Guest post by Julie Moore (Blue Sky Medical Staffing Software)
We live in a mobile world and healthcare staffing is not untouched by this phenomenon. Let there be no mistake, for those of you who are living in the Stone Age – we aren’t talking about increasing a patient’s mobility. We are discussing a very hot topic about a healthcare providers ability to be mobile and work all over the country.
It is projected in 2014, more people will be accessing the Internet through a mobile device than through a computer.
Look how much our world has changed. Mobile is here to stay. For a travel healthcare staffing agency there is no getting around it – Healthcare Staffing agencies need to embrace mobile.
I recently read a blog called “Healthcare Staffing Trend – The Benefits of Mobility”, from the Healthcare Staffing Stream written by guest contributor Elizabeth Rozelle from Prime Healthcare Staffing. She discusses many of the great personal and professional opportunities a travel therapist can get in different parts of the country. It is a benefit to many healthcare providers to not only travel and see parts of the country they never would have otherwise but to work in different environments as well.
Even with all of these great benefits, many agencies are scared to offer travel as an option to their healthcare staffing providers because logistically it used to be difficult. But that was then and this now. What are the two most important tools any good travel healthcare-staffing agency should have for their brand?
#1 – Mobile Site
Mobile sites are created for those people who want to access your site through a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet.
The first reason that mobile sites are important is because they load much quicker and correctly on a smart phone’s small 3.5 inch screen than a standard website. People hate waiting and they hate hard to read websites. Having a mobile site to navigate through quickly and easily will help a user and keep them on your website much longer. Getting a bad image or a slow loading website will cause a user to bounce (visit and leave without exploring).
One of the other biggest benefits about mobile browsing is that search engines have the ability to use location-based services on mobile devices to generate specific results based on an end users location. Therefore if a user is looking for a healthcare staffing agency in the area with their mobile device and you have a mobile app your site will be displayed before others. Also tools like Google Maps will include your location, a map and your contact information with my personal favorite, a click to talk phone number.
Last but not least having a “thumb friendly” site is great. How many times have you had to use pinch to zoom and still ended up clicking on the wrong link on a non-mobile site? It happens to me at least once a week. I love mobile sites because most of the time when I am using them I am mobile ie: coffee in one hand, phone in the other.
#2 – Mobile App
There are two questions you should ask yourself before you develop your own mobile app. Can you afford to maintain it and will it provide a value to your company or to your nurses? The best thing about a mobile app is you can customize your approach to the niche market of healthcare staffing. With this approach you can solve a few problems your company probably incurs weekly if not daily. Also there are some lower cost options to think about before building a mobile app.
There are a few things that we do in this business that are different than any other industry and the first thing that comes to mind is time sheet collection. Timesheet collection is arguably the most laborious part of running a healthcare staffing agency. Every week it is the same old story – there are a handful of nurses that aren’t getting paid because they didn’t get their timesheet in on time. The great thing with a mobile app is that it can help you collect timesheets. Your mobile app is built in such a way that a person can submit their time via their mobile device and take a picture of their signed timesheet and it will upload into your time-keeping system. Again this takes a niche task and streamlines it – solving a problem not just for your payroll team but for your healthcare provider as well.
Other things you can do with a mobile app that can help boost your visibility is send push notifications about jobs to providers via the mobile app and then allow the provider to apply for that specific job right from their phone. Again solving a problem for both parties involved. Healthcare providers get to see great jobs that meet their qualifications while the healthcare staffing agency finds out who is interested in the position almost immediately.
The other thing to consider before building a mobile app is the cost of developing and maintaining a mobile app. Again, its not the once and done theory it is something that has to be maintained the same as a website needs maintenance. For every new operating system that is released most likely your mobile app will need a new version. If you really want a mobile app and it is not something you want to mess with regarding maintenance and building but think it is a valuable tool, find out if your staffing software has a mobile app that can be branded for your business. Many times it is as easy as paying a small setup and monthly maintenance fee verses thousands of dollars for development and updates.
We are living in a mobile world and a mobile economy. If you are going to let your healthcare providers be mobile what are you going to do to help them be mobile?
What has been your experience with going mobile?
Julie Moore is the Director of Customer Experience over at BlueSky Medical Staffing Software. Her primary goal is to keep the customer as the #1 priority and is always pushing for what is best for the customer. She has a great sense of what works best for others and tries to find the best fit to connect staffing agencies to their caregivers.