Recruitment agencies have been in the crosshairs of the healthcare industry over the past year with new legislation aimed at capping the amount they charge proposed establishments across the country. However, they continue to offer one of the things the workforce values the most right now: flexibility.
That’s why ShiftKey, one of the largest platforms for connecting independent licensed healthcare professionals with open teams across the United States, recently made a strategic investment in OnShift, a leading provider of workforce management for long-term care facilities.
While the two companies will continue to operate independently, the new integrated platform built between the two will offer open shifts for installations that users can request and integrate into the schedule with OnShift.
Facilities using the OnShift platform will be able to get a holistic view of their entire schedule, which will show both their own workforce and freelancers available to hire in one place.
“What we’ve found is that this is the most efficient way for our customers to manage both their own workers and contingent workers. That was the value proposition we saw,” OnShift CEO Mark Woodka told Skilled Nursing News.
The hope is that the platform will paint a clearer picture for operators of their end costs, while giving them more flexibility in how they staff their business. Recent research from global management consultant Oliver Wyman shows that some suppliers may be underestimating turnover costs. According to the data, finding a full-time nurse can cost a facility up to 33% more on an hourly basis than an equivalent casual worker.
As such, despite some of the concerns that have been raised about the use of staffing agencies and the associated cost and quality, Woodka believes the model continues to be a necessity for operators at this time.
“What worries me is that providers think things will get better and [that they] won’t have to rely on third-party contingent labor, but I don’t see that happening any time soon,” Woodka said. “Our thinking was how to optimize the use of these workers in partnership with people like ShiftKey to improve it for customers from an overall experience.”
He said ShiftKey and OnShift want to “do well” for their customers and provide them with the best experience with an accurate profile of overall costs and care provided.
One of the concerns Woodka often hears from vendors is that there is little “visibility” of who is entering the building, whether or not they show up or even if they are billed correctly.
“I think bringing more visibility to this process is really important for suppliers,” he said.
Woodka also believes that a lack of flexibility in how providers staff their buildings is one of the big issues facing the healthcare industry today.
“During Covid [we’ve learned] you have to try to be more flexible,” he said.
That means different work schedules, like offering four-hour and 12-hour shifts, and some suppliers who haven’t adjusted workers likely lost because of it, he said.
“The industry as a whole hasn’t really embraced this model and I think it’s paved the way for companies like ShiftKey to fill the void,” he said. “Health care is no different from other industries, people want that flexibility.”
Healthcare facilities have posted over 35 million shift hours on ShiftKey since its inception.
At Skilled Nursing News’ Staffing Summit held virtually last week, Todd Kiziminski, vice president of talent acquisition for Trilogy Health Services, said adding more flexibility is one of the greatest short-term opportunities that operators can exploit in times of staff shortages.