How Technology Can Help Ensure Quality Healthcare Staffing

The pressures of providing quality care in today’s increasingly complex healthcare environment often drives hospitals, health systems, and other healthcare facilities to fill positions as quickly as possible. In doing so, many providers risk bringing inexperienced or mismatched staff members into their team.

The cost of hiring the wrong person – permanent or contingent — can be extremely high. Research shows that when facilities hire talented and well-matched healthcare professionals, it creates a good workplace environment, thus increasing patient satisfaction and patient care quality. The opposite is true when hiring the wrong people.

Unqualified healthcare workers have a negative impact on the organization as a whole. They can put patient safety at risk by making more mistakes, reduce patient experience and satisfaction, create added pressures on existing staff, and hinder an organization’s efficiency and effectiveness.

In turn, these problems damage a facility’s reputation, which is dependent on the staff who interact with patients every day. Worse, if an organization unknowingly hires an employee with a history of misconduct or criminal acts, the liabilities can be huge. Making poor hires will sidetrack an organization’s progress toward fulfilling its mission.

Technology Helps Choose the Right People

While healthcare organizations used to rely solely on human means to vet job candidates, today there are technology-enabled processes – in use in other industries for years – that can dramatically reduce the likelihood of hiring the wrong person while also speeding up time-to-hire.

A vendor management system (VMS), is a straightforward software-based technology that has been in use for many years. A VMS can help healthcare organizations source, screen, and contract with quality contingent workers, all in a short amount of time.

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In the healthcare industry, a fast hiring process is a necessity because competition for talented healthcare professionals has become fierce. With shortages of nurses, physicians, and allied health professionals becoming even more severe, speed and efficiency in hiring will become even more important in the future. The automation provided by VMS technology helps healthcare organizations find quality candidates and process them quickly, before other competitors can snatch them up. Healthcare facilities that lag in filling positions will end up hiring less qualified or ill-matched workers, which can affect the entire organization.

What Does A VMS Do?

At its core, a VMS is a process improvement and governance model to bring efficiency and transparency to the staffing process. The technology will manage your open requisitions, affiliated vendors, submissions, documentation, and invoicing processes in a standardized format.

The system can pair quality workers with the right positions. The software makes it easy for organizations to set up their requirements and needs, then find candidates who meet the criteria for each position. A VMS also knows what red flags to look for to help avoid bad hires; it can match people with positions that are a good fit for the individual and for the company, and avoid hires who are not a good fit.

A VMS then accurately verifies qualifications and credentials to ensure that organizations hire credible, qualified employees. It tracks eligibility requirements so healthcare facilities always make the appropriate hire. With a VMS, it is easier for healthcare organizations to be compliant with federal, state, and local laws and regulations regarding workers. A VMS can also automatically manage healthcare professionals in real time to ensure their credentials are up to date.

In order for healthcare facilities to maintain a talented workforce, they need to be able to track productivity and other performance metrics through key performance indicators designated by healthcare organization. Contingent workers have the opportunity to return to a facility multiple times, and that can be a plus for the organization – if the healthcare worker is a good fit. Organizations can keep track of high-performing contingent workers and hire them again when they are available. The software also offers real-time reports for staff evaluation.

Healthcare facilities that use a VMS can greatly improve their access to talented workers by connecting directly to healthcare staffing companies and their databases of healthcare workers. They can become much more competitive in hiring in the super-heated marketplace for healthcare jobs. Another key benefit is real time reporting and analytics including fill rates, time-to-fill, conversion rates, average staff evaluation grades, total number of no call/no shows, and other metrics about staff performance.

Contingent staffing is a critical part of the overall healthcare workforce today. The services provided by a VMS will ultimately ensure higher quality contingent staffing, resulting in an improved workplace environment and better patient care and patient experience.

Eric Christenson

Eric Christenson
Eric Christenson is president, vendor management solutions, for AMN Healthcare.

Eric Christenson

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