Whitepapers

10 Ways an MSP Maximizes Your Healthcare Staffing Efficiency

In today’s evolving healthcare landscape, successful staffing requires creative solutions.


This is not your mother’s healthcare system. Patient satisfaction is increasingly prized over volume, and hospitals have become hotbeds for fierce marketplace competition. From nursing shortages (expected to continue through 2030) to sudden increases in patient demand, there are too many variables to have a traditional staffing structure. In today’s evolving landscape, successful staffing requires creative solutions.

But, satisfying both patient demands and budgetary requirements isn’t as simple as hiring more employees — you need the perfect blend of permanent and contingent staff. And what’s more, that blend needs to be responsive to change.

To keep your nursing, clinical, and allied staff right-sized and high quality, you want a partner who knows both the unique need of medical facilities and the ins and out of the current staffing market. That’s where a strong Managed Service Provider comes in.

An MSP is an outside organization that collaborates with you to optimize your staffing strategy. Tap an MSP when you need a collaborator to:

  • Oversee the entire complex contingent workforce process
  • Manage the administrative functions of staff sourcing and oversight
  • Help you anticipate fluctuations in staffing needs
  • Provide a single point of contact for all your staffing vendors

There’s a reason 66% of large staffing firm clients partner with an MSP. A good MSP helps healthcare organizations save time, cut costs, improve patient outcomes, increase staff engagement, and much more. Here are 10 ways an MSP maximizes your healthcare staffing efficiency.

Saves you time by partnering with your HR department


A dedicated Managed Service Provider is your teammate in making the best staffing decisions to improve your outcomes. You work together, not just to fill open positions, but to develop a staffing strategy that puts out immediate fires and prevents future ones.
An MSP works with you, from the first job posting to the last onboarding session, to ensure your contingent staff is high quality and best-fit. They take over many of the most time-consuming aspects of the staffing process so you can focus on what matters most: leading your staff and taking care of patients.

Job Postings

Creating the right job description is crucial to finding the right healthcare staff. It takes time to get it just right and to fully define what you need in a temp med-surg nurse or a skilled clinician.

An accurate, thorough job description can protect you against myriad problems:

  • Improves the stature of candidates and weeds out the unqualified
  • Provides a foundation for feedback and discipline down the line
  • Prevents employee grievances over misunderstood job expectations

Despite their importance, job descriptions are often seen as low priority. Your team is busy, and creating an inventory of the tasks they do each day is often not as important as doing them.

To help you write the job description you need, a good MSP will draw on:

  • Your initial interview and feedback
  • In-depth industry knowledge
  • Experience filling similar roles in hospitals throughout the country

With this deep understanding of the requirements of your open positions, they create the job descriptions that get you just the contingent staff you’re looking for.

Searching Through Resumes 

For most open job postings, the wheat comes with a good deal of chaff. You may sort through dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes before identifying a handful of qualified prospects. Multiply that by 20 or 100 open positions, and sorting through candidates quickly becomes your full-time job.

Your MSP understands your needs:

  • Identifies the hard and soft skills that you value most in your nurses and clinical staff
  • Learns your organization’s culture to locate suitable candidates
  • Takes over the time-consuming task of identifying the best of the best

Instead of a pile of resumes, you get prepared, talented new employees.

The Interview Process

A good interview is both a science and an art. It lets you know if an employee is committed to excellence and helps candidates get to know your organization.
An MSP is well-versed in how to run a successful interview, on your terms:

  • Collaborates with you in the interview process, or runs it for you
  • Asks the questions that lend insight into an employee’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Measures candidates by the qualities and metrics that matter most to your organization

The Contracting Process

You know that contracting contingent workers is a complex process. For example, imagine you have to hire a large number of employees to fill sudden staffing gaps. Now, imagine the staggering pile of paperwork that comes along with these employees.

And there are no shortcuts. Failure to accurately process all staffing documents (insurance agreements, W-9s, worker’s compensation forms, etc.) can put your organization at risk.

A trusted MSP takes that pile off your desk:

  • Provides you with a single master contract for every employee
  • Remains responsive to the most recent staffing and labor laws
  • Mitigates risks and saves time over in-house contracting

ACA Compliance

As you know, the Affordable Care Act has caused a lot of hiring headaches. This doesn’t show signs of stopping. The one constant in meeting ACA demands is the need to be responsive to change.

An MSP will collaborate with you to meet these changing requirements. It’s their job to remain keyed into the ways large-scale change impacts your day-to-day operations.

Credentialing

Your staff must be properly credentialed, and you must be compliant with federal and state hiring laws. Falsification of degrees and certifications is not common, but it does occur. Organizations must protect themselves — and their patients -against this dangerous fraud.

Checking credentials can be a painstaking process. Your MSP takes that off your plate, so you can focus on leading your existing staff:

  • Checks credentials with primary sources directly — contacting degree-granting and credential-issuing bodies — to verify claims
  • Validates position-specific certifications
  • Performs in-depth background checks on all potential staff

Onboarding

A strategic onboarding process that’s well-aligned with your organization’s culture and larger goals is key to creating high-quality, engaged employees. Though you define “success” differently for contingent staff than permanent staff, you want all of your team committed to the same level of excellence, whether they are with you for three months or three years.

