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Physician and Provider Float Pool Strategy in Healthcare Systems

Healthcare organizations of all types of focus on addressing their staffing challenges in many ways, and one area that is of growing focus is physician and provider internal resource pools (IRP), often more generally referred to as “float pools”.

While very common in nursing or allied disciplines, many systems have either not invested in building this on the physician and provider side or have dipped their toe into the water with their overall PRN strategy. With this being said, there are some significant value-adds, besides just reducing the overall utilization of and cost associated with locum tenens coverage, which include:

  1. Enhanced Flexibility and Efficiency: A physician and provider float pool strategy offers invaluable flexibility to healthcare systems. By maintaining a pool of skilled professionals who can fill in for absent staff or fluctuating patient volumes, hospitals can ensure continuous and uninterrupted care delivery. This approach optimizes resource allocation, preventing understaffing crises and reducing the need for costly temporary hires. Whether due to unexpected absences, seasonal fluctuations, or sudden increases in patient demand, a well-implemented float pool strategy enables healthcare facilities to adapt swiftly and efficiently, thereby improving overall operational resilience.
  2. Improved Patient Care and Satisfaction: The presence of a float pool of physicians and providers directly contributes to enhanced patient care and satisfaction. With readily available backup staff, hospitals can maintain consistent levels of service quality, minimize wait times, and uphold patient safety standards. Continuity of care is vital for patient outcomes, and a robust float pool strategy ensures that medical teams remain adequately staffed even during unforeseen circumstances. This leads to smoother patient experiences, reduced stress for existing staff, and ultimately, higher levels of patient satisfaction and trust in the healthcare system.
  3. Mitigation of Burnout and Staff Retention: Implementing a physician and provider float pool strategy is a proactive measure to address burnout among healthcare professionals and mitigate staff turnover. Burnout is a prevalent issue in the healthcare industry, often stemming from heavy workloads, long hours, and insufficient support. By offering relief through float pool rotations, healthcare systems can alleviate the strain on permanent staff, allowing them adequate rest and recuperation time. Additionally, the availability of flexible scheduling options can improve work-life balance, morale, and job satisfaction, thereby fostering a healthier and more sustainable work environment. Ultimately, by investing in the well-being of their workforce, healthcare systems can promote staff retention and attract top talent, ensuring long-term organizational success.

From ensuring operational flexibility and continuity of care to safeguarding staff well-being and enhancing patient satisfaction, the benefits are multifaceted and far-reaching. By prioritizing the development and maintenance of a robust float pool, it becomes possible to more easily navigate staffing and patient care access challenges more effectively, while simultaneously providing high-quality care to the patient.

If you are looking to start or enhance your float pool and would like to learn more about best practices and new techniques, let's connect to talk through how HWL helps empower you in this area

May 31, 2024/By Trevor Strauss, FACHE
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Author: Trevor Strauss, FACHE

Trevor Strauss serves as a Vice President for HWL and has been designing new solutions and driving go to market strategy within healthcare workforce and human capital delivery for organizations since 2008. His expertise comes from having lead deal teams from inception through implementation across the entire labor continuum from search to enterprise-wide workforce and technology solutions. His passion is helping organizations reposition themselves to create the future they desire to meet their operational and financial goals, while ensuring patient care delivery. He received his BS from Lock Haven University, MBA from East Carolina University, and is Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is based out of Atlanta, GA and can be reached at tstrauss@hwlworks.com or 770-298-0122.
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