Well, it’s no secret: the great resignation has affected all areas of the economy, including healthcare. It seems that every clinic owner, practice administrator, or executive I talk with struggles to recruit and retain talent for their organization. In fact, the other day I had 3 calls back to back with clinic owners whose main struggle was finding and retaining clinicians.
In this article, I want to discuss a few patterns I’ve noticed working with clients trying to recruit clinicians in today’s healthcare environment. I’ll also make some simple suggestions based off what I have seen work for both my clients and at my clinic. Now, I always hesitate to write articles that seem too much to respond to current events and present day challenges in healthcare. I just feel that they don’t age well, and the insights or advice I offer up in those pieces becomes irrelevant sooner rather than later. That being said, I believe some of the underlying factors affecting the current healthcare employment market result from some fundamental changes in the industry that won’t likely resolve anytime soon. Some of these issues, I address in my book Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare.
Let’s start with some context and a brief description of the employment marketing in healthcare these days.
The Employment Situation: Student Recruitment & Current Clinicians
As anyone who’s tried to hire clinical staff knows: recruiting and retaining talent poses challenges. Obviously, for smaller clinics and organizations, competing with larger hospital systems with bigger budgets and more benefits gets expensive quickly. Since the pandemic in 2020, with inflation driving up the cost of living and many organization transitioning to virtual and remote work (more on that later), many clinics looking to hire front line clinical staff find themselves either paying much higher wages to their staff or piecing together teams with per diem and contract labor.
If you spend much time on social media, browsing the posts of medical professionals, it’s not uncommon to see numerous posts about open positions going unfilled for weeks or even months without so much as a single applicant. Clinics and organizations across the country seem to be struggling with attracting and retaining frontline clinical staff.
So the question is: Why, in a world with an aging population in need of increasing medical services, and where all major medical professionals report a record number of graduates each year, how can it be so difficult to recruit clinical staff?
College Enrollment & Recruitment Stats in Healthcare Programs
I sit on the board for NBCOT. At our last meeting we spent a bit of time discussing the issue of student enrollment and how that may affect the clinical workforce in the coming years. Now, I’ve been removed from the academic world for a couple of years, so I was unaware of the decline in applications to certain healthcare programs across the country. The info below relates to healthcare programs in the United States, and it does seem like we’re going to experience some decline in frontline clinical staff in the years ahead.
For those that wonder where we stand, a recent article from the Association of American Medical Colleges reported an increase in medical school enrollment of 30.2% for the last academic year (2022-2023). So, it seems that physicians seem to be keeping up with demand.
The interesting findings come from frontline clinical staff in the allied health professions; namely physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing, and respiratory therapy:
- The American Occupational Therapy Association reported a meager increase in enrollment between 2020 and 2021 of only 0.84%.
- The American Council of Academic Physical Therapy actually reported a net decrease in overall applications to PT programs of -4.17% for this current academic enrollment period (2021-2023). Though, from 2019 to 2020, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education reported an increase in enrollment of 7.66%; the last year for which I could find data.
- The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported marginal increases in enrollment in entry-level baccalaureate programs (3.3%) and in Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs (4.0%).
What do we make of these numbers? Well, for one, we can conclude that frontline clinical staff in the allied health professions will be in short supply in a few years; especially if the demand growth in those fields stay in line with the current projects of between 20-30%. What I find interesting though, is how this decline in student enrollment is acting as a lagging indicator for the sentiment of the current population of licensed clinicians out there. We’re having difficulty recruiting new students into these programs because our current population of clinicians are no longer advocating for these professions as viable career options.
I don’t have hard numbers on this, but I can tell you that clinician burnout continues to rise year over year. In fact, I had Larry Benz on the podcast to discuss his book about clinical care and burnout. Even a couple years ago, before the pandemic and the increasing demands on frontline clinical staff, burnout forced many clinicians out of direct clinical work, or out of healthcare entirely.
But what’s caused this ever increasing burnout rate, specifically in frontline clinical staff? Some may say that it’s a result of the pandemic, but I disagree. If anything, I believe that, the same way the pandemic accelerated telehealth adoption, it also accelerated the negative effects of some real fundamental and systemic issues in healthcare. I cover many of those issues in my book Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare, but I’ll briefly touch on some of them here.
