America’s healthcare sector continues to face ongoing shortages of doctors, nurses, and allied staffing. Staffing agencies are bending over backwards in an attempt to fill as many open positions is possible. Yet there are simply not enough skilled candidates to go around.
Things are not likely to change much in the coming years, according to multiple presenters at the recent Healthcare Staffing Summit in Las Vegas. But other aspects of the staffing equation are ripe for change. A case in point is the typical healthcare managed service provider (MSP) program.
Vista Select is one example of an MSP program that empowers clients to make the most of their healthcare staffing with technology tools that streamline many of the tasks associated with recruiting and hiring. As an MSP provider, Vista supports the software and provides additional locum tenens solutions for clients who request them.
All of that is well and good. But how might it change in the future? Things might go self-serve. Vista Select and other MSP services might eventually morph into the healthcare staffing equivalent of Uber. At least that was one of the possibilities mentioned at the Las Vegas summit.
It’s not exactly clear how such a system would work. However, we do know how apps like Uber function. The company behind Uber recruits independent contractors willing to give customers rides. They provide those contractors with a mobile app and an underlying infrastructure that serves multiple purposes.
Uber’s platform connects customers with drivers in real time. It connects drivers with the company. It even provides a connection between customers and the company for purposes of account management, billing, etc. Uber is essentially self-service livery.
MSP services for healthcare staffing could be structured in much the same way. A company like Vista could create a complete staffing portal along with a companion mobile app that would allow healthcare facilities to ‘order’ locums as needed. Perhaps availability would not be as on-demand as Uber drivers, but the same principle would apply.
A More Agile System
It is reasonable to assume that healthcare staffing will not go self-service unless there is a need. So, is there a need? Absolutely. Moreover, it is a need for agility. Right now, it is a major undertaking to schedule locum tenens staff without a lot of lead time. It’s not as if the HR department can call a staffing agency and have a physician ready to go in a few hours.
The nature of locum tenens is such that there is a lot of work involved. There is credentialing and licensing issues to worry about. There are contracts to dicker over. All of this takes time. But with a self-serve platform, many of the time-consuming tasks would go away.
A self-serve environment would make staffing a lot more agile. It would also make it a lot more responsive for doctors too. Participating physicians could make themselves available when they wanted shifts. Ideally, they could work in multiple geographic locations as they saw fit. Imagine a doctor who loves winter sports working in Colorado when there’s snow on the ground only to head for the West Coast come spring.
There is no guarantee that healthcare staffing will ever go the self-serve route. But the need for something different is obvious. Self-serve MSP programs fueled by mobile apps and on-demand platforms could prove very beneficial in the years to come.
In the meantime, there are great MSP services that healthcare facilities can turn to right now. Services like Vista Select leverage the latest technologies to help clients stay ahead in the staffing game.