Getting the Most Out of Your MSP Partnership

MSP PartnershipPatient demand and major shortages of clinical workers have made talent acquisition one of the most important — and difficult — issues facing healthcare organizations today. As hospitals and healthcare providers around the country know first-hand, the healthcare labor market isn’t keeping pace with hiring demand, leading to what some call a war for talent.

Faced with these challenges, many healthcare organizations are turning to Managed Services Programs (MSP). These services offer integrated and strategic support to aid healthcare clients in recruiting and hiring both their contingent and permanent workforce. In addition, a high-quality MSP can offer advanced solutions for any and all of an organization’s workforce challenges, thereby streamlining processes and creating cost-savings.

But what can the healthcare provider do to best position themselves for success in working with an MSP? The following are some tips for getting more out of your MSP partnership:

Engage Your MSP Provider — Once you select an MSP provider, the first order of business will be to engage the vendor in your company’s culture and workforce operations. Some organizations will have the MSP do a formal assessment for this purpose. But whether formal or informal, the MSP will need an enterprise view of your organization. Healthcare providers who welcome this initial step will enjoy a stronger and more successful relationship with their MSP. The MSP will want a wide variety of information on your hiring and other practices and will need to get to know your key people. Keep in mind that working with an MSP team is much more of a partnership than a typical client/vendor relationship. By treating them as another member of your team, and creating a free-flowing exchange of ideas, the MSP team will gain valuable insights into your organization that will enable them to develop more incisive solution recommendations.

Share Your Data — Data offers one of the best ways to get an accurate picture of your workforce challenges. By making such information readily available to the MSP, healthcare providers will enable the MSP to offer truly informed workforce solutions. The MSP will want to look at data on such factors as staff vacancy rates, time to hire, nurse-to-patient ratios, breakdown of fulltime versus contingent labor, patient census trends, use of float pools and so on. When the MSP has a more statistical view of your workforce, they can develop a strategic plan tailored to your organization’s specific needs. In addition, a quality MSP will bring an industry-wide view, with knowledge of best practices and strategies, that can be statistically compared with your data. This can provide valuable insights that could lead to more cost-effective and efficient strategic decisions going forward. For instance, if your nurse attrition rate is higher than national averages, it could mean that you need to adjust your screening and hiring practices to ensure better skill alignment and cultural fit. Lowering your attrition rate can lead to significant cost savings and improved patient care.

Set Realistic Key Performance Indicators — Once data gathering and analysis is complete, your MSP will recommend a solutions action plan to address your workforce challenges. Part of that plan will likely involve instituting best practices in hiring, staffing and other areas to enable your organization to achieve better, more cost-efficient staffing levels, while ensuring excellent patient care. To get there, you and your MSP will work together to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that each party – the MSP and the healthcare provider -- agree to carry out. KPIs are quantifiable measures that can be used to gauge or compare performance. For instance, one of the KPIs for the MSP provider may be reaching a 95% nurse fill rate for a new ICU your hospital is opening in 30 days. To achieve that goal, the healthcare provider’s KPI may stipulate making hiring decisions on ICU nurse candidates within two days. In setting up the KPIs, remember to keep them realistic and to ensure both you – and the MSP provider – are comfortable with the requirements. This will lead to greater success in addressing your workforce challenges in the most timely, efficient and cost-effective manner possible.

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