The main drivers behind clinician burnout relate to the ever-increasing amount of administrative burden placed on frontline clinical staff; namely documentation and compliance issues. These stem from payer-related issues like reimbursement levels, coding and billing requirements, and the like. Frontline clinical staff not only provide the majority of the direct patient care in most healthcare facilities, they also account for the majority of the revenue generation (not surprisingly). And, since most payers still follow a fee for service reimbursement model, those frontline clinical staff experience ever-increasing productivity standards. Those productivity requirements include documentation and billing or charting requirements to keep up with the changes that payers come up with on a regular basis.
The Pandemic’s Effects on Clinician Burnout
So, one might ask why or how the pandemic had an effect on clinician burnout rates. Think of what I just described above. Frontline clinical staff account for most of the revenue at healthcare organizations. When the pandemic went into full effect and hospitals and clinics were forced to halt all non-essential medical procedures (like elective surgeries, which bring in big revenue to hospitals and clinics alike), hospitals and clinics experienced huge drops in revenue. Some hospital and practice executives that I worked with during that time told me that their organizations experienced a 50% or larger decrease in revenue during that time.
Well, since frontline clinical staff drive much of the revenue in today’s healthcare organizations, who do you think felt the squeeze? Not only were these clinicians expected, encouraged, and often berated to “be more productive”, but they were also the target of cost-cutting and layoffs. I know of one regional hospital system that laid off 90% of its outpatient rehab staff. The other 10% were re-routed into the acute care side of the organization, or detailed to complete other tasks like drive-through testing.
All of this pushed those clinicians that were on the fence about retiring over the edge. Many decided to go ahead and retire. Many younger clinicians began bearing the brunt of both the layoffs and the increasing productivity standards. They weren’t in a position to retire, and every hospital or clinic in the country had instituted hiring freezes and budget cuts. High stress work environments place enough strain on employees, but add the feeling of being trapped in a job you don’t want but can’t leave, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for high levels of burnout.
And that leads us to attrition. Those clinicians that experienced burnout and saw an opportunity decided to make the switch out of clinical care entirely. Some clinicians took jobs that related to their clinical experience, like medical documentation reviewers or auditors, quality assurance jobs, or other back office or administrative roles within healthcare. A few found roles in healthcare technology startups and DME sales roles (more on that in a bit). And some clinicians left the healthcare field altogether, heading into real estate, insurance sales, and even banking. It’s simple math. Decreasing number of available clinicians, combined with meager or declining student enrollments means that the supply of available clinical staff is (or will be) lower than it was only a few years ago.
Now, while the reasons behind this attrition seem to be pretty clear, I think it’s worth looking a bit deeper into the situation. One could easily point to the reasons I just mentioned (high stress, increased productivity demands, etc.) resulting from the pandemic as the source for high numbers of clinician attrition. However, digging into some of the deeper trends and patterns helps us gain a more accurate understanding of the healthcare employment landscape.
Factors Affecting Clinician Recruitment & Retention
Ok, so aside from the increasing pressures resulting from the pandemic over the last couple of years, what’s the real reason behind clinician recruitment & retention troubles? Well, in recent years, clinicians began exploring “non-clinical” roles in healthcare technology, management, and even sales. While these jobs still fall in the healthcare industry, they reduce (or even eliminate) direct patient contact in these roles. And that’s what clinicians have been looking for recently…but why?
As I mentioned earlier, the drive to these non-clinical jobs started several years ago, and only accelerated in the wake of the pandemic. There may be other factors driving this move than what I’m about to list, but these are the biggest factors I’ve noticed both hiring for positions at my clinic, and working with clients and organizations on consulting projects.
Whether it results in clinicians leaving the field entirely, or seeking non-traditional or non-clinical roles, the major factors driving this move seem to be related to:
- Work pressures resulting from business & reimbursement models in healthcare (particularly in the US)
- The advent of remote work
- A desire for increased flexibility
- A growing interest in both non-traditional and non-clinical applications of clinical education and skills
I’ll break down each of these briefly here below, but they each could be their own stand-alone article.
Work Pressures Resulting from Business & Reimbursement Models
I cover this in detail in my book, but here’s the long and short of it. Most all of healthcare delivery is reimbursed on a fee for service basis. Whether it’s a time-based coding system (timed CPT codes) or a procedure-based system (service-based CPT codes), healthcare organizations generally receive revenue based on the amount of healthcare services they provide; not necessarily on the effectiveness of those treatments or services, or the value they provide. Now “value-based” and “merit-based” reimbursement systems exist, but they fall short in a lot of ways.
