Progressive Solutions for Filling Healthcare Jobs

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Momentous changes in the healthcare industry are transforming the way we staff hospitals, health systems and other health facilities. Contingent or temporary jobs for nurses, physicians, allied professionals and interim healthcare leaders are increasingly vital to the successful operation of most hospitals and many other healthcare facilities today. The reasons include rapidly rising patient demand, growing shortages of healthcare practitioners, changing professional roles, a transformation from volume to value, and a progressively more competitive marketplace.

These drivers of change have created an imperative need for staff flexibility in healthcare. Fortunately, staffing options have evolved to meet this changing need. There are a variety of options for contingent staffing – and for managing the workforce once it’s staffed – that can relieve the increasing complexity of healthcare staffing.

Today’s contingent staffing options include:

Direct Contracts: This traditional option remains effective for an as-needed or limited approach. A facility clinical or HR manager phones or emails staffing vendors and places orders for specific numbers and types of healthcare professionals. To improve chances for success, the manager may contact multiple vendors and eventually sign dozens of staffing vendor contracts. The staffing vendors then send information on candidates that are pre-screened. Each vendor may have different processes and procedures for everything ranging from payroll to invoicing to credentialing. The facility then manages all the contracts and vendors itself. There is limited information and reporting about healthcare professionals or vendors.

Vendor Management Systems (VMS): This technology solution automates many aspects of direct contracts that facility managers would otherwise have to do manually, such as order entry, invoicing, credentialing and payroll. The VMS can be operated by the facility itself, and it is vendor-neutral, meaning that the facility does not receive priority staffing from any particular vendor. VMS technology provides many benefits in reporting on overall spending and costs. It can promote efficiency improvements that reduce staff overtime and management hours, while also identifying the most cost-competitive vendors. Automation can speed up the matching of qualified candidates to appropriate jobs, while consolidating invoices and streamlining payroll. A VMS also can improve quality through accurate reporting on practitioner work performance and vendor effectiveness.

Managed Services Program (MSP): In the increasingly complex environment for healthcare providers, DIY may not be the answer. With some hospitals and health systems contracting with hundreds of staffing vendors, an MSP might be necessary. In an MSP, an outside expert team led by a program manager partners with a facility to provide a single point of contact for the administrative and process oversight of contingent staffing. A VMS can be utilized in this staffing option, but the expert MSP team provides a level of management that goes far beyond automation. The MSP team helps streamline the management of vendors and their contracts, and the recruitment, selection, interviewing and onboarding of candidates. There are different types of MSPs: vendor-neutral and staffing-led MSPs:

  1. Vendor-neutral MSP: The vendor-neutral MSP is typically run by a management company that handles only the operational aspects of temporary staffing, using third-party staffing vendors to find the clinical personnel that the healthcare provider needs. The vendor-neutral-MSP is typically utilized when a facility wants hands-on involvement and direct oversight of the growing demands of contingent staff, and is less focused on dedicated recruitment for fulfillment, clinical oversight, or additional scope.
  2. Staffing-led MSP: The staffing-led MSP builds upon the vendor-neutral approach, but adds its own recruitment staffing expertise and capacity. This MSP typically provides clinical expertise and can include direct candidate access, customized online portals, employment branding and other advanced sourcing techniques that “sell and compel” high-quality clinicians to the client’s job vacancies. As a result of these enhancements to the overall MSP operation, a staffing-led MSP can provide advanced workforce-related market data and expertise that the client may not possess. Because a full labor scope is addressed, the staffing-led MSP is generally utilized in multi-facility systems, often highly engaged with a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) for cost and quality metrics across multiple service lines (nursing, locums, allied, etc.).

Today’s healthcare providers must have a laser-focus on improving the quality of patient care while containing costs at the same time. The growing complexity of staffing and managing contingent labor can detract from the primary mission of hospitals, health systems and other healthcare facilities. Healthcare workforce experts can eliminate this burden so healthcare providers can concentrate on keeping people healthy.

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