Vendor Management Services (VMS) – What’s in a Name? [pt. 4]

IStock_000005107492Small Internal Resource Pool Management

Some people might ask why I’m including this as a VMS model for healthcare vendor management.  The reason is simple. Even though it might not actually be a VMS model, in healthcare staffing, it absolutely competes with all of them.   Ignoring it is a mistake. 

When hospitals consider their options on VMS strategies one option that is always on the table is implementing an internal pool of flexible, contingent staff that will reduce, if not eliminate, the need for supplier staff.

As a staffing supplier should you be afraid of this model?  It depends. 
Are there still opportunities for you here?  Absolutely.

Summary of Model:
The Internal Resource Pool (IRP) management model is where the hospital effectively staffs their open positions with internal staff.  This is most commonly done by one or a combination of the following:

  • Having internal staff pick up more shifts.
  • Creating an internal pool of staff to fill extra shifts.
  • Specifically recruiting and hiring staff to be part of a contingent pool of staff.
  • Creating a separate entity that is effectively an in-house agency for filling your extra shifts.

When a hospital has an extra shift to fill it’s rarely, if ever, that they contact staffing suppliers first to fill this need.  Most likely it’s getting broadcast to their internal staff first.  This is nothing new.  However, hospitals have dramatically increased their efforts in this area over the last couple of years. 

Often times, hospitals don’t have the internal expertise or the time to effectively manage or create these pools.  This is where companies that can provide such a service come in.  Companies delivering IRP management do so with effective recruitment, hiring and management plans and processes, and implement software applications to manage the newly implemented process.

Services Offered:

  • Recruitment and hiring assistance
  • On-boarding and orientation management
  • Creation of policy and staffing plans
  • Internal staffing management
  • Compliance oversight
  • Self-scheduling software application management tool

Strengths:

  • Significant reduction of spend on outside labor.
  • Internal staff retention and morale booster as internal staff gain more control over their work environment, pay, benefits and schedule.
  • Improved management and tracking of internal staffing.
  • Automated process for managing internal staff.

Weaknesses:

  • It is no small task to implement a successful internal pool of flexible staff that includes recruiting plans, policy and employment changes, and new processes.
  • There is still a shortage of healthcare professionals.  Therefore, implementing a successful internal resource pool can be challenging, especially in areas of the country that are more adversely impacted by the shortage.
  • Often times implementing an internal resource pool can create a false sense that outside staff are no longer needed.  This can cause hospitals to spend a lot of money on overtime and risk burn out with their internal staff.  The result being the opposite of what they initially set out to accomplish.  There can still be several good reasons to effectively use temporary healthcare staff.

Opportunities:

  • Companies providing such services deliver exactly what hospitals are looking for and can create a close, long term relationship with the hospital.
  • Creating an efficient and effective staffing process of internal staff that delivers a reduction or elimination of spending on outside labor can dramatically improve the hospitals bottom line. 
  • Healthcare professionals are looking for more control over their schedule and better compensation.  Companies implementing IRP management practices can also improve in the recruiting and retention efforts of the hospital, as well as improve the morale of their internal staff.
  • IRP Management companies have the ability to effectively create and implement a process of working with healthcare staffing suppliers.  It’s rarely the case that using outside labor will become completely unnecessary and implementing a process for how to manage and use it effectively is wise.
  • Effective staffing is a key core competency of many staffing suppliers.  IRP management companies can learn a lot from working and partnering with such companies for implementing a successful IRP.  In addition, there are many opportunities for staffing suppliers to offer these same services directly.

Threats:

Many companies providing IRP management focus too much on the internal staff process and ignore the management process of outside labor.  Focusing too much on eliminating outside labor can cause:

  • Internal healthcare staff to suffer from burnout due to overwork.
  • Hospitals end up spending more (or just as much) on overtime and incentive payments as they were on outside labor.
  • Assuming suppliers will be eliminated without implementing an effective strategy for managing and working with them can create large issues when you do run into a situation where their assistance is needed.  Ignoring this part of your staffing process will still leave a part of your process without a management solution.

Conclusion:
Internal Resource Pool management models have increased in popularity over the last few years.  They are an effective way for hospitals to manage their contingent openings.  Companies from software providers to staffing suppliers can be of huge assistance to hospitals in helping them set up and manage their internal pools of staff.  A hospital can choose from several ways to create and implement an internal pool of staff.  However, having an automated self-scheduling application to manage, track and communicate with this pool is the most effective solution.

Even though there are several benefits to this model, there is still a shortage of healthcare professionals in the country.  Therefore, simply wanting to create an IRP doesn’t mean it will be 100% effective in meeting all of your needs.  It also behooves you to ensure you aren’t spending more on overtime and incentive pay or overworking your staff in a pursuit to eliminate outside labor.

Provider List:
ShiftWise
FlexChoiceRN
Concerro
B4 Health
eShift
ShiftBoard

If I missed your company name on this list email me and I’ll add it.

Related Posts:

Vendor Management Services (VMS) – What’s in a Name? [pt. 3]

Vendor Management Services (VMS) – What’s in a Name? [pt. 2]
Vendor Management Services (VMS) – What’s in a Name? [pt. 1]

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