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Building a Sustainable Future

Part 3 of 3

Despite the tumultuous landscape caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for collaboration between healthcare systems and workforce service providers has become more pressing than ever.

“It’s time for both parties to shift their mindset from providers and vendors to partners to develop enterprise-level solutions that meet the current needs of the industry,” says Steven Endsley, national vice president of strategic talent solutions for AMN Healthcare. In the conclusion of a three-part series on enhancing workforce partnerships, Endsley shares his powerful insights into the crucial elements of a successful partnership that will help drive the industry toward a more sustainable future for its workforce.

Q: The pandemic added a lot of friction between workforce service providers and healthcare systems. How can workforce service providers help re-establish that trust?

Endsley: Unfortunately, the pandemic led to increased tension between the two groups as contract labor prices surged. One key to mending this vital relationship is having greater transparency and better data. We need to help provide more industry and workforce service provider information on inflation, costs, and pricing to forge ahead. Workforce service providers and hospitals must now form innovative partnerships beyond contractual arrangements. The future of the workforce depends on a symbiotic relationship where providers can continue to rely on flexible, contract labor arrangements to meet organizational goals, manage staffing shortages, support permanent staff, and reduce clinician burnout while also achieving Quadruple Aim objectives.

QHow do healthcare workforce service providers need to rethink how they support their healthcare partners?

Endsley: To meet the evolving needs of hospitals and health systems, workforce service providers must re-evaluate their value proposition, prioritizing the Quadruple Aim center of excellence. As a partner, we must sit with providers in the center and understand their pain points. Healthcare organizations require a comprehensive talent partner who can diagnose their needs and offer services encompassing multiple service lines. This is our strategy at AMN Healthcare — we provide support in key areas such as contract labor, permanent recruitment, and virtual care. We leverage data analytics to help our customers make critical workforce decisions, including how to integrate more flexible workforce models. Without the correct data and analytics, it is challenging to understand the necessary core solutions and flexibility layers needed to make informed workforce decisions.

QWhat should healthcare systems consider as they evaluate their partnerships for their workforce management goals in the future?

Endsley: Healthcare systems must seek workforce service providers who will innovate with them while embracing their mission, vision, and values. A potential partner should challenge the organization’s thinking and elevate their performance to the next level to help them adapt to the workforce of the future. They should also serve as strategic connectors to other health systems, sharing best practices and solutions for overcoming top challenges. Identifying partners that go beyond single solutions to offer customized services that match the organization’s needs and support their center of excellence is crucial. Single solutions, often enabled by a siloed approach, are no longer enough to differentiate healthcare providers in the market. Overall, embracing partners who share your values, offer multi-faceted solutions, and support peer best practices are critical to thriving in the modern workforce era.

QHow can workforce service providers and healthcare systems work together in unity to achieve optimal results for the future of the industry's workforce?

Endsley: Ultimately, we must prioritize the patient before everything else to attain the best outcomes. Workforce service providers, hospitals and other healthcare organizations must advance to a place where they can support one another to fulfill this requirement. Furthermore, partnerships can be strengthened by a mutual commitment to the Quadruple Aim, helping healthcare providers balance patient-centered care with financial sustainability. Strong collaborations also require keeping effective workforce practices from pre-pandemic times and being willing to push the status quo. It is essential to rethink how care is delivered and ask critical questions, including ‘Do we have the right positions?’, ‘Are we executing job functions correctly?’ and ‘Can we automate more functions?’ By working together, we can find ways to support each other and reach an optimal state for the future workforce.

Revisit Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

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