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Healthcare Staffing Platforms: Navigating a Changing Market

Staffing platform technology has been a core topic at many of the industry’s conferences lately, and Healthcare Staffing Summit was no exception. We heard many interesting stats about healthcare staffing platform adoption and success metrics, including the fact that platform models experienced 317% y/y growth last year compared with 61% for traditional agency models.

(This growth trajectory holds true for ActivateStaff’s clients. As mentioned during this panel, CoreMedical Group saw roughly 300% growth in their therapy division since the launch of their app). 

To further explore this trend and how agencies can benefit, Activate’s CEO Rohan Jacob ran an Ideas in Action panel alongside Aram Hampoian, CEO of CoreMedical (an early adopter of this technology), Beth Schneider, CCO of Lead Health (one of SIA’s fastest growing agencies) and Bob Livonius, often referred to as the godfather of travel nursing. 

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from that session.

Nurses now have a gig economy

When asked about the impact of the pandemic on healthcare staffing (and why healthcare staffing platforms rose to prominence during that time), Beth noted that:

“It created a gig economy for nurses that they never had before. IT and Marketing have had that space and that privilege, but finally clinicians and nurses had the opportunity for a gig workforce.”

The conditions of demand that existed for nurses during the pandemic created a way of working that has existed in the world for a long time, but not in their industry. And now that it’s proved possible, it will be hard to go back.

Beth Schneider Lead Health Quote from SIA Healthcare Staffing Summit

Agencies need to meet candidates where they’re at

Healthcare staffing platforms have put power in the hands of candidates like never before. They’re able to search jobs that interest them on their own time – and all jobs that match the criteria they define. 

But some nurses still want more of a human touch in their job search experience, and this is where agencies have a chance to provide what these platforms cannot. They can meet clinicians where they are at and provide a range of placement experiences, from very high touch to purely tech enabled.

“Clinicians having multiple paths towards patient care has helped us for sure,” Aram shared.

Predicting a per diem renaissance

Per diem staffing is comparatively difficult for staffing agencies, and because of this the industry hasn’t had a lot of desire to do it on a massive scale. That is, until technology came along that made it much easier. During the panel, Bob predicted a “per diem renaissance” brought on by the prevalence of platform technology. In the industry right now, while there are many healthcare staffing platforms that focus on travel nursing (TrustedHealth, Nomad), there are also many that are focusing on per diem (SnapNurse, CareRev).

Clients want access to per diem staffing, and now per diem rates are becoming very competitive. Technology has enabled this shift-based, on-demand staffing in a way that just wasn’t feasible before, and agencies should be prepared for how this may impact their business. 

:bulb:Pro tip:

Having one system that allows you to place both longer term travel placements and shorter per diem shifts is a game changer. Several of Activate’s clients have been able to supplement their travel nursing business with per diem shifts all within one platform.

Building your own healthcare staffing platform doesn’t make sense… anymore

Whether to build your own software or buy it off the shelf has been an age old question in technology. Over the years many agencies have opted to build their own in-house ATS systems, and now many are still wrestling with the question of the best route to take for adopting a healthcare staffing platform. But with the resources it takes to build and maintain software, plus the time it will take to get to market, the time has passed for building to be a viable choice

As Bob noted during the panel, there has recently been 800 million dollars of venture capital put into 14 different platform companies (ie Nomad, Trusted). And they are all building slightly differentiated versions of the same thing. Many companies in the space, like Favorite Healthcare Staffing, have a five year head start in building their solution and it would be impossible to catch up. 

“In today’s market I can’t see why it would make any sense at all to try and build something. You’d just be one more person trying to build it.”

Bob Livonius SIA Healthcare Staffing Summit 2022 Recap Quote

The revenue realizations are endless

There are a myriad of ways that staffing platform technology can impact your bottom line. The simplest being that it enables your recruiters to make more placements, and in doing so creates the opportunity for more revenue. 

But it also has the power to change the role of recruiter. Platforms like Aya have changed the role of healthcare recruiting, and their “navigators” now handle double the placement load of a typical nurse recruiter for far less cost. And if you can pass that cost savings along to the nurse or lower the rate to the client, then you can build loyalty and a standout experience for everyone involved. 

It’s worth noting that clients are now beginning to understand how platforms are shaping the landscape and the pricing advantage they provide. So coming into client conversations you will need to have a differentiator and be able to answer the question of what you are doing to improve and streamline their business. 

To learn more about differentiating your agency with a white-labelled platform, book a chat with an expert on our team.

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