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Tips For Choosing the Right VMS For Your Business


Experts estimate that over 80% of businesses utilize a vendor management system (VMS) in some capacity, while only 71% of healthcare facilities use it. However, given the fact that around 90% of healthcare facilities utilize contingent labor, which has seen vast increases in reliance over the last few years, it may come as a surprise that more systems don't take advantage of a VMS. 

Whether this is because they assume it is too costly, or they don't fully understand its benefits, or don't know how to begin their search, HWL has put together this comprehensive guide. Here, we outline the primary benefits of a VMS, and tips for choosing the right one for your business.


What Is a VMS?

A vendor management system is a technology platform that centralizes all critical information about a contingent labor force, making it quick and easy to manage staff. HWL provides a VMS, for example, that is built on a next-generation platform that allows for custom workflows, client system integrations, and robust Business Intelligence (BI) and reporting. It also supports Locum Tenens, nursing, allied, and non-clinical specialties on contract, travel, and local per diem bases.


Main Benefits of a VMS

The main benefit of a VMS is enhanced visibility into the inner machinations of contingent staffing, which allows for more informed decision-making. However, there are more benefits to reap! Here are a few ways a VMS can improve operations.


Contain Staffing Costs

Over the past few years, the cost of staffing has skyrocketed. This is largely due to the industry's over-reliance on travel nurses and other forms of contingent workers. While unforeseen influences have played a role in increasing this dependence recently, it has nevertheless always existed in the healthcare space. However, VMS platforms are designed to help organizations broaden their labor pool and gain access to lower vendor prices. Additionally, with centralized data and enhanced visibility, it becomes much easier to identify areas in which the company overspends and act accordingly.


Automate Administrative Tasks

Managing contingent staff includes a lot of tedious, time-consuming administrative tasks — checking credentials, staff performance, wages, location, availability, and more. However, because a VMS centralizes and parses all of this data automatically, tedious tasks become more streamlined, thus freeing up administration and HR to focus on other priorities.


Real-Time Data Reporting

Data is the cornerstone of any coherent strategy, and one can surmise the negative impacts of decisions made using inaccurate or outdated data. Luckily, VMSs track market fluctuations to help agencies improve their performance against other competitors using crucial KPIs — fill rates, market share, performance, and more. Additionally, each staff member's performance is tracked within the VMS, allowing decision-makers to prioritize high performers and delegate where critical staff is needed.

Are you interested in learning more about our VMS? Book a demo today.


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How to Choose the Right VMS For Your Business

Sure, a VMS is critical to streamlining tedium, gaining valuable insights, and providing an avenue for better decision making regarding contingent staff.

But how do you know which VMS is right for you?


1. Identify Your Needs & Ensure it Supports Your Contingent Labor Types

This is why ensuring the VMS is built on next-gen technology and flexible architecture that allows for custom workflows, integrations, and a robust reporting system becomes so important. All these features are capable of: 

HWL's vendor management system, for instance, is very well-rounded and supports local, travel, contract, per diem, clinical, and non-clinical staff, including:

  • Nursing & Allied
  • Locum Tenens
  • Home Health & Hospice
  • Pharmacy & Lab
  • Health IT
  • Clerical & Administrative
  • Professional & Interim Management


2. Ensure the VMS is Scalable

When shopping for a VMS, ensure that its technology is capable of scaling with your business. The overall goal is to maximize cost savings and streamline management tasks so you can dedicate resources toward other organizational imperatives. After all, what is the sense in utilizing a VMS if it is incapable of helping you grow? 

This is the main reason why it becomes so important to ensure the VMS is built on next-gen technology and flexible architecture that allows for custom workflows, integrations, and a robust reporting system. All of these features are capable of: 

  • adapting to new technology
  • ensuring existing tech is capable of being integrated into new systems
  • data analytics features that allow key stakeholders to guide the organization toward growth


3. Data Security

Healthcare organizations deal with more personal/sensitive information than most other fields, so state-of-the-art cybersecurity infrastructure is a must-have. If a VMS that you're considering is built on old technology or does not otherwise prioritize security as a feature, it may be worth shopping around a bit more. Another measure to take is to ensure the VMS is compliant with local and federal data security legislation.

The HIPAA Journal estimates that around 5,150 healthcare data breaches of 500 or more records were reported to the HHS' Office for Civil Rights between 2009 and 2022. While patient info isn't stored in a VMS, protecting employees' personal info (and the company's reputation) is still a major priority.


4. User-Friendliness Is Critical to Efficiency

When we think about user experience, we often think of websites and mobile apps. Think about the last time you used an app with a less-than-friendly user experience — did you have trouble navigating the menus? How long did it take you to find what you were looking for? Did you have to browse help forums or perform extra Google searches? Well, the same goes for any technology platform, and VMSs are no exception. 

If staff can't easily navigate the VMS to perform their duties quickly and efficiently, it becomes more of a burden than a tool for success. This is why HWL highly recommends scheduling a demo and laying out a training regimen before making any final purchases.


5. Check Reviews and Testimonials

Finally, check in with other similar companies to see if they've seen success with any prospective VMS platforms. Realistically, some form of social proof is needed to ensure the wool is  not being pulled over your eyes and that any selling points actually hold water. That's why HWL regularly publishes partner success stories — to show the public how our technology has made tangible impacts and fostered growth for myriad organizations.


Not Sure Where to Begin? Start With HWL.

HWL’s VMS has helped hundreds of organizations just like yours automate the entire contingent staffing process. By providing deeper visibility into pain points and highlighting areas where overspending does occur, you can start lowering costs, ensuring compliance, and providing standardization and consistency for the management of various groups of contingent workers.

In addition, our VMS is built with a state-of-the-art integration platform, so we can easily collect real-time data from agency and client systems. This expedites the process of getting time and expenses approved which promotes error-free invoicing. 

If you're interested in learning more, schedule a free demo today!

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October 17, 2023/By Lauren Cabral
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Author: Lauren Cabral

Lauren N. Cabral joined HWL as the Senior Vice President of Business Development and Consulting Services in 2020. With over a 25-year record of achievement in driving transformational workforce management and talent acquisition optimization strategies to some of the most prestigious integrated delivery networks in the country, Lauren has demonstrated executive leadership in leading teams and large-scale engagements in serving as the Vice President of Advisory Solutions, Business Development and Client Services for some of the most respected healthcare workforce management firms in the nation.
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