Healthcare Staffing Report: Nov. 14, 2013

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Study highlights common features of healthcare MSPs

The recently published "2013 VMS and MSP Service Differentiators" report provides an overview of the features and characteristics of the available vendor management system (VMS) and managed service provider (MSP) programs. One case scenario in the study focuses on how such programs are applied to staffing in the healthcare industry.

The client profile for this case is a healthcare provider operating in a single country and filling predominately clinical positions, including both travel and per diem nurses as well as allied health professionals. The survey looked for programs managing approximately 20 suppliers, 1,500 contingent workers and annual spend of $125 million. Because most healthcare programs are much smaller than $125 million in spend, providers were granted some latitude on this parameter.

The survey results yielded some interesting takeaways regarding the MSPs serving the healthcare industry. Firstly, of the 17 MSPs that participated in the study, only eight reported programs in the healthcare scenario, and only one of those had experience encompassing all six of the identified features. Three of these features were revealed to be relatively standard, in particular “Hold periodic business reviews with suppliers and coach for improvement,” which was ubiquitous among the eight.

The other prevalent features of healthcare MSPs were “Provide education and credential (e.g., license) screening compliance services” and “Provide same-day position fills for clients,” at seven and six experienced providers out of eight, respectively. The amount of experience in these areas is fairly intuitive, due to the high importance of certifications for healthcare workers and the time-critical nature of staffing needs among healthcare providers.

One feature with which healthcare MSPs were somewhat less commonly experienced was “Support clients with one or fewer on-site team members working from a client location by leveraging centralized shared resources for mid-market solutions.” Five of the eight providers affirmed their experience in this area, which is important due to the relatively small amount of spend through most healthcare MSP contracts. This means that companies must be able to effectively service such clients with a lower level of resource commitment in order to price at a point that is both competitive and profitable.

The least common feature, with which only half of the eight providers in this scenario asserted experience, was “One or more programs provide 24/7 support (versus voice mail box support) to accommodate new or modified (e.g., cancellation) staffing requirements for same-day or next-day shifts.” The importance of this ability owes not only to the aforementioned time-critical nature of healthcare staffing needs, but the fact that these needs can be difficult to forecast and can change at any moment. Unlike most industries, the provision of healthcare services persists around the clock and takes no holidays.

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