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MSP and VMS in Healthcare: What’s the Difference?

by Tim cerny

With healthcare organizations experiencing faster-than-average employment growth and clinician unemployment rates at a low point, hiring managers are scrambling to recruit qualified clinicians to fill the gaps in their staff schedules. Initially, they cover their needs through working directly with a select number of trusted staffing agencies. However, as their temporary staffing needs grow, managing those gaps becomes more and more challenging.

As the number of staffing agencies used expands, inefficiencies begin to emerge. Hiring managers find themselves handling multiple agencies under multiple contracts, with different bill rates and terms. It becomes increasingly difficult to track the temporary staff on assignment, hours and overtime worked, and open positions to be filled, making it near impossible to project how much is being spent at any given time in comparison to the budget. As weekly invoices from multiple agencies trickle in, healthcare executives feel surprised and overwhelmed by their higher than anticipated spending and lack of control over contingent labor utilization.

It’s at that moment that healthcare executives may choose to implement a more streamlined, centralized model for the hiring of temporary staff. If you find yourself in this situation, you are not alone. In the healthcare industry, over two thirds of travel nurses are being hired through an MSP program or VMS technology. The two solutions can be defined as follows:

Vendor Management System (VMS) – A technology platform through which an organization’s contingent workforce program can be managed, either by the healthcare organization or an outsourced MSP program. The cloud-based technology includes functionality for open position management, candidate recruitment and profile management, credentialing, staffing agency pool selection and management, tracking and reporting, and consolidated invoicing. The fees associated with a VMS are typically paid by staffing agencies for placements made.

Managed Service Provider (MSP) – An outsourced program whereby the solution provider assumes primary responsibility for managing an organization’s contingent workforce program, including open position management, candidate recruitment and profile management, credentialing, staffing agency pool selection and management, tracking and reporting, and consolidated invoicing. MSP programs typically utilize VMS technology and fees are paid by staffing agencies for placements made.

Because MSP programs typically utilize a VMS technology, both solutions offer similar benefits. The difference is that MSP programs take responsibility for ensuring all temporary positions are filled and managing all interactions with the staffing agencies. For hiring managers who do not feel the need to rely on an MSP program, utilizing a standalone VMS technology is still a very good option to help with streamlining the recruitment process.

There are many factors to consider in determining whether an MSP can bring even greater strategic value to a contingent work program than simply adopting VMS technology. To learn more about which factors to consider, see article

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

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.

Tim Cerny, President

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