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MSP and VMS in Healthcare: What’s the Best Solution for You?

by Fanie Pieterse

As a healthcare leader or hiring manager, if you are finding it more and more difficult to manage the gaps and inefficiencies of your contingent workforce program, you are not alone.

It’s at that moment that healthcare executives may choose to implement a more streamlined, centralized model for the hiring of temporary staff. They may ask, “Should I adopt a VMS technology or a full MSP program? Which solution will work better for our organization?” This is a common question, especially with over two thirds of travel nurses being hired through an MSP program or VMS technology.

Because MSP programs typically utilize a VMS technology, both solutions offer similar benefits: mainly, the ability to manage and track open positions, candidate recruitment, credentialing, invoicing and expenses through a centralized, streamlined process and technology. Both offer the ability to have a single view and workflow of open positions, candidates and clinicians on assignment. Both offer access to a pool of pre-screened subcontract staffing agencies under standard contracts and bill rates. Both also offer consolidated billing and reporting of expenses and key metrics such as position fill rates, time-to-fill and candidate submissions and quality.

In an MSP program, the healthcare organization enjoys all the benefits of a VMS technology but receives even more value. Hiring managers can rely on the MSP to manage all open positions to ensure they are filled with quality clinicians in a timely manner. Temporary clinicians typically make up less than 5-10% of a healthcare organization’s workforce, but can take up a disproportionate amount of a hiring manager’s time, especially when the positions are ones that are in high demand and difficult to recruit. MSP programs reduce the stress associated with filling the numerous short-term staffing gaps that arise, and enable hiring managers to shift from reactive mode back to business-as-usual mode.

MSPs are also responsible for managing all interactions with the staffing agencies, thus providing true streamlined, single point of contact communications for the healthcare organization. Through MSPs, hiring managers can continue to utilize the same staffing agencies historically used, while enjoying access to an expanded pool of pre-screened agencies, which can be very helpful in recruiting hard-to-find specialists.

Despite the many benefits associated with MSP programs, there is still a small percentage (less than 20%) of healthcare executives who choose to adopt a standalone VMS technology without implementing an MSP program. They prefer a hands-on, do-it-yourself VMS approach where hiring managers use a centralized VMS platform to manage the recruitment of their temporary staff and are responsible for their own fill rates, time-to-fill, and direct communications with their staffing agency pool. They do not feel the need to rely on an MSP program, but recognize that a VMS technology can help to streamline the recruitment process.

When it comes to making a decision of whether a full-service MSP program or standalone VMS is the best solution for an organization, the following criteria should be considered:

  • What volume of temporary positions and shifts does your organization utilize?
  • What are the highest value activities on which your hiring managers should be focused? Is the recruitment of temporary staff a distraction from more critical or strategic work that should be done?
  • Would you benefit from having more access to healthcare workforce planning and recruitment expertise?
  • Are you allocating many in-house resources to support your standalone VMS or temporary staffing needs through multiple, direct agency contracts?
  • Would your organization be able to reduce internal costs and administrative burden by outsourcing these tasks to an expert MSP company?

Most healthcare organizations with temporary clinician needs can benefit from VMS technology. However, even greater strategic value can be gained from adopting an MSP program. Healthcare executives and hiring managers are able to focus more of their time on strategic initiatives and critical work activities when they allow dedicated experts to handle the challenging task of recruiting hard-to-find clinical talent.

About AHSA

Founded in 2003, AHSA delivers healthcare workforce solutions to streamline and simplify the way healthcare organizations procure and manage supplemental staffing. As a vendor-neutral Managed Service Provider (MSP) utilizing our state-of-the-art, proprietary VMS technology, Trio, we significantly reduce temporary staffing expenditures, improve visibility and control, and reduce the risks associated with temporary staffing.

As a pioneer in the industry, AHSA was the first to provide physician locum tenens and advanced practice workforce solutions in addition to nursing, allied health, medical office, IT and non-clinical services.

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