Contingent labor requirements in the healthcare industry has been on the rise in the past few years. In 2022, hospitals and clinics are spending more on different types of contingent work, as evidenced by the increased spend on contract labor in the US.
Simultaneously, the manual systems that many health institutions use to manage their contingent workers aren’t cut out to effectively handle every aspect of the process. Although it might sound like a challenge, moving from a manual process to a centralized, streamlined solution represents a game-changer that any healthcare institution should embrace.
A reliable vendor management system (VMS) should help healthcare institutions handle every step of the process while also encouraging adoption within the organization.
This article describes six unique features any healthcare organization should look for when choosing a VMS.
1) Flexible Models
Before choosing a VMS, it’s important to decide how your health organization will manage its contingent workforce program. Some hospitals and clinics prefer to manage their extended workforce internally, for example. Others outsource entirely to a Managed Service Provider (MSP). Alternatively, some medical centers prefer to use VectorVMS’s hybrid model, Shared Managed Services (SMS).
Whichever model you choose, the VMS should be able to adapt to it. Furthermore, your VMS solution should be flexible enough to handle any management changes you plan to implement in the future and incorporate other systems you might need with ease.
Some of VectorVMS’s healthcare customers rely on our system’s capacity to integrate with other technologies—for example, integrating directly with clock-in-and-out systems for accurate records in one timesheet. In clinics or hospitals, nurses record their hours at different rates and also to different departments, so having the capacity to centralize all that information in one place becomes very useful to health administrators.
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2) Compliance Manager
No matter which model you choose for your program, you need a solution that can manage and ensure compliance throughout the entire contingent workforce cycle—from candidate sourcing to the offboarding process.
In healthcare, compliance comes with high stakes. You need a VMS with a configurable and scalable compliance manager that incorporates the standard requirements to create a complete audit trail. Confirm that your system’s standard compliance features can track:
- Documentation and requirements per position
- Documentation and requirements per location
Also, a VMS should provide you with an auditable record for items such as completed background checks, equipment deliveries, and other requirements for your healthcare practitioners.
A key feature for healthcare institutions is being able to configure alerts in the compliance manager. Through report alerts or email notifications, organizations can have easy visibility of upcoming expiring items. Another example, particularly in recent times, is medical centers using this feature to track vaccination statuses.
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3) Scalable Technology
What your contingent workforce program needs today might completely change in the future. Also, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution that can successfully accommodate every contingent workforce program. Ensure that you choose a vendor management system that can adapt to your growth.
Think ahead about what your program needs. Do you require:
- A solution that can manage statement of work (SOW) projects?
- A global solution for internationally-distributed teams?
- A solution that can integrate with other technologies?
Reliable VMS technology should be able to fulfill your current circumstances and adapt to how you plan to grow in the future.
4) Highly Configurable Workflows
Although steps like candidate sourcing, billing, or onboarding/offboarding are similar across all organizations, each program probably has one or more steps unique to its process. Your VMS should be able to adapt to the workflow you need, instead of forcing your program to function in the way the VMS does.
Find a VMS solution that has room for you to configure the data and processes without too much burden on your team or IT resources.
An example of a configurable system is the ability to separate the workflow depending on hospital systems, locations, or even areas of the hospital (ER, med-surg nursing, orthopedics, gastroenterology, etc.). VectorVMS’s healthcare customers can organize job templates according to those distinctions, which allows them to denote shifts using custom fields.
5) Experienced Staff
Embracing new technology is a complicated process. Moving from working with spreadsheets and emails to a fully automated and centralized system could be quite the learning curve for some of your employees.
A key step in the VMS implementation process is to provide a standardized process and methodology that’s proven to ease the transition to the system. A true partnership between your VMS and your organization is something you seriously need for the program to succeed. This is crucial not only in the beginning, but also for the years to come as your healthcare system grows and changes.
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6) Business Analytics and Reporting
Faulty reports and lack of visibility are common issues when using spreadsheets and emails to manage the extended workforce program’s data.
A VMS has the capacity to solve the issue with real-time data and reporting. Healthcare managers can use such information to make better decisions for the organization.
A great use case of this is with billing. Through reporting, hospitals and clinics can determine rate fluctuations in similar positions (like travel nurses) across departments, locations, and managers. This helps to confirm they’re getting the best rates.
Other useful reports for contingent labor in healthcare institutions include:
- Engagement and spent analysis
- Expiring compliance
- Missing compliance
- Vendor scorecards
- Vendor scoreboards