Ann All spoke with Jason Lander, founder and vice president of Business Development for ShiftWise, a provider of automated staffing management technology to hundreds of health care organizations and multiple state hospital associations nationwide.
All: How do automated staffing services like ShiftWise work?
Lander: Similar to using a travel Web site to book an airline ticket, ShiftWise enables health care organizations to go online, enter in the criteria for the particular types of staff they're looking for, review a list of potential matches, and choose the best candidate for the shift. This way, health care organizations can tap into the largest possible pool of qualified, fully credentialed staff and choose the individuals they want for each shift or assignment. They can base their decisions on criteria such as matching credentials, qualifications, skill set, price, previous performance scores, previous visits, shift conditions and over-time hours. This ensures a lower vacancy rate (higher fill rate) for the hospital and also that the filled positions will be placed with the best-qualified and most cost-effective candidate possible.
Health care organizations can also approve and reconcile time slips and invoices online, eliminate costly discrepancies from their billing process, and pull valuable reporting data from the system that enables them to control, manage and optimize their usage of supplemental staffing.
All: What are some of the benefits of using these services?
Lander: Health care organizations gain control of staffing in a way that has never been possible before, by consolidating staff search, booking, billing and record-keeping into one place, with one easy-to-use interface. Health care organizations benefit from an increase in fill rates for open shifts because online VMS grants access to the largest possible pool of qualified, credentialed and available staff from internal and agency resources. Ultimately, this helps health care facilities end their own staffing shortages by optimizing their resource usage and reducing dependency on outside labor.
The ShiftWise system is an online service requiring no IT resources on the part of hospitals or agencies. In addition to technology, hospitals receive many services such as on-site training, 24x7 live customer support, contract management and management, budgetary and statistical reporting.
All: Your company offers its automated staffing service free of charge to companies looking to hire employees, not to mention providing support and training on your system. Is your business model based on taking a cut of employees' salaries? If not, how does ShiftWise make money?
Lander: ShiftWise currently has three primary products: Vendor Management Service (VMS), Internal Resource Pool (IRP), and Staff Time Tracker (STT). We have different pricing models for each.
For our VMS system, there is no cost to the hospitals. ShiftWise believes that hospitals are already paying enough to procure outside labor, so we shouldn't charge them any more. We want to help them reduce, if not eliminate, this expense, not add to it. In addition, we provide a significant benefit to staffing agencies by giving them access to hundreds of hospitals and thousands of orders, all within one interface. This enables them to reduce their time and cost of sales and procurement of orders and allows them to focus more on recruiting and staffing. Therefore, we charge an industry standard (in some cases, lower) service fee to all staffing agencies that book an order in the system. It is similar to a travel agent booking fee.
For our IRP system, we charge hospitals a flat monthly fee based on bed size. Our IRP system is designed to help hospitals reduce or eliminate their agency usage. Therefore, we feel that if we help a hospital achieve this objective, we are justified in charging them for this service. Our Staff Time Tracking product enables hospitals to have both their internal and agency staff clock in and clock out to record their work time. For this system, we charge the hospitals a flat monthly fee based on bed size.
In addition, if a hospital is using both our VMS and IRP products, we offer volume discounts and rebates on the IRP pricing, based on the hospital's spending on agency usage. This again, is in line with our effort to assist hospitals with controlling their spending on the procurement of supplemental staff.