Why is this important? Because the business or revenue model drives organizational decisions. Since healthcare organizations receive revenue in proportion to the number of units or codes that they bill to third-party payers, more patients billed for “optimized” services equals more revenue. As Ed Less said on an episode of The Better Outcomes Show: incentives matter. This reimbursement and revenue model incentivizes healthcare clinics and hospitals to aim for a high-volume of highly productive (or billable) visits or encounters. That means that clinicians feel pressure to see an ever-increasing number of patients, and to only spend time doing “billable” activities with those patients.
Combine that with the fact that ancillary healthcare professions generally act as the revenue generators for healthcare organizations, and you’ve got a recipe for high-stress work environments in those disciplines. While doctors and surgeons may also feel the pressure to see increasing numbers of patients, the ancillary healthcare professionals feel pressure from both ends of the spectrum. On they payer side, reimbursement continue to decline. Naturally, the services whose reimbursement gets cut first are the higher-volume services, like ancillary healthcare. For every knee surgery, as an example, physical therapy and nursing bill out many more codes than the physician. And on the other side, the organizational side, when reimbursement gets cut, so do departmental budgets, job positions, etc. And all with a pressure to “increase productivity” or “utilization”. This pushes many clinicians to the point of burnout and even attrition from the field entirely.
Now, take what I just described about workplace pressures and the drive to productivity and utilization, and throw in the whole “remote work” explosion we’ve seen over the last couple of years. Like I’ve said already, I think the pandemic didn’t cause this so much as it simply accelerated the rate of change many folks were already experiencing. I’ve essentially been working remotely since 2017 when I started consulting. Sure, I have an office now, but I could easily do a lot of the work that I do from home, or a coffee shop, or even the beach (now that’s an idea!).
But how has the great increase in remote work affected healthcare recruitment and retention?
Remote work has impacted mostly the licensed clinician work-force; in that, many clinicians have begun to see that much of the “knowledge work” of healthcare (documentation, report-writing, etc.) can be done remotely. This has done a couple of things 1) it has pushed many clinicians to try and leave direct patient care entirely and seek “non-clinical” remote work and 2) it has caused them to inquire about (and sometimes demand from employers) more flexibility about where/when some of this “non-patient-care” takes place.
Where & When Work Gets Done
Because remote work opens up flexibility and options to work in an environment other than the physical office or clinical space, many clinicians see it as an opportunity to “get away” from the hectic clinic life and still get work done. And to be honest, there’s some benefits here. Allowing clinicians to complete at least a portion of their normal “administrative” work remotely may help decrease stress brought on by the work environment. Things like patient documentation, billing, chart reviews, etc. do not require a physical presence in the office to be completed. (Now, obviously, you need to make sure everything is good from a cybersecurity standpoint, but that’s the topic of another article all together) Allowing clinicians to complete some of these tasks remotely may not cost much in operational efficiency, and may actually improve employee morale in the long run.
In addition to the administrative or non-patient-care tasks in a clinician’s day, virtual service delivery also offers some flexibility for clinicians involved in direct patient care. Especially between the years 2020-2022, the explosion of virtual services like telehealth, and decreased restrictions and regulations regarding the location of the clinician during the encounter, clinicians now see that remote patient care is something that is entirely possible. While the regulatory bodies governing these services may be slow to move and enact updated regulations, clinicians see it as possible, therefore something that can & should be expected depending on the clinical specialty.
“Non-Clinical” Remote Work
Piggy-backing off of the idea of remote administrative work is the topic of non-clinical remote work. Many clinicians, having seen the flexibility offered by remote work opportunities want to transition their entire workday to remote opportunities. As mentioned previously, regulatory restrictions make it difficult to find clinical, direct patient care work that is 100% remote.
So, that leads many clinicians, already struggling with increasing productivity demands in the clinic, to seek fully remote positions, including (and sometimes, especially) those that are non-patient facing. These types of jobs include: utilization review, medical documentation audits, product development, clinical consulting, etc. Since these jobs have the benefit of both flexibility through remote work options and removal from the volume & productivity-based revenue models of traditional healthcare, they receive a lot of attention from clinicians looking to leave their current employment situation.
