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How a Vendor Management System Can Help You Manage through the Physician Shortage

in Labor Quality

It’s late on a Sunday night, and the ER is filled with patients in need of help. It’s August, so you’re dealing with the expected uptick in births.* But there’s also a new bug going around, meaning even more people are in need of care than usual. As more patients arrive, you realize that some of your staff are MIA due to unplanned leaves of absences. Some have even taken their PTO early in anticipation of the holiday that’s right around the corner. Your lines are long, you’re understaffed, your core staff is feeling overworked, and nobody’s happy.

Situations like these are only going to become more commonplace as the US faces a growing shortage of physicians. According to the AAMC, that shortage will be 40,800–104,900 physicians** by 2030. So it’s no surprise that hospitals like yours are relying on locum tenens physicians now more than ever. In 2016, 94 percent*** of surveyed healthcare facility managers reported using locum tenens physicians; 76 percent reported using at least one in a typical month, and 24 percent reported using four or more.

Like anything in high demand, locum tenens can be hard to find, not to mention costly, especially if you’re working with a single staffing agency. From privileging to credentialing, the hiring process can be time-consuming and frustrating. The key is to use a vendor-neutral VMS (Vendor Management System). The VMS gives you better visibility into contingent labor spending, faster access to quality candidates, cost control with market-competitive rates, and easy one-stop job order placement and credential management.

Increased Visibility

A house divided cannot stand. Yes, responsibilities need to be delegated, but you still need to see how they’re being carried out. Otherwise, how are you to know when one department is exceeding its contingent labor spending?

The right VMS platform will come equipped with key performance indicator (KPI) reporting, keeping you informed on every hiring decision made in every department. Fill rates, time-to-fill, cancelation rates, average staff evaluation grades, total number of no call/no shows—the VMS presents all this and more. This way you can better understand your contingent workforce costs and optimize your workflow.

Faster Access

Hiring locum tenens can get very costly, very quickly. This isn’t just due to salary costs, though. Time is money. There’s the time spent searching for candidates, negotiating with agencies, interviewing physicians, etc. In a survey by Staff Care, 94 percent*** of healthcare facility managers said cost was the greatest drawback in hiring locum tenens.

By using a good VMS platform, you’ll cut down on this time dramatically. That’s because you’re communicating with all of your vendors through a single portal rather than approaching each one individually. Every task—fromcollecting timesheets to getting approvals and contacting staffing agencies—get easier and faster, meaning your staff positions get filled immediately.

Competitive Rates

The single best way to source locum tenens without draining your budget is to use a vendor-neutral VMS. Vendor neutrality means that vendors compete with one another to be your locum tenens provider. In the process, vendors eliminate supplier markups and only put forth the best candidates. With a good VMS platform, you’ll never have to pay above-market rates just to meet your hospital’s demand.

And don’t worry that you have to sacrifice quality to stay within budget. According to Staff Care***, “Physicians practicing locum tenens today are rigorously screened because staffing firms are at risk for their malpractice insurance and because they compete with each other based on the quality of physicians they are able to provide.” When surveyed, 66 percent of healthcare facility managers rate the skill level of locum tenens physicians as “excellent” or “good.”

Easy Management

Using a good VMS platform simplifies your tasks. Communicating with your vendors is easier and faster. With automated billing and invoicing, you can make all approvals, manage accurate data, and ensure error-free practices from inception. And rather than figure out a new way to invoice for every vendor, you use a single invoice. Satisfy all your vendor obligations in a single go.

A VMS platform can’t prevent cold and flu season, an influx of late-night ER visits, or stave off the hordes in need of relief. But it can ensure that when you need extra help, you can find it, even as physicians grow more and more scarce.

Reach out to ShiftWise today for a VMS platform that will give you the visibility you need, quick access to qualified help, competitive pricing, and easy management of all your locum tenens processes. We’re ready to serve your needs.

* https://www.livescience.com/32728-baby-month-is-almost-here-.html

** https://news.aamc.org/medical-education/article/new-aamc-research-reaffirms-looming-physician-shor/

*** https://www.staffcare.com/uploadedFiles/2017-survey-temporary-physician-staffing-trends.pdf

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