Insights from MAPRA’s 2019 Conference: Together Towards Tomorrow

Wolters Kluwer recently attended the Mid-Atlantic Physician Recruiter Alliance’s (MAPRA) 12th annual conference held on October 23 and 24, 2019, at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland.


An affiliate organization of the Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment (AAPPR), MAPRA is a leading professional group connecting physician and health provider recruitment leaders. Its annual conference provides us a golden opportunity to connect and build relationships with potential partners in the physician recruitment industry. These relationships help us tailor content for our healthcare journals and websites to better meet the needs of our customers.


What follows is an overview of the conference, including the trending topics discussed among experts in the field of physician recruitment. Notable themes included the problem of physician burnout, a skills brain drain, and changing demographics among healthcare workers. All of these factors are demanding that recruiters adapt their approaches to building tomorrow’s healthcare workforce.


Physician Burnout a Growing Concern


This year’s MAPRA conference had fewer participants than in previous years, perhaps reflecting one of the more sobering topics to be raised at the conference: physician burnout. “From Burnout to Bliss: UMMS Journey Toward a Provider Wellness Program” was presented by Sharee Selah from the University of Maryland Medical System. In her session, she addressed the growing demands and complexities facing today’s clinicians.


A study by the National Academy of Medicine has found that clinicians are facing overwhelming job demands with insufficient resources. According to Pascale Carayon, Ph.D., director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Institute for Healthcare Systems Engineering, the requirements of the job are creating “moral distress and the misalignment between what clinicians want to do ... and what they're asked to do, whether by healthcare organizations or by patients," said Carayon. “Healthcare organizations must figure out how to align their structures with their values.”


Physician Brain Drain


In a similar vein, another concern evident from the list of speakers and presentations was physician retention and the brain drain as a result of a shifting physician population. Aging, burnout, and maldistribution of work patterns are making it harder for recruiters and providers to find and retain clinicians. Trevor Strauss, MBA and senior director from Jackson Physician Search, led a panel discussion on “The 3 Most Significant Recruitment Trends for 2019/2020” that explored the crucial role that data and analytics play in physician recruitment.


Later in the proceedings, Jennifer Moody of ECG Management Consultants presented a session titled “Attracting, Engaging and Retaining the Next Generation of Providers.” Her key takeaways were that cultural shifts in the U.S. population are impacting provider demographics, and organizations will be forced to rethink how they engage, recruit, and retain providers. Because the provider of tomorrow is not likely to look like the workforce today, recruitment must respond to shifting demographics among the younger generations currently in college and who will form tomorrow’s clinician workforce.


Other notable presentations were “Mastering Your Memory Profession Forward,” by Tyler Enslin, and “Starting from Scratch: Building and Maintaining a Successful Onboarding Program for Provider Engagement and Retention,” presented by Abigail White and Amy Bird from Christiana Care Health System.


Perhaps the most notable standout moment was the keynote speaker Pete Smith, an international speaker and coach in the fields of leadership, management, and personal growth. Smith is the author of Dare to Matter: Choosing an Unstuck and Unapologetic Life of Significance. Self-described as “edgy” on his website, Smith was refreshingly motivational by all accounts. While his presentation touted familiar refrains — focus on the positive, the now, and things that you can control — his message was delivered in a unique, no-nonsense, blunt, but compelling style.


The slides from most presentations at the conference are available here.


Our Footprint


This year, we were happy to see that attendees seemed more familiar with the Wolters Kluwer brand, but many were not aware of the company’s precise offerings. We were able to educate booth visitors — physician recruiters, medical search firms, and advertising agencies — about the company’s role in advancing knowledge, research, and recruitment in the health field.


Recurring topics discussed in the booth included the need for physician recruiters to work across every specialty, including psychology, internal medicine, and family practice. The importance of email as a communication channel was a popular topic of conversation because participants were in consensus that physicians are still reading a considerable amount of print.


On a lighter note, the smaller number of attendees this year added to the atmosphere of collegiality. Social activities among participants included a group dinner at the hotel restaurant and an energized cocktail reception hosted by The Medicus Firm & Pacific Companies. Some attendees sought the local culture and ventured to Edgar Allen Poe’s gravesite, which was around the corner from the hotel.


Overall, the MAPRA 2019 conference raised awareness of the state of physician recruitment, the evolving demographics within the industry, and how stakeholders should respond to the changing trends. For Wolters Kluwer’s part, we were told that we outshone our exhibitors in terms of swag. That means we’re well positioned for our return next year.


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