The Flexibility Beast
Now, all of this —remote work and non-clinical employment options— all point to an underlying trend in the healthcare workforce. I’m sure if you checked in other industries, it would be similar. And that trend is a growing desire among employees for flexibility. Whether it’s called “work-life balance” or some other popular term in vogue these days, it all stems from the idea that people should seek to strike a balance between the demands of the workplace and “non-work” life. Work-life balance has been held up as the potential cure for clinician burnout, turnover, and attrition. That has led many clinicians to seek a higher degree of flexibility in their work. Whether it be lunch breaks or regular breaks for a “refresher walk”, organizations and clinicians try these strategies to decrease work-related stress and hopefully stave off clinician burnout or turnover. Several years ago, when I was applying for a clinical position at a local hospital, the hiring manager actually said something to the effect of “and we actually give all of our clinicians 2 refresher breaks every workday to help reduce the risk of burnout.”
So, needless to say, flexibility in the workplace has been of interest to frontline clinical staff. Remote work obviously opened up a lot of flexibility to clinicians whose jobs often required onsite work for even administrative tasks. Tasks such as documentation, chart reviews, and report-writing don’t necessarily need to be done onsite. Many clinicians see that and are looking for positions that provide them a greater level of flexibility in those “non-direct-patient-care” tasks.
The Non-Clinical Tidal Wave
Now, I’ve mentioned this a bit already, but many clinicians have chosen to leave direct patient care entirely. This is likely a result of several factors in the industry, but productivity requirements for frontline clinical staff certainly play a roll here. Many of these clinicians feel burnt out and pushed to the max with declining reimbursement rates and pressure from upper management to keep revenues up. This situation led many clinical staff to seek “non-clinical” roles like quality assurance, clinical documentation audits, and the like.
However, there’s also a segment of clinically licensed professionals who see that their clinical skills and training have applications outside of the clinic. The most common of these roles tend to be in the healthcare technology space. As software and technology companies continue to develop potential solutions for common challenges in the healthcare industry, a need has grown for professionals with clinical experience and expertise to aid in the development, implementation, and training of those tools. Whether it’s providing recommendations and testing UX/UI design or working in product development, many clinicians have found that their clinical training and expertise adds great value to these types of projects. Couple that with the above-average pay that clinicians receive in these role compared to their clinic-working counterparts, and you begin to see why these non-clinical roles have become so popular in recent years. You don’t have to worry about productivity standards or cranking patients through a mill, and you get paid better than you would working in the clinic? It’s a no brainer.
The Future of Recruiting & Retaining Clinical Staff
So the question is: where does that leave the healthcare industry when it comes to recruiting and retaining clinical staff? If you’re looking at the headlines and social media posts, then you probably think that the outlook is bleak. We regularly hear about clinician burnout, attrition, and the difficulty finding and hiring clinical staff. But, I’m always a bit of an optimist, especially about the future of healthcare and the people that feel the call to join this profession.
The way I see it, there are a few big factors at play that will (hopefully) improve the recruiting outlook in healthcare. The two main factors I see are the correction from the non-clinical positions and the move to hybrid and virtual care.
Will There be a Correction on the Non-Clinical Side?
Let’s start with the correction I see coming from the non-clinical side of the employment spectrum. Much of this movement away from clinical work towards non-clinical positions accelerated during the Great Resignation. And, like the 48% of workers who now say that they would try to get their old job back if given the opportunity, many of these clinicians who left clinical work for non-clinical roles likely experienced some surprise and/or regret upon their move. Sure, they don’t have to worry about clinical productivity standards, but these new positions come with other metrics & KPIs that they weren’t prepared for. They also came with a work environment and culture that is much different than the ones they’re used to working at in clinics and hospitals.
In addition, many of these clinicians went into healthcare because they felt a call to serve people. Healthcare was more of a vocation than a career choice. These clinicians, now having removed themselves from direct clinical care, will feel the pull back into the clinic, if even only on a part-time basis. So I do see a correction coming from this recent non-clinical tidal wave. These clinicians may not return to 100% frontline clinical care, but they’ll definitely want to get back to treating and serving patients; and, as I’ll explain in a little bit, there may be an influx in availability of per diem or PRN clinical staff.
The Move to Hybrid Care & Staff Recruitment
Now, I’ve been an advocate of virtual service delivery methods and telehealth since before the pandemic. However, since 2020, telehealth accelerated in both capability and adoption. This move opens up what I’ve referred to as “hybrid care” —namely, the ability to provide clinical services either through face-to-face interactions or virtually, depending on the needs of the patient. For some patients, care may involve an initial in-person consultation followed by virtual follow-ups. For others, it may involve an entirely virtual experience (and let’s not even begin to discuss synchronous vs asynchronous telehealth encounters!). The point is that virtual service delivery is viable, effective, and here to stay.
