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Balancing the Scales: Bringing the cost of staffing back to Earth

The primary concern for organizations globally lies in the realm of workforce challenges, and this is evident across various sectors. Nowhere are these challenges more pronounced than in healthcare, with continuous shortages of providers of all types.

With post-COVID market dynamics at play, healthcare finances have heavily tipped in favor of staffing organizations. But as we continue to move into this post-pandemic world, it is time to balance the scales and create a market where we can bring the rates down, the quality up, and let the market compete.


The Power of Competition: Lowering Costs in Healthcare Staffing

Competition plays a vital role in shaping the costs associated with using temporary healthcare labor. In the realm of healthcare staffing, where demand for qualified professionals outstrips supply, competition among staffing agencies, locum tenens providers, and other labor solutions can have a significant impact on pricing.

By expanding the pool of available healthcare professionals, staffing agencies and locum tenens providers compete for talent, offering competitive compensation packages, benefits, and work arrangements to attract qualified professionals. This competition not only benefits healthcare providers by ensuring access to a diverse pool of skilled workers, but it also creates opportunities for healthcare professionals to negotiate better terms and conditions, and more flexible schedules.


Collaborative Solutions: Bridging the Gap in Healthcare Workforce Shortages

Furthermore, competition can drive down costs by promoting collaboration and partnerships among stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem. For instance, staffing agencies may collaborate with educational institutions to recruit newly graduated healthcare professionals, offering them training, mentorship, and career development opportunities. This collaborative approach not only helps address workforce shortages but also reduces recruitment and training costs for healthcare organizations.

When multiple staffing agencies or labor providers compete for the same pool of clients, they are incentivized to find ways to deliver services more efficiently. This can lead to streamlining administrative processes, leveraging technology for better matching of providers with healthcare facilities, and optimizing resource allocation.


Innovative Models in Staffing: The Rise of Vendor Management Systems

Out of this need for staffing agency innovation, the agency-owned Vendor Management/Managed Services model has risen to prominence. While innovation is necessary, doing so to eliminate competition and further enrich the Master Agency is counter-intuitive to the work that a competitive marketplace strives for. Because there are only a few truly open marketplaces, the staffing industry operates in darkness where there is no transparency and no real mechanism for change.


Transparency in Healthcare Staffing: The Case for Vendor-Neutral Solutions

The good news is that Vendor-Neutral Management solutions exist with the understanding that, now more than ever, partners will demand transparency in pricing, elevated candidate quality, and superior customer service. Being purpose-built to allow transparency about pricing structures, including fees, markups, and any additional costs, allows non-vendor owned VMS/MSP platforms to throw open the curtain and force the agencies to put their best foot forward and focus on delivery.

Healthcare organizations are then left to make informed decisions based on who truly has the goods. This new competitive landscape incentivizes providers to maintain high standards of service and quality in order to retain relevancy in a growing market.


Adapting to Market Dynamics: Flexibility in Healthcare Staffing Solutions

The entire healthcare staffing continuum must adapt to market dynamics by offering flexible solutions, responsive customer service, and value-added services that meet the evolving needs of healthcare organizations. This adaptability fosters a dynamic marketplace where competition drives continuous improvement and cost efficiencies.

Competition is a powerful force that drives down costs and drives up quality in the use of temporary healthcare labor. By promoting efficiency, innovation, transparency, collaboration, and best practices, competition benefits healthcare organizations, providers, and patients alike. As the healthcare staffing landscape continues to evolve, competition will remain a key driver of cost-effective and sustainable labor solutions in the healthcare industry.


As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, the importance of an efficient, capable, and adaptable workforce cannot be overstated. Organizations that prioritize strategic workforce management are better equipped to meet the growing demands of patient care, adapt to regulatory changes, and maintain financial health. HWL’s comprehensive healthcare workforce solutions are designed to address these critical needs, offering customized strategies that ensure the right talent is in place to deliver exceptional care. Whether you’re looking to optimize your staffing, enhance your workforce's skills, or improve your operational efficiency, HWL has the expertise to support your goals. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how our solutions can benefit your organization, we invite you to reach out and connect with us.

June 14, 2024/By Tommy Binner
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Author: Tommy Binner

Tommy serves as a Vice President of Business development and drives new go to market strategies, client acquisition, and program delivery initiatives with HWL partners. With over 17 years of business development and team leadership experience (specifically in healthcare), he has been serving healthcare client partners since 2006. He brings a unique insight on the marketplace having lead enterprise initiatives with the Nation's largest healthcare providers in the healthcare technology, locums and telemedicine industries. He holds an MBA and MHA from Georgia State University and a BS from The University of Georgia.
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