When it comes to hiring, healthcare leaders shouldn't assume a Field of Dreams mentality, "If you build it, they [providers] will come." Quality talent acquisition doesn't work that way, nor does truly strategic workforce planning. Unfortunately that's exactly the approach that's been taken for years by most hospitals and health systems, due to the lack of data available for workforce planning. However, thanks to geographic information systems, healthcare leaders can start accessing already available geo-analytic data and transform reactive recruiting into proactive, strategic workforce planning.
GIS is a mapping technology that has been used in a variety of industries, however in healthcare it's mostly utilized (and recognizable) as a clinical epidemic map. Epidemiologists use GIS technology to create disease maps during large disease outbreaks in order to track the breadth of a crisis along with key medical details about the sick.
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It's this type of map that got David Schutt thinking. He's a principal workforce planner at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif., which includes Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. Why, he wondered, couldn't GIS technology work for healthcare recruiting? After all, clinicians are required to be registered and licensed wherever they practice.
He decided to combine publicly accessible provider state licensing data with other geographic and demographic information (both internal and external, such as organization employment records and U.S. census data) and see what shook out. "Basically if something has a ZIP code, GIS can map it," he says.