Optimize clinical staff through healthcare managed services

Not many years ago, contingent healthcare staffing at hospitals and other healthcare facilities was a fairly straightforward process.

If you needed temporary nurses, physicians or therapists, a clinical or HR manager called one of their favorite staffing firms and placed an order, and the number and type of clinicians were duly assigned.

Today, almost everything has changed. And the main reasons for the change are the growing shortages of nearly all types of healthcare professionals. Today and for the foreseeable future, many healthcare providers will not be able to get all the contingent healthcare professionals that they need. The gap of unfilled healthcare jobs is roughly a half million, and that gap has been widening over the past two years.

Best Use of Current Staff
In the face of worsening workforce shortages, healthcare providers need to optimize the staff that they already have. Currently, there are a number of available workforce solutions, as these optimization strategies are called. One of the fastest growing is Managed Services Programs, or MSP. MSPs have been in use in many other industries for years to provide the processes and technology to create a single point of contact for all vendor services.

A hospital or other healthcare facility may have contracts with dozens of healthcare staffing vendors, each with its own billing and invoice methods, differing payment options and pay scales, varying credentialing processes, and very different reporting procedures. Such inefficiencies can result in many kinds of problems, including different vendors sending the same nurses' resumes multiple times — and miss deleting those candidates who the healthcare provider does not want returned. Candidate credentialing mix-ups and other issues can impact patient experience and the bottom line.

An MSP consolidates and aligns all administrative practices in one place with a single set of procedures. As healthcare has become more complex, MSPs have continued to evolve in order to remove many workforce-related burdens from the shoulders of overworked managers. An MSP can include candidate recruitment, selection, interviewing and onboarding and the development and management of in-house staffing pools.

Deployment of an MSP can be invaluable to a healthcare facility, from the amount of cost, time and effort it saves management to the high-quality care that will be immediately available to patients when staffing needs are met. MSP clients of AMN Healthcare have realized annual savings of up to 20%, fill rates improved by 30%, and improvements in candidate quality and reductions in overtime.

Customized MSPs for Workforce Optimization
Today's customizable programs also include the alternatives of vendor-neutral MSPs and staffing-led MSPs. The vendor-neutral MSP is typically run by a management company that handles only the operational aspects of temporary staffing, using all 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 administrative support for managing its contingent staff, and has its own resources dedicated to recruitment, selection, onboarding, clinical oversight and data and analytics.

When healthcare providers do not have these resources or experience, they often turn to a more comprehensive, staffing-led approach to MSP. This approach builds upon the vendor-neutral one, but adds its own recruitment staffing expertise – from sourcing, selection and onboarding through clinical oversight and performance management. This type of MSP 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, a staffing-led MSP often provides advanced workforce-related market data and expertise that the client may not possess.

In addition to MSP features, a comprehensive workforce solutions provider like AMN Healthcare offers an array of other workforce solutions, such as vendor management systems, predictive analytics to forecast clinical staffing needs, and interim leadership to address other workforce challenges in today's complex, supply-constrained talent environment.

The growing complexity of today's healthcare environment, including the staffing and management of contingent labor, can detract from the primary mission of hospitals, health systems and other healthcare facilities – excellence in patient care. Healthcare workforce experts can eliminate workforce-related burdens so care providers can concentrate on keeping people healthy.

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