Debunking 3 common myths surrounding AI and hiring healthcare talent

Recent years have seen healthcare staffing agencies’ work change significantly. On the one hand, focus has shifted from targeting active job seekers to passive ones due to the number of healthcare jobs rising every year and a shortage of skilled talent available to fill open positions. On the other, there’s the increasing workload of agencies, who now find themselves covering employee fluctuations, optimizing shifts, managing payrolls and insurance, and providing additional benefits like continuous education, certifications and licensing.

Another change now looms, in the form of artificial intelligence (AI). As is usually the case with new technology, the industry hasn’t been immune to falling for myths and hearsay about AI. Here, we’ll debunk three commonly held, but incorrect, beliefs about AI.

Myth 1: AI will take our jobs. Healthcare agency workers are concerned that their jobs will become obsolete if their company implements AI. But the opposite is true. We’re always going to need uniquely human skills, like critical thinking, empathy and strategic decision-making skills. In fact, 72% of business decision-makers expect AI to enable humans to concentrate on more meaningful work.

Instead of completely replacing human intelligence, AI complements it. For instance, when searching for passive candidates, an agency can source exactly who they need based on company performance, salary requirements, budgets and the skills required. Similarly, predictive analytics can assess the risks around each candidate and predict future skills shortfalls. Allowing organizations to avoid high-risk candidates and proactively resource skills gaps before they impact the day-to-day.

AI, in the form of automation, can also do a lot of manual legwork to make teams more efficient and productive. Tasks that require numerous calculations and time-intensive, repetitive activities are ripe for automation. Freeing up human employees to focus on value-added activities that harness human skills like intuition and relationship building.

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Myth 2: AI = robots. You can blame Hollywood for this common trope. There’s a strong belief among business owners and employees that AI automatically means robots. While robots use a form of AI, not all AI are robots. AI actually refers to code that runs in the back-end of a computer system. Through this, a computer can execute complex calculations, drawing conclusions, providing valuable insights. Tracking trends and predicting outcomes (to name but a few of its abilities).

In a staffing agency, AI will likely be used in software that helps agency employees to do their daily work. Improving job listings, for example, by predicting the skills needed now and in the future. Certain conditions, like age-related or cardiac disease, can be forecast, to better understand the number (and type) of employees needed for specific shifts. AI can also analyze a job description to ensure it is inclusive and doesn’t put certain candidates off. Finally, AI can sift through more job applications than its human colleagues. In some cases, thousands of candidate profiles every day, to find the best matches for each position.

Myth 3: AI is expensive. Another common misconception that often abounds is the belief that you need a huge budget and an entire data team to implement AI effectively. But many AI-powered tools are being developed for organizations that don’t have dedicated machine learning experts, data visualizers, analysts and data scientists. Take, for example, software vendors who deliver SaaS products saving a substantial amount of resources on IT implementation and maintenance.

While a data team is needed in certain situations where there’s an identified business need, in most cases, software will suffice. Seventy-five percent of commercial enterprise apps are expected to use AI in some form by 2021. Especially when the end-goal is to improve the efficiency of a staffing agency through screening CVs, vetting candidates, and automating processes.

Indeed, when AI projects are linked to business goals (like increasing the number of passive candidates approached) they will create value that can surpass the initial investment required in AI tools. Implementing AI can boost productivity, as human employees have more time to spend on value-added tasks and growing the business. 54% of senior executives state that implementing AI solutions have increased productivity. It can also remove human error that could negatively impact the bottom-line and an agency’s reputation.

By considering the benefits that AI can bring to your business, the case for AI among senior decision-makers and budget holders becomes all the more compelling.

You’ll often see these myths appear in boardrooms, conference halls, offices and everywhere in-between as people get their heads around AI. However, it’s vital to understand the ins-and-outs of implementing AI in your organization and nip any damaging myths before they derail your plans. Double-check everything you hear about AI and, as a final litmus test, look at how it affects your bottom-line. Because every use of AI must always link back to your business goals – otherwise it won’t provide the returns that you desire.

Jan Kristiansen

Jan Kristiansen
Jan Kristiansen is COO and co-founder of Norwegian and creator of the Staffing Industry Technology Guide.

Jan Kristiansen

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