Onboarding and orientation require a large time commitment by healthcare organizations. In addition to basic staff, facility, and duties education, healthcare organizations also must provide specialized training:

  • Blood-borne pathogens training
  • Infection prevention orientation
  • Complex emergency procedure walk-throughs
  • Occupational health requirements, from TB tests to vaccination requirements
  • Organization-specific terminology orientation
  • Much more

An MSP works with you to determine how much of the onboarding process you would like to keep in-house. Then they manage the rest. This guarantees onboarding runs smoothly and is tailor-made to your organization’s and your staff’s needs.

Further, an MSP will source only the highest quality staff, which will reduce onboarding time, right out of the gate. Skilled agency staff who are already savvy about basic job requirements, common hospital needs, and high patient standards will be that much easier to get job-ready.

 

Helps you improve staffing processes


Healthcare vacancies are tough to fill these days. On average, it takes 85 days to fill an open healthcare position. That’s nearly three months of suboptimal staffing levels, which could cost you in overtime, employee burnout, and turnover costs (see below). Each vacancy also results in scheduling headaches and other inefficiencies.

Speeding the staffing process

By contracting out much of the arduous and time-consuming hiring work to a skilled MSP, you can speed up this staffing cycle. An MSP will already have a pipeline of talented, vetted potential staff.

Elevating your organization’s employment brand

In healthcare and staffing, traditionally, the doctor and the employer have been kings. But, both industries are moving towards a customer service model. The seat of power is moving from the employer to the candidate, from the doctor to the patient. To thrive in this competitive marketplace, you must provide value and increase both patient and candidate engagement.

The healthcare hiring process is at the nexus of these changes. An MSP is more than just a dedicated staffing agency. They help you improve your employment brand:

  • Work with you to enhance your hiring strategies, for both contingent and permanent employees
  • Help you remain on the cutting edge of staffing and recruiting trends
  • Identify ways you can cater to the candidate experience
  • Analyze and refine your online recruiting strategies
  • Work to elevate your organization’s staffing reputation, both online and off

Ensures the quality of your contingent workforce


In a recent study, 43% of healthcare leaders said the most difficult part of the recruiting process is finding qualified candidates.

Quality is as crucial in your temporary staff as it is in permanent staff. An MSP’s indepth, collaborative hiring process improves the caliber of your contingent workforce. A strong MSP knows that each organization defines quality by their own rigorous standards. An MSP works with you to find exactly the contingent workforce you need.

  • Screens candidates according to your specifications
  • Collaborates with you to create a working list of crucial staff qualities and insightful interview questions
  • Scrutinizes potential candidates’ work history, monitoring for unexplained gaps, early departures, and other signs of unreliability
  • Matches you with a contingent workforce that embodies your definition of quality

After hiring, an MSP continues to collaborate with you to ensure that your contingent staff maintains the highest level of quality:

  • Establish and reiterate consistent job expectations
  • Perform in-depth performance reviews for continuing temporary staff
  • Respond to any high-risk behaviors or poor reports
  • Assist with ongoing training initiatives
  • Align staff monitoring and reviewing strategies with overall organizational goals

Many MSPs maintain a part-time onsite presence to help oversee temporary staff. This adds another level of service and continuity between the MSP and your organization.

Helps you anticipate demand


Across all industries, businesses are turning to independent workers to increase flexibility and agility. The healthcare industry is influenced by everything from large-scale political systems and global health changes to area wellness trends and local layoffs. So, it’s particularly susceptible to unpredictable fluctuations in demand.

Along with anticipating what changes may be around the bend, the key is to remain flexible and responsive to changing staffing needs.

An MSP allows you to do just that:

  • Identifies and eliminates staff redundancy
  • Reduces staff size painlessly whenever necessary
  • Staffing contracts can simply not be renewed, or contingent employees can be placed elsewhere to accommodate rapid downsizing
  • Ensures you’ll never languish with an understaffed office. Your MSP will provide immediate help whenever you need it

Improves turnover rates


Turnover can make your employees unhappy and drive up your staffing costs. This, in turn, can lead to more turnover. MSPs can absorb the cost of lost contingent employees, help you reduce turnover rates, and respond quickly when turnover does occur.

Absorbing the cost of lost employees

The average turnover rate across all healthcare positions is 17.2%. For CNAs, it’s as high as 23%. The costs inherent in lost employees are staggering:

The average cost of a single lost bedside RN is $57,000.

When you work with an MSP, they foot the bill for lost contingent employees. The MSP replaces them promptly, ensuring you avoid further costs.

