GCC Marks Increased Adoption of Digital Portable Credentials

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Read the original article published in Omnia Health Magazine.

Sunil Kumar - Chief Executive Officer
Sunil Kumar – Chief Executive Officer

Global healthcare is a critical and expansive industry encompassing a broad spectrum of services, ranging from medical care and pharmaceuticals to biotechnology, medical devices, and healthcare infrastructure. As the world’s healthcare sector evolves, the requirement for healthcare professionals increases worldwide, and the number of skilled employees migrating to other countries continues to rise to support the demand. According to The World Health Organisation (WHO), as of March 2023, approximately 15 per cent of healthcare workers now work outside their country of birth. A number of regions reported higher numbers of migrated healthcare workers, including the Gulf, where, according to WHO, 70 to 80 per cent of nurses are expatriates.   

Impact on the Healthcare System

Recruiting international healthcare professionals can positively impact a country’s healthcare system in several ways. The migration of healthcare workers can resolve labour shortages and ensure sufficient staffing levels to meet the population’s demand. The increase in population will lead to increased demand for hospital treatments, as well as staff to support the increased number of patients. The recruitment of international healthcare professionals will enable enhanced skill diversity, leading to improved patient care as a result of shared best practices, approaches, expertise, cross-cultural learning and knowledge transfer among teams. An influx of a skilled workforce can also support a country’s economic growth by boosting the healthcare sector and increasing medical tourism levels.

The GCC’s current healthcare expenditure (CHE) is projected to reach US$ 135.5 billion in 2027, but the industry remains dependent on foreign professionals for healthcare personnel requirements. The GCC currently has a limited number of healthcare educational facilities which contributes to the requirement for international healthcare professional recruitment to support the region’s growing healthcare sectors. 

Talent Acquisition in Healthcare

Streamlining the recruitment process of healthcare personnel in the GCC is essential to the region’s ability to attract talent. Not only can efficient recruitment methods aid in optimal workforce acquisition, but they can also enable cost and time savings by reducing time-to-hire periods and delays in patient care, which can lead to reduced patient care and potential financial losses. An enhanced candidate experience during the recruitment phase is considered attractive to healthcare professionals seeking employment and effectively optimises time and resources, enabling a more sustainable recruitment business model. 

Recruiting healthcare professionals requires compliance with a country’s legal and regulatory requirements, including qualification and license assessments and verification, as well as identity and background checks.

The Role of Digital Portable Credentials

Currently, the GCC is undergoing significant digital transformation and the increased adoption of digital portable credentials will aid healthcare professionals in smoother migration procedures by streamlining the recruitment process. Organisations, including The DataFlow Group, work with key clients, professionals seeking required verification and stakeholders, including government bodies, to streamline verification processes to support the GCC’s healthcare sector and provide verification services of medical professionals’ credentials.

In 2022, the DataFlow Group successfully verified 142,580 healthcare applicants for the GCC, with the highest number of applicants, 45.89 per cent, seeking verification for roles in the UAE.  In 2023, the DataFlow Group has already verified 80,862 applications relating to healthcare credential verification in the GCC, which is a testament to the growth of the industry and the requirement for international recruitment. 

Authenticity in Critical Sectors of Healthcare

Proven advanced screening methods, such as Primary Source Verification, support healthcare sector recruitment through digital portable credential assessment and verification to guarantee that professionals serving communities have valid and authentic academic, professional and legal credentials that are imperative for employment opportunities within critical sectors. Digital portable credentials enable faster credential verification, easier transfer of licenses and certificates, access to the visibility of potential employment opportunities, a reduction in fraudulent credentials resulting in improved patient care, and the ability to track and log continuous employment and skill improvement.  To further support the recruitment process and assist with an enhanced candidate experience, medical professionals using the DataFlow Group’s services have access to support through the application portal via chatbots which provide instant responses to user queries. 

In addition to streamlining recruitment and document verification processes, organisations can benefit from other various recruitment activities to attract talent and drive healthcare sector employment. Participation in job fairs, and career and networking events provides an ideal environment to engage with potential employees and provide information about available job opportunities on a more personal level. Posting open positions on online job portals and healthcare-specific platforms can also attract many potential recruits while highlighting the benefits of working within the healthcare sector. Collaboration with local and international universities, colleges, and educational and healthcare institutions can benefit job placement initiatives while showcasing any career development programmes and opportunities available in professional healthcare. 

Partnering with healthcare-specific talent acquisition agencies can help organisations connect with skilled medical professionals that meet the requirements of roles. Another way to connect with potential international recruits is via virtual events, including webinars, panel discussions and engagement sessions, allowing job seekers to understand more about your organisation and vacancies.

Benefits of Streamlining Recruitment Strategies

The need for international talent in locations where the number of healthcare professionals needed to provide support cannot be sourced locally to fulfil the needs of critical sectors, including healthcare, will continue to be necessary for the industry’s growth worldwide. Without efficient recruitment streamlining strategies in place, the healthcare sector will face challenges such as employee shortages, decreased quality of patient care, increased workloads on existing personnel leading to less efficient working environments, longer recruitment cycles, and financial losses in regard to additional overtime pay and the cost of temporary staffing. The number of international healthcare professionals in the Gulf is a testament to how efficient and effective recruitment processes can contribute to providing high-quality healthcare with the correct safeguards in place.

About The Author

  • Sunil Kumar

    Sunil is the Chief Executive Officer at the DataFlow Group. He draws on over 25+ years of global management experience across the manufacturing and professional services industry. A results driven seasoned executive, prior to joining the DataFlow Group, Sunil held COO and CFO roles with Deutsche Bank, Genpact and GE.

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