Healthcare Workforce Marketplaces: Defining & Navigating the New Age for Staffing

On-Demand, Flexible, Workforce Marketplace, Latent Supply, 1099 Gig, and Workforce Ecosystem are terms that have become ubiquitous in healthcare workforce crisis leadership and board discussions, but what do they really mean and what works?

In response to the market demanding these workforce partner characteristics, and early adopters of innovative workforce marketplace models dramatically reducing outside agency shifts, many traveler and staffing agencies have adopted these terms. This has caused confusion in the market, and questions about the value potential of on-demand, flexible workforce marketplace partners.

Educating health leaders about the rapidly shifting healthcare workforce landscape, new workforce innovation definitions, disruptive marketplaces, and the benefits, costs, and challenges of each model compared to past approaches has been largely absent from the industry. Further worsening the situation, due to the fragmented nature of our industry, there are leaders who are not aware of workforce marketplace solutions that have already been applied outside the industry or within other respected healthcare systems. Consequently, this sometimes lends itself to leaders choosing workforce partners who say, “On-Demand, Flexible, or Marketplace” in closed-door vendor pitch meetings, but in reality, they are traditional agency models or new 1099, gig platforms that may not have a health system’s workforce ecosystem stability, efficiency, and sustainability top-of-mind.

The New Healthcare Workforce Marketplace Partner Landscape to Solve for Staffing

There is no doubt that the golden age of traveler agency dominance has reached its apex and the empire is in decline.  One of the few positive pandemic outcomes was the realization that dependence on a fixed schedule or contracting model with its cost, friction, and limited flexibility is not sustainable. As a result, innovation spurred to address the need. If you look at the sheer number of new healthcare workforce innovation platforms that address filling shifts, engaging workers, onboarding, mental health, etc., it can be overwhelming and confusing for anyone. 

Fundamentally, all recent workforce innovations center around the idea of a healthcare workforce ecosystem facilitated via an on-demand, workforce marketplace technology partner.  Any of the other innovation solutions such as onboarding, or engagement (e.g. same day pay; UberHealth) can be integrated as a point solution into a marketplace or already is a capability of a workforce marketplace. The famous French philosopher Voltaire once said, “If you wish to converse with me, define your terms” and that applies to defining the terms workforce ecosystem, latent supply, and on-demand workforce marketplace: 

Definitions are only the beginning to understanding on-demand marketplaces because there are many different marketplace models, as well, as confusion with legacy workforce models, VMS/MSP, etc.:


Beware of Hybrid Internal Resource Marketplaces Combined With Traveler Companies

There are hybrid marketplaces evolving that combine elements of multiple categories. Mercy Work on Demand is an excellent example of a hybrid model that helps apply marketplace technology to internal employees, but it does not significantly reduce travel contracts because Mercy Work on Demand is a product owned by Trusted, which is a traveler agency app.  Fundamentally, the incentives do not align for the traveler hybrid models to reduce your costs and stabilize your workforce ecosystem because the model is addicted to travel contract revenue.

Health Systems Are Choosing the Only W2, On-Demand Workforce Marketplace as a Partner

Marketplace technology alone is powerful and is required to engage, retain, and recruit local workforces for baseline value creation. The next stage evolution of workforce marketplaces is ShiftMed. ShiftMed leads not only with technology but offers a breadth of inpatient/outpatient services, the ability to integrate additional solutions like UberHealth transportation to better engage workforces, rapid recruiting/onboarding/credentialing/education capabilities, and a partnership that emphasizes building a health systems’ internal workforce ecosystem. 

ShiftMed combines your internal workforce with a robust, health system branded, W2 on-demand, local external workforce under one marketplace platform.

ShiftMed is the first and only W2, On-Demand Workforce Marketplace Health System Partner in the market. “Powered by ShiftMed” avoids the risks of 1099 gig apps, and avoids continued reliance on the traveler or fixed labor models for a stable, cost-effective agency without an agency exclusive to you.

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