Healthcare organizations face a variety of staffing challenges. As a result of an ongoing physician shortage, the market for the best talent has become increasingly more competitive. Other staffing challenges include difficulty in filling job vacancies, expansions, and mergers. Staffing challenges may impact healthcare systems in many different ways, leading to lost revenue, a higher workload for existing staff members, poor patient experiences, and more. Below are some strategies that hospitals and other healthcare facilities can use to overcome staffing challenges and boost profitability.
1. Increase Workforce Satisfaction.
Increasing satisfaction among employees helps your healthcare organization overcome its staffing challenges by making it easier for you to attract and retain top-quality talent. When your current staff members are happy in their positions, they are less likely to leave your organization to work for a competitor. They are also more likely to recommend your system to peers looking for employment, and they will contribute to your reputation as a good employer when they discuss their job with friends and family.
To increase workforce satisfaction, focus on improving the environment in which your employees work. Examples of improvements to pursue include using technology more frequently, improving the efficiency of your operations, reducing administrative burden, and providing ample opportunities for professional development.
2. Focus on Value-Based Care.
Traditionally, healthcare organizations have used a fee-for-service approach to pay physicians. This approach incentivizes volume, thus encouraging physicians to recommend as many services to patients as possible. Because patients were requesting and/or accepting more services, more staff members were required to cover all of these services.
Value-based care, on the other hand, bases reimbursement amounts on the quality of care received, as opposed to the number of services billed. When your organization emphasizes value-based care, patients will no longer request services they don't need. This reduces the pressure on your staff, which can eliminate some of your staffing challenges.
3. Use a Vendor Management System (VMS) or Managed Service Provider (MSP).
A vendor management system is a technology solution designed to help healthcare systems maintain their staff. This technology can simplify the hiring process, so healthcare organizations can easily fill vacancies. A managed service provider is an alternative to VMS that is preferable for many institutions. Managed service providers help hospitals and other healthcare systems deal with short-term staffing needs by offering support through every phase of the staffing process.
Healthcare systems can monitor and streamline processes through the VISTA Select customized suite of services, standardize documentation, and have real-time reporting. These healthcare organizations forecast future staffing needs and manage an entire contingent labor population.
4. Use a Locum Tenens Agency.
A locum tenens agency is an agency that helps healthcare organizations fill vacancies on a temporary basis. These agencies connect healthcare systems with clinicians who are willing to accept short-term assignments, thus helping the organizations to operate more effectively until a permanent employee is available.
Founded in 1990, VISTA provides physician, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, and physician assistants staffing solutions that ensure stability and profitability for the entire healthcare system. VISTA is a top-rated strategic healthcare staffing partner covering more than 60 specialties, ensuring our clinicians provide high-quality patient care along with preserving revenue.
5. Develop a Workforce Optimization Strategy.
Workforce optimization strategies are designed to help you overcome staffing challenges by anticipating possible issues and planning accordingly. The right workforce optimization strategy will help any organization identify gaps in the workforce, plan for transitions, reduce the risk of long-term vacancies and maximize the effectiveness of the facility as a whole. Workforce optimization is also essential for healthcare systems moving toward value-based care.
Hospitals and other healthcare systems can gain many benefits from making improvements to staffing. Using the tips above, you can overcome any staffing challenges you may be facing, allowing you to build a stronger and more successful organization overall.
Here at VISTA, we're dedicated to being our clients' strategic workforce optimization partner. Our deep industry expertise and exclusive locums MSP technology help health systems, hospitals, practices, and government entities build and sustain effective workforce models that ensure patient access to care and organizational stability. Covering more than 60 specialties, we staff physicians, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, and physician assistants to help our clients preserve revenue and maintain profitability. Contact a VISTA Expert today to get started.
Editor's note: This post was originally published on October 17, 2019, and has been updated for accuracy and timeliness.