The Experience Advantage in Healthcare Contingent Workforce Management

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

When video games first came out, people were thrilled to watch a white ball bounce from one side of a black screen to another. If you touched your first joystick today, however, your experience would be significantly better than those of early gamers, because over time, game developers honed their expertise and learned how to deliver a better experience. The value of experience can be seen in contingent workforce programs as well. That is a huge plus for any healthcare employer considering a contingent workforce management program today, because managed service provider (MSP) programs and vendor management systems (VMS) have been honing their expertise for more than 20 years. With adoption rates north of 65% across most other industries, healthcare employers can take advantage of the experience and best practices developed by MSP and VMS solutions providers. Those learnings were the topic of a panel discussion (Vendor Management Challenges and Opportunities in the HealthCare Space) in which I recently participated at ASA’s Staffing World event. Highlights of that panel discussion are recapped here.

Healthcare at the Crossroads

Expanded access to healthcare and an aging population in need of more care serve as counterpoint to looming retirements of Baby Boomer healthcare workers and sustained shortages of skilled practitioners. These trends have contributed to the continued growth of healthcare staffing, always a bright spot in the monthly jobs report from the Department of Labor. In a highly regulated and cost-conscious environment ruled by outcome-based reimbursements, the healthcare industry has broadened its focus beyond caregiving to the business of caregiving. A huge part of that business is annual spending on contingent labor that exceeds $13 billion. To gain visibility into that spend and apply governance to better manage it, healthcare has become the next great frontier in the adoption of contingent workforce management programs.

Why More Healthcare Organizations Are Embracing MSP/VMS Solutions

The proven benefits of MSP/VMS solutions are numerous – from enterprise value drivers, such as visibility, streamlined processes and strict governance, to staffing metrics, such as labor costs, hiring cycle times, delivery speed and supplier SLAs. They also reduce risk, which is a critical issue for healthcare providers, whose need to verify caregiver credentials across multiple areas of specialization, let alone geography, can be a huge burden.

Applying Contingent Workforce Management Lessons to Healthcare

Following the assumption that people learn from mistakes, finding a better way to do anything is often born of missteps that evolve into solutions that are time-tested to work. That is a key advantage for the healthcare industry, as it can now take advantage of lessons learned by earlier adopters, who may have initially stumbled but also adapted to figure out the best ways forward. For example:

The role of the MSP/VMS is not to undercut market-driven pay and bill rates, nor to put suppliers out of business. The goal is to optimize conditions for all participants in the talent supply chain: healthcare client, candidates and staffing firms. Achieving this requires true business partnership with open and honest dialogue. The outcome will be a more robust supply chain, greater transparency into the labor cost structure, more strategic and proactive (rather than reactive) labor deployment, higher quality and greater value.

If you would like to learn more about what the panel discussed at Staffing World, please drop me a line at

Sean DeAvila is a vice president of strategic solutions at Workforce Logiq with over 20 years of experience building strategies that help to improve contingent workforce management program efficiencies and reduce costs.

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