In the famous 2002 movie Catch Me If You Can, protagonist Leonardo DiCaprio stars as one of the most famous con-artists in history, who fakes over eight identities, several professions, and cashes in millions of dollars of forged checks before getting caught. Similarly, in real life, one of the unfortunate consequences of COVID-19 has been employment fraud, among others. Recently, primary source verification provider TrueProfile.io revealed that the rate of employment fraud uncovered by their verification team has risen by 30 per cent during the ongoing pandemic period.
In an interview with Omnia Health Magazine, René Seifert, Co-Head of TrueProfile.io, said that the ongoing COVID-19 period saw an increase in employment rate, especially in the healthcare industry, which led to people embellishing their resumes to land a job. “It’s not like somebody who has been a janitor their whole life now pretends to be a cardiologist but more of small things such as stretching the truth. For example, somebody will add a few more years to their experience or add some seniority to their title in the hopes of making them more employable. This was one of the most worrisome trends we saw during the pandemic.”
TrueProfile.io found a 30 per cent increase in fraud around professional checks and around 15 per cent fraud in other documents that require verification, such as education checks, licenses, or Certificate of Good Standing.
Seifert stressed that the risk of employee fraud could be catastrophic when it comes to the healthcare industry, as it is a question of life and death. Factors such as if the doctor has just finished university or has been practising for five years makes a big difference in terms of their skills.
When asked about what can be done to vet these healthcare professionals properly, he explained that there are different ways through which this can be achieved. One is a typical reference check, which could potentially be loaded with risk because it’s typically somebody that the applicant themselves has provided and might paint them in a positive light. The other approach is to opt for primary source verification, which goes down to the source of where a reference document has been issued.
For instance, if it is a foreign diploma from a university, a primary source verification check would involve reaching out to the institute and asking them if they have indeed issued the diploma. “This is the objective approach that TrueProfile.io has been taking to receive a binary answer, which helps validate if this person is qualified to do the job,” he added.
On the other hand, due to the pandemic, many people also left their jobs, such as nurses, who faced a lot of burnout and mental health issues. However, he stressed, the shortage of healthcare workers is across the board. The demand for doctors, nurses, dentists, physiotherapists, care home nurses, is everywhere. To illustrate this, he highlighted the World Health Organization (WHO) announcement that said there is a global shortage of almost one million midwives. Also, the NHS in the UK is currently reportedly facing a shortage of 90,000 healthcare professionals.
“If a large number of people start quitting, it becomes detrimental to the entire healthcare system,” said Seifert. “So, the employer must be in charge to put certain stops, for instance, when does this person need a break? Besides that, they also need to foster a trusted environment where frontline workers feel valued, can learn additional skills such as digital skills that are becoming even more prevalent in a modern hospital environment. Also, having professional English language skills and passing certain language standards is essential for people from countries such as the Philippines or India to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, UK or Canada. These are skills healthcare organisations should strive to provide.”
Moreover, TrueProfile.io’s blockchain technology tackles the problem of starting the verification process from scratch all over again when one changes their job. “We have created a standard verification, called the TrueProof. So, once it’s done, it will be accepted forever. This makes the whole verification process censorship resistant, so the person can continue to present it as they move through their career,” he concluded.
TrueProfile.io recently unveiled TrueProfile.io Jobs, where healthcare employers and recruiters can advertise their current vacancies directly on the TrueProfile.io platform, which is currently home to over 300,000 career-focused healthcare professionals. The team sources and shortlists healthcare candidates based on their suitability for a role and their adherence to regulatory requirements and qualifications. It can also assist with licensing processes to streamline the hiring process even further.
This article appears in the latest issue of Omnia Health Magazine. Read the full issue online today.