental lessons from the COVID crisis is that health should always be a priority.  In a similar fashion to the human body that frequently fights off viruses and foreign invaders that intend to cause it harm, the sector itself is now a prime target for another type of external threat: cyberattacks.

The figures speak for themselves: between December and January this year, hospitals in the UK were at 89% capacity, with 7,000 fewer available beds than there usually are. As the pandemic increased pressure on hospitals, clinics, and research facilities to create a treatment for patients globally, it has left the sector exposed to hackers who, like a virus, have been targeting it relentlessly and evolving their tactics. 

From patient records being held ransom, to fake emails claiming to originate from the UN WHO, the NHS, or vaccine centres, through to attacks on the cold supply chain to find out the secret formula of the COVID vaccine, the healthcare industry is facing constant cyberattacks and struggling to cope. This threat is unlikely to go away anytime soon – and as such, the industry needs to take a proactive, preventative stance to stay safe in a dynamic digital world. 

Going digital 

The responsive nature of healthcare – particularly of hospitals – means that efficiency is crucial to the industry’s standard operations. To support this, the sector has been embracing technological advancements that can improve the quality of work, enabling staff to meet pressing deadlines, and enhancing patient care. For example, the industry has been digitising records and improving its ways of working through digital means over the past few years. 

This shift is critical to offer high quality patient care; yet, it also means the sector has become more dependent on IT, which can come with a risk if cybersecurity processes employed are deemed as inadequate. 

Without the correct security measures in place, the desired efficiency gains realised, can be easily lost in a heartbeat. Simply put, an elementary glitch in the system can have a tremendous ripple effect on many areas, from accessing patient records and conducting scans, to maintaining physical security and protecting the intellectual property of experimental treatment development.

To prevent this, healthcare organisations need to ensure they’re considering cybersecurity as part of their overall digital transformation strategy – and setting the right foundations to create a culture where safety goes hand in hand with patient care. 

Strengthening defences

Before implementing cybersecurity process, healthcare organisations need to assess the potential risks they face. Depending on how much confidential data the trust has, where it is stored, who has access to it and via which means, the cybersecurity strategy and associated solutions will change. 

It’s fair to say that a medical device start-up where all employees have a corporate-sanctioned laptop and access data via a VPN will have radically different needs to a large hospital with hundreds of frontline workers connecting to the hospital’s Wi-Fi using their personal device. 

These requirements will pale by comparison to a global pharmaceutical giant with offices in multiple locations, a large R&D department researching new treatments for complex diseases and a fully integrated supply chain. Considering the existing setup and what the organisations is looking to achieve with its digital transformation strategy will therefore have an immediate impact on the cybersecurity strategy.

Despite this, there are fundamentals that any organisation should implement: 
Review and test your back-up policy to ensure it is thorough and sufficient – By checking that the organisation’s back-up is running smoothly, IT teams can limit any risks of disruption in the midst of an incident and of losing data permanently.

In our recent State of Email Security report, we found that six out of ten organisations have been victims of ransomware in 2020. As a result, afflicted organisations have lost an average of six days to downtime. One third of organisations even admitted that they failed to get their data back, despite paying the ransom. In the healthcare industry, this could mean losing valuable patient records or data related to new treatments – two areas the sector cannot afford to be cavalier about.

Conduct due diligence across the organisation’s supply chain – Healthcare organisations should review their ways of working with partners, providers and regulatory institutions they work with in order to prevent any weak link in their cybersecurity chain. Without this due diligence, organisations leave themselves exposed to the risks of third party-led incidents. 

Roll out mandatory cybersecurity awareness training - Healthcare organisations shouldn’t neglect the training and awareness of their entire staff – including frontline workers who may not access the corporate network on a regular basis. According to our State of Email Security report, only one fifth of organisations carry out ongoing cyber awareness training.

This suggests it is not widely considered as a fundamental part of most organisations cyber-resilience strategy, despite the fact many employees rely on their organisation’s corporate network to work. By providing systematic training, healthcare organisations can help workers at all levels better understand the current cyberthreats they face, how they could impact their organisation, the role they play in defending the networks, and develop consistent, good cybersecurity hygiene habits to limit the risks of incidents. 
Consider a degree of separation – Information and Operational Technology (IT and OT) networks should be separated.

Although mutually supported and reliance on each other, employees shouldn’t be accessing one via the other. This should be complemented by a considered tried and tested contingency and resiliency plan that allows crucial services to function unabated should there be a compromise. Similarly, admin terminals should not have internet access to afford a degree of hardening and protection for these critical accounts.

As the sector becomes a common target for fraudulent and malicious activity, putting cybersecurity at the core of the organisation’s operations is critical. It will help limit the risks of disruption due to cyberattacks, reduce time spent by the cybersecurity team to resolve easily avoidable errors, and ensure that institutions can deliver patient care, safe in the knowledge that their networks are safe.  

Fighting future threats

With technology continuing to change the face of healthcare, the surface area and vectors available for attacks by malicious actors is constantly increasing. With the introduction of apps, networked monitoring devices, and a need for communication, the attack vector is ever expanding, a trend that needs to be monitored and secured against.

To prevent any damage to patients, staff, or the organisation they are responsible for, healthcare leaders must put security front and centre of their digital transformation strategy. Only then can the sector harness the full benefits of technology. Doing this should include implementing cybersecurity awareness training to challenge misconceptions around security, encourage conversation, and to ensure employee knowledge of the security basics and threats faced. 

This ultimately allows healthcare organisations to do what they do best: provide the highest standard of patient care, safe in the knowledge that their operations, patients, and data are safe.

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