Right-sizing staff to improve existing employee satisfaction

Beyond saving you money, immediately accommodating unexpected vacancies helps prevent turnovers from snowballing.
Staffing issues are consistently ranked as one of the top reasons for turnover. When you partner with an MSP, you always have a dedicated expert with a pipeline of qualified employees to help you accommodate natural staffing fluctuations. This, in turn, keeps both agency and permanent staff happier, reducing.

Improves patient satisfaction


Patient satisfaction is crucial for the overall wellness of your hospital or medical center. It impacts both your reputation and your bottom line. In 2015, hospitals either lost or gained up to 1.5% of their Medicare payments based on patient satisfaction scores. This risk will increase to 2% by 2017.
You are likely concerned first and foremost with improving patient experience. Nearly half (47%) of hospital executives are extremely interested in addressing the challenge of rising consumer expectations for service. Additionally, 45% of hospital and health system executives are extremely interested in identifying patient engagement strategies.

One major way to meet these patient satisfaction and customer service challenges is to maintain optimal staffing levels. Staffing shortages negatively impact patient outcomes. Higher nurse-to-patient ratios are correlated with better survival rates.

Partnering with an MSP to ensure that your staff is always right-sized helps you improve patient experience and outcomes.

 

Improves staff productivity and satisfaction


Staffing shortages don’t only impact patients. They are correlated with reduced job satisfaction and increased burnout in nurses. Contingent staff come in when you need them most — when your hospital is short-staffed or when your organization is overwhelmed with an unexpected influx of patients.

No matter what directional changes occur, an MSP helps increase staff satisfaction and productivity:

  • Reduces overtime for permanent staff by filling in
  • Improves overall job satisfaction for permanent staff
  • Reduces risk of employee burnout by alleviating staffing shortages

Controls costs


Beyond substantial time savings, partnering with a dedicated MSP also saves your organization hiring and employment costs.

Saving you in hiring costs.

Increased staffing costs are affecting hospital operators around the country. For example, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the largest hospital operator by revenue, recently attributed a year-over-year drop in net income in part to increased labor costs. By speeding the staffing cycle and streamlining the number of vendors you use for staffing, you can reduce these expenditures.

The average new permanent employee costs up to 150% of their annual salary. MSPs reduce labor costs because they allow you to test out many employees before committing to hiring them permanently. This provides a low-cost, low-risk method of ensuring new permanent employees are high quality and well-suited to your organization.

Saving you in employment costs.

Temporary staff helps hospitals avoid paying the high fixed costs of employee benefits and unneeded hours of work. Even if you pay temporary workers higher wages, you still come out in the black. Many skilled workers, such as travel nurses, enjoy the higher wages, freedom, and flexibility that contingent work allows. It’s a win-win.

An MSP absorbs many other costs associated with hiring permanent employees. By working with an established firm, you also can save further costs:

  • Reduce employment taxes
  • Avoid vacation and sick pay
  • Eliminate retirement costs
  • Decrease training costs
  • Increase savings with a streamlined HR team
  • Save money by saving timeAlong with saving you in hiring and employment costs, an MSP may help reduce your staffing bill rates by consolidating your vendor relationships.

Streamlines your vendor and supplier relationships


You probably already work with many different staffing and billing vendors. Along with bringing your staffing strategies into alignment with your larger goals, an MSP will help you:

  • Articulate your primary objectives for each vendor relationship
  • Identify and eliminate redundancies
  • Provide a single point of contact for all vendors and suppliers

Tracking performance of vendors and assessing what relationships are most valuable

An MSP will examine how each of your vendors is performing. They will structure a series of questions, based on your organization’s needs, that will identify which partners you’re winning with and which partners you can cut loose:

  • What function does this vendor serve? Is it replicated by other vendors?
  • Can you cut costs or procedural time by reducing the number of vendors you partner with?
  • Is a vendor’s contract rate competitive? In a cost-benefit analysis, do they come out on top, especially when viewed in conjunction with your other vendors?
  • For staffing vendors, what are their employee track records? What is the quality of the staff they are providing? How do the contingent employees they provide compare with other agency employees?
  • For staffing vendors, do they fulfill any niche employment needs that you cannot provide for elsewhere?
  • How else has a vendor made themselves valuable?

Manages and organizes your data


Finally, you can lower your staffing costs by accurately analyzing your available data.

For example, one of Florida’s most comprehensive private, not-for-profit healthcare networks sought to reduce labor costs. They analyzed their annual timecard data to suss out room for improvement and savings. The result: an estimated savings between $700,000 and $1.8 million that grew sharply to $3.16 million once they included more extensive data.

By simply looking at the numbers with an informed eye, this healthcare employer was able to save millions.

A dedicated MSP keeps workforce data for you and works with you to analyze what solutions best fit your needs:

  • Fully integrates with your VMS
  • Tracks workforce performance
  • Tracks vendor performance
  • Consolidates all your data into a single platform
  • Aligns your strategy to your long-term goals

So there you have it — 10 powerful ways an MSP can help you streamline your staffing process and maximize efficiencies!

Contact us today to find out how Total MSP can help you streamline your staffing process!