When Every Minute Counts: Deploying Healthcare Workers in the Age of Covid-19

The coronavirus pandemic has upturned life around the world. At the time of this publication, the US reported 720,630 cases, and more than 1,773,084 cases have been confirmed globally.

Healthcare staffing organizations have been particularly hard hit, tested daily to meet the heightened demand for clinicians. This will be coupled by a need to quickly ramp up and down according to the “waves” mentioned in the recently released U.S. Covid-19 response plan. The plan paints a grim picture, projecting the pandemic could last 18 months or longer, putting even more strain on the healthcare system.

Along with this volatility comes the labor-intensive processes of onboarding clinicians, who are themselves at risk of contracting the virus and being out of commission for weeks at a time. Healthcare staffing organizations will require a new level of readiness to support the urgent demand for clinicians without compromising the thoroughness and precision the onboarding process demands.

Prepare for the Spike in Demand for Clinicians

In the face of Covid-19, a major challenge is staffing clinical roles that are becoming more specialized and are more urgent than we have ever seen. Here are three critical ways to speed up your clinical team’s deployment response time:

  • Recalibrate on skills required for each role, at each facility.With increased demand for more specific roles (e.g., temperature takers, staging area nurses) and more relaxed requirements for certain urgent care roles, fine-tuning clinical team requirements is more important than ever. Before Covid-19, nurses who had not worked in urgent care environments in the past 12 months might not have been considered for positions. As the pandemic spreads, however, facilities are being forced to relax their requirements. Nursing is now facing such a shortage that colleges are graduating their nurses early so they can enter the healthcare system immediately. Also impacting requirements are the federal government’s recently announced temporary regulatory waivers and rules to equip the healthcare system with maximum flexibility to respond to the pandemic. The Federation of State Medical Boards has updates on state-by-state regulatory changes, such as expedited licenses for retired physicians, waiving of telehealth licensure requirements, and waiving of clinician licensure requirements.

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  • Streamline processes for speed while minimizing liability. The typical credentialing process − which includes reference checks, employment verification, and licensure verification − can take weeks, if not months, to complete. Today, over investing in teams charged with completing credentialing activities is critical to ensure all timelines are accelerated and clinicians are placed quickly. This might mean specializing resources in individual activities for efficiency and having monitoring and escalation processes in place to raise red flags much sooner than you have in the past. Consider outsourcing your credentialing process if you don’t have internal employees to manage it proactively.
  • Plan for an increased amount of manual processes. We’re all familiar with the time-consuming bureaucratic processes often required for setting up systems such as billing and payroll. But now that speed and volume are our priority in order to save lives, hospitals and healthcare staffing companies have no time to wait. Expect and prepare to perform many of your typical business solutions processes − from timecards to billing rules to invoice generation – manually. As hospitals exhaust all their resources to get candidates in the door, the last thing we want is for an exhausted clinician to not get paid because of a paperwork error.

Lives are at stake across the U.S. as hospitals struggle to provide sufficient care, including equipment, medications, and clinicians. The demand on hospitals and healthcare staffing companies is the greatest we have seen in our lifetime. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to unfold in unpredictable ways, you have an opportunity to serve your clients as a source of strength, stability, and responsiveness.  Assess and streamline critical roles, people, and processes now to deploy healthcare workers faster. Lives depend on it.

Brian Cotter

Brian Cotter
Brian Cotter is president and co-founder of PSG Global Solutions. He can be reached at bcotter (at) psgglobal (dot) com.

Brian Cotter

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