Vendor Management Services (VMS) – What’s in a name? [pt. 1]

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Vendor Management is certainly nothing new.  However, being a consistently growing segment in healthcare staffing and watching the dust recently settle from the bankruptcy of Chimes, there is still plenty to talk about. 

VMS:  Vendor Management Services?  Vendor Management Systems?  Does that include Managed Service Providers?  What about Group Purchasing Organizations?  Exactly.

Wikipedia defines Vendor Management as:
Vendor Management System (VMS) is an Internet-enabled, often Web-based application that acts as a mechanism for business to manage and procure staffing services – temporary, and, in some cases, permanent placement services – as well as outside contract or contingent labor.

Personally, I prefer to refer to VMS as Vendor Management Services.  The reason being there are several models of VMS, some of which have nothing to do with systems, but all of which have to do with services.  These varying models all still play an active role in the healthcare staffing industry and each provides their own value proposition.

VMS refers to a single channel of management services that make working with outside staffing suppliers more efficient.  A VMS company streamlines client communication with these vendors, improves the quality of staff they receive and automates overall workflow functions involved in the staffing process.  Such services began to appear in industries outside of healthcare staffing in the late-1980s to the mid-1990s.  However, VMS only started showing up in the healthcare staffing industry in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s.

Technology VMS solutions emerged in this industry soon after as evolutionary steps beyond the Master Service Provider (MSP) or Vendor-On-Premise (VOP) models, offering technology as the basis of their solution.  These days, when speaking with hospitals in regard to VMS, I find the question isn’t whether or not they will adopt a VMS strategy – the question is which one.

Vendor Management in the healthcare staffing industry has had its successes and its failures and there are just as many people who think Vendor Management is the best thing to happen to the industry as there are those who would gladly push such proponents into any nearby large body of water.  My intent with this 5 part series is to summarize the four primary models of VMS strategies currently being adopted by hospital and discuss some of the opportunities and challenges of each model, their adoption rates and provide a space for additional conversation on the topic. 

The 4 Models of VMS strategies that I will cover include:

  1. Managed Service Providers (MSPs)/Vendor On Premise (VOPs)
  2. Group Purchasing Organization (GPO)/Hospital Association (HA) Management
  3. VMS – Technology Solutions
  4. Internal Resource Pool Management

Related Posts:
Vendor Management Services (VMS) – What’s in a name? [pt. 2]
Vendor Management Services (VMS) – What’s in a name? [pt. 3]
Vendor Management Services (VMS) – What’s in a name? [pt. 4]
Vendor Management Services (VMS) – What’s in a name? [pt. 5]

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4 thoughts on “Vendor Management Services (VMS) – What’s in a name? [pt. 1]

  1. Thanks Jeff. I will definitely cover what I see as the strengths, opportunities and challenges of each model in the subsequent posts. Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by.

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