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Web site designed to bring physicians to Oklahoma

By Heather Caliendo
Published: March 4, 2009, The Journal Record

TULSA – To battle an increas"/>

Mar 4, 2009: PracticeMatch Helps Oklahoma Hospital Association with Website Technology

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Web site designed to bring physicians to Oklahoma

By Heather Caliendo
Published: March 4, 2009, The Journal Record

TULSA – To battle an increasing shortage of physicians, the Oklahoma Hospital Association has taken a leap into cyberspace.

OHA recently launched a Web site, www.OKPhysicianJobs.com, to attract new physicians to the state and connect them with career opportunities.Patti Davis, executive vice president for OHA, said the idea for the site started a few years ago when rural hospitals expressed frustration with physician recruitment.

"Unfortunately for rural hospitals, they don’t have many of the benefits of other residency programs," Davis said. "It’s very hard for rural hospitals to know where to get residents. We are trying to provide a link for interested residents to know the jobs are out there."

Physicians can browse the site for statewide opportunities by specialty or region.

OHA partnered with PracticeMatch, a St. Louis-based physician data and recruitment service company, to develop the Web site.

Tim Raster, vice president of information technology and operations with PracticeMatch, said the site provides a centralized place for physicians to navigate.

But for tracking the actual results that recruitment Web sites can generate, Raster said it’s still too early to tell.

"We do know that electronic methods are certainly here to stay – that is where the industry is going," he said.

A subscription to the site costs $1,200, which includes a PracticeMatch job listing and a full page in OKPhysicansJobs Resource Guide. The guide is distributed to medical students and residents in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma ranks last in the nation in access to primary care physicians, according to the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences 2008 State of the State’s Rural Health Report. Davis said OHA has been told in the past that half of Oklahoma medical graduates end up leaving the state. OHA is constantly working to encourage more physicians trained in Oklahoma schools and residency programs to stay in this state.

She said the Web site can also serve as a tool to attract out-of-state physicians to Oklahoma.

"If we can keep the residents and medical students, it will benefit the state," Davis said. "This is part of looking into how we can grow our health care work force to meet the ever-changing needs of Oklahoma."

Craig Jones, president of OHA, said quality of life is the No. 1 factor many physicians in residency programs said they consider when choosing where to build their careers.

Along with medical information, the site has sections dedicated to highlighting what Oklahoma has to offer.

Michael Barber, president and chief executive of Cyrus, a Longwood, Fla.-based technology company, said having a Web site focus on quality of life is a vital recruiting tool. Cyrus works with health care organizations on Internet endeavors.

"Physicians are just like anyone, and they look for the lifestyle and benefits of that area where the jobs are," he said. "So this has to sell the lifestyle."

Barber said online physician recruitment is a new trend. He anticipates more hospitals and physician groups to utilize the Web for recruitment opportunities.

"Only recently it has gained traction, particularly with the new physicians," he said. "In order to be successful, organizations have to bypass brick and mortar to an interactive selling environment."

Davis said OHA is in talks with both Oklahoma medical schools, along with Project Boomerang and the Department of Commerce, to link the Web page on their sites.

Davis said there are only a handful of state organizations that have sponsored physician recruitment Web sites.

"We are really pleased with the development. Is this a routine endeavor by hospital associations? No, it’s not," she said.


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