So how will that impact healthcare recruitment and retention? Well, telehealth opens up the door to additional revenue streams, leveraging value-based reimbursement schemes, and can decrease the productivity demands on clinicians. It also allows greater flexibility for clinicians, both in where work takes place, and also in the physical demands of the job. As more and more healthcare clinics and organizations continue to make virtual service delivery a standard component of care, we’ll likely see an influx in clinicians who would have left frontline clinical care transition towards more of a hybrid care delivery role. The break from on-person or face-to-face care may also help decrease burnout and other work-related stressors in healthcare.
How to Win at Healthcare Recruitment & Retention
Now when it comes to recruiting, hiring, and retaining clinical staff, there’s no silver bullet out there to make all of the difficulties disappear. Especially now, clinicians expect more autonomy, flexibility, and are seeking additional ways to put their training and expertise to use. What I offer here are simply suggestions and ideas that I’ve seen work, both at my clinic and client organizations.
On the subject of flexibility, I always tell my clients that they need to begin to create an environment that entices this new wave of flexibility-desiring clinicians. Give them opportunities to provide value to the organization in a way other than direct patient care, if that’s what they desire. Offer training and development in those “non-clinical” skill sets like business management, marketing/business development, etc. And hire intentionally. You’re not looking to simply fill a position. You’re looking to hire someone who has the skill set, vision, and attitude that will advance the mission/vision/values of your organization. Hiring right helps retain staff in the long-term.
The recruitment process has become 1) digitized and 2) prolonged. No longer do healthcare employers have a pool of willing candidates ready to fill open positions. It’s much more of a two-way street. Many clinicians are now choosing to “try” an employer out for a while before making more of a commitment to full-time work with that organization. And one of the things they are looking for and evaluating is the overall flexibility of the work schedule. It’s also a digital process. Clinicians likely check out your organization’s website, staff LinkedIn profiles, and online reviews before submitting an application (and they expect that application to be digital as well).
But, as far as winning the healthcare recruitment game, let’s focus on a few major areas: flexibility, autonomy & independence, and skill building & mentoring.
Work Schedule Flexibility
Many of my clients have begun trying to offer more PRN/per-diem work in an effort to attract talent. Many clinicians are now searching for more flexibility in work. It also helps attract those clinicians who are already involved in some non-clinical work and want to maintain some clinical work and experience. As I’ve often said, many people who choose healthcare as a profession see it as more of a calling than a career choice. They went to school to help people. And, while remote and non-clinical opportunities provide the flexibility that they desire, these positions often lack the person-to-person interactions that make healthcare a fulfilling career (or vocational) path. At the same time, these clinicians don’t want to go back to cranking patients through a mill every day. That’s where something like a part time or per diem clinical job shines in their eyes. It allows them to get that human interaction they desire, without having to live each day in a productivity-driven clinical role.
Another area that has seen some success in recruiting and retaining clinical staff involves documentation & report-writing. Depending on your network security measures and device options, allowing clinical staff to complete reports and documentation off site allows frontline clinical staff the ability to get some of that flexibility of the new remote work environment without taking them out of the clinic entirely. Again, the “brain work” of healthcare doesn’t necessarily need to take place onsite, and highlighting that fact as part of the recruitment process can be an effective way of attracting and retaining talent.
Autonomy & Independence
One thing that came about from the shift to remote work that took place in 2020 was the greater sense of autonomy & independence that employees (including clinical staff) experienced during that season. I know it looked different depending on geographic location and practice setting, but many clinicians were allowed to complete much of that “brain work” outside of their clinical practice areas. Maybe they completed reports from home. Maybe they ended up working on non-clinical projects such as quality improvement initiatives. Whatever the case may be, these clinicians experienced a greater deal of autonomy and independence in their work, and it grew to be something that they valued in their work life.
Again, this can be difficult to achieve with in-person clinical work —patients are scheduled when they’re scheduled, right? But, finding ways to allow clinicians to exercise some autonomy in their work does a great job of both boosting team morale and improving clinician retention. Perhaps it involves something as simple as allowing a team of clinicians to execute a specific program in their clinic.
