Staffing shortages across the nation have left hospitals in a difficult position. Many are turning to third-party vendors or reevaluating their current partnership to solve their staffing issues. At the same time, some staffing agencies are evolving to provide expanded services to meet the needs of their clients. This shift is what led to the creation of a healthcare talent ecosystem.
What is a Healthcare Talent Ecosystem?
A healthcare talent ecosystem joins services, strategy and technology to provide organizations with more channels of talent, better insight and more control.
With services, an ecosystem uses per diem individuals, local talent, traditional travel, permanent hires and international staff, among others, to help organizations fill staffing holes. A part of that strategy is aligning talent acquisition with broader goals such as expanding reach, reducing the number of partnerships, reducing turnover and supporting management.
With strategy, an ecosystem has the capacity to be more predictive than reactive by using data to create an environment where organizations can make more informed decisions. A healthcare talent ecosystem goes beyond services to improve access, flexibility and cost improvement around staffing. It does this by processing data to organizations interpret key findings but also go a step further and give those organization’s leaders the power and control to make their own decisions based on the results.
With technology, an ecosystem can provide a platform for organizations to centralize oversite and reporting. That can be oversight of contracts, protocol, compliance, internal requisition processes and more. It also provides predictive modeling to help anticipate future outcomes so organizations can better prepare for the future.
How Ecosystems Differ from Traditional Staffing
Traditional healthcare staffing agencies are typically very transactional. Organizations control the cadence of communication with their partners when a need for a specific staffing issue arises. In that sense, a traditional healthcare staffing agency answers the call of their client with the intention of helping them by providing qualified talent.
When you move to an ecosystem, that relationship shifts from transactional to more prescriptive. The partnership is much more ingrained and aligned. An ecosystem can use predictive data to anticipate what staffing support organizations will need and discuss a plan before that need even arises. They can also use their internal clinical teams to interview and evaluate candidates for the organization to make recommendations for who may be the best fit. An ecosystem increases the level of engagement during every step of the process compared to what you often see from a traditional healthcare staffing relationship.
The next considerable difference is that a traditional staffing relationship focuses on adding resources. In an ecosystem, the ecosystem focuses on both bringing in resources and helping the organization better understand why it needed those resources to begin with. The ecosystem can also help fix the leaks within internal talent pools to decrease reliance on external staffing assistance.
Misconceptions of Healthcare Talent Ecosystems
Oftentimes, people use the phrase “I’m putting all my eggs in one basket” when working with one agency; however, that is not the case if the agency when working with an ecosystem. In a strong ecosystem, it still acts as a vendor manager like a traditional managed services provider (MSP) or vendor management system (VMS). The largest healthcare staffing companies in the United States make up 90% of the staffing market, according to Staffing Industry Analysts. An ecosystem focuses on ensuring it has the best relationship with affiliate providers and works with the companies that can move the needle the furthest, so having all your eggs in one basket is not as risky as it is often perceived.
Advantages of a Healthcare Talent Ecosystem
At a time where hospital margins are down, cost containment is a huge aspect of overall operations. An ecosystem is about understanding and applying as many channels as possible to help improve resource flow and manage costs. A strong healthcare talent ecosystem can help reduce the number of partnerships for the organization while also taking a holistic approach to supporting the organization, rather than by only providing individual transactions. Through an ecosystem’s understanding of not only the client, but also the market, they are better positioned to help organizations fill holes, improve efficiency and reduce costs.