I’m going to use an example from the physical rehabilitation world, because that’s where I spend a lot of my time. I have worked with clients who have allowed a team of their clinicians to develop a “program” of some kind to focus their specialization or clinical skills. One client of mine decided to allow their clinicians to develop a Runner Improvement Program. It involved developing specific protocols and exercise prescriptions for recovering from common injuries and to improve overall performance/speed. They ended up building on that to develop a nice little practice niche in rehabbing injured runners, and then also added the additional revenue stream of running performance training. This all came about because the owner of the clinic allowed their clinicians some autonomy & independence in creating the program and building their clinical specialties. They then simply marketed their newly developed program and saw success.
Something like that is easily replicable across various clinical disciplines and specialties. It also helps infuse meaning and fulfillment in clinicians’ work, which can help increase retention and reduce the risk of burnout over the long run.
Using Skill-Building Opportunities & Mentoring as a Recruitment Tool
In the same vein as autonomy & independence, many clinicians value skill-building and mentoring opportunities. I find this especially true of relatively new clinicians —those who have graduated within the last 12-24 months. They are young in their career and desire the input and guidance of more skilled professionals. But, one interesting thing I have noticed over the last couple of years is that the type of mentorship opportunities they seek seem to have shifted a bit. Instead of simply searching out master clinicians to learn from, many new graduates and younger clinicians want to learn more of those “non-clinical” skills. They want to learn from business owners, managers, consultants, etc. This is likely a result of what I mentioned earlier and the push to non-clinical work. However, it does provide an opportunity for practice owners and managers looking to recruit and retain clinical staff.
Providing both mentorship opportunities as well as work responsibilities outside of direct patient care benefits the clinician and also the organization. I had a client who hired a clinician to do part-time clinical work and part-time business development or marketing work. Over time, that staff member grew in both their skill and ability and ended up transitioning entirely into a marketing role for that business. The client was happy, because they weren’t paying some marketing firm to help do business development. And the clinician was happy because they were still working in their field, but outside of direct patient care. Now, there’s no reason to think every hire will want something like that. And many, as I’ve said before, will want to continue some kind of direct patient care work. But, it’s a good example of thinking outside of the box and meeting staff members where they are at in building out a career path for them that benefits both the organization and the team member.
There’s obviously much that can be said about recruitment and retention of healthcare staff. And this article is by no means an exclusive list of possibilities. It’s just a smattering of ideas I’ve come across over the last couple of years. One thing is certain: the pressures of our current healthcare system will continue to push frontline clinical staff to the point of apathy and burnout unless something changes. While individual organizations and practices can’t do much to change big picture things like reimbursement schemes or regulatory issues, they must adapt their way of recruiting and retaining staff to ensure that they’re able to continue to provide services. A move towards more of a per diem workforce may not be ideal, but it may be a way to maintain a fully staffed and productive clinic in the wake of this non-clinical tidal wave and great resignation we keep hearing about. Allowing clinical staff more autonomy and independence or skill-building opportunities may do more to retain those staff, ad maybe even build in another niche practice area or subspecialty program. Hopefully this article provided some food for though when it comes to recruiting and retaining clinical staff now and into the future.
Do you have any tips or strategies for attracting or retaining talent to your organization? Share any additional resources that you found helpful in the comments below!
For more informational reads, check out our Insights Page to see all the articles we’ve published to date, recent podcast episodes, and links to past webinars and videos. Or if you want to develop a system to attract, acquire, engage, and retain more patients to increase your clinic’s revenue, learn how Rehab U Practice Solutions can help here! You can also schedule a call with Rafi to discuss your clinic or organization’s situation and learn here.
Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L (Rafi) is the Principal Owner of Rehab U Practice Solutions and the host of The Better Outcomes Show and the author of Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare. He has experience in a variety of rehab settings, working with patients recovering from a variety of injuries and surgeries. Rafi has worked in a variety of settings, from orthopedic and musculoskeletal rehabilitation, to academia, and even healthcare consulting. He spent the majority of his clinical experience working at Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, where he was the lead clinician and clinical education coordinator for the outpatient specialty rehab program. In this role, he treated many veterans with chronic pain and helped to establish an interdisciplinary pain management program. He has worked on projects ranging from patient engagement initiatives to marketing communication campaigns to a multi million dollar project assisting the State of Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities transition individuals out of state institutions to community residences. His work on Telehealth has been discussed in Forbes. He also has experience as a core faculty member at Augusta University’s Occupational Therapy Program, as a Licensed Board Member on the GA State OT Board, and he serves on the Board of Directors for NBCOT. He works to help healthcare clinics and organizations deliver uniquely impactful patient experiences by improving service delivery, increase revenue, and deliver better outcomes.
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