As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, it becomes more complex and increasingly challenging. That includes the challenge to find the right staff augmentation partner. This bodes true for a range of needs such as temporary coverage for staffing shortages to more complex health information technology conversion projects.
With the reins on reimbursement tightening and the increasing focus on quality and population health, the margin for error in choosing the right partner has narrowed. Selecting a staff augmentation services partner is often based on the fastest and cheapest fix or previous personal relationships. In many cases, choosing outsourced services is based on limited selection available on approved vendor lists.
Most hospital leaders work 50 to 60-hour work weeks and have limited time to compare vendor services. So, judgment calls are made, many times without taking into consideration the best options for the specific need. In-house team members are moved to cover positions they are not qualified to fill. Vendors without the correct subject matter experts are chosen out of convenience. These solutions can put a bandage on a situation, but likely will create long-term issues in the near (and far) future.
What to expect from your solutions partner
Let’s explore common challenges of augmenting your team. In doing so, we’ll review 5 keys to selecting the right partner.
#1: Contract processes
Getting a contract in place can be viewed as the most time consuming and daunting part of starting an engagement. Having a staff augmentation firm that understands this process and the common challenges that can arise is crucial to success.
The key is to have a dedicated contract resource who can help shepherd the process. This typically helps to alleviate the involvement of managers and staff. In most cases, it also ends up shortening the time frame.
#2: Onboarding and IT access
Ensuring the consultant or project teams are compliant and have the necessary clearance and access required to begin work can also be a time drain. Having a partner that has dedicated compliance and IT resources in place can turn this around.
We are seeing a shift to IT departments becoming more siloed. If a consultant or project team needs to have access to multiple systems, siloed IT departments result in access requests having to go through multiple layers to gain correct access. Having an outsourcing team who will monitor this process every step of the way can shave days – even weeks – off timelines.
#3: Department structures and training procedures
It is a common misconception that you can simply:
- bring consultants in from the outside with the required skill set
- grant them system access
- give them a brief overview of the responsibilities
- expect them to perform the exact function of a prior employee
Consultants and project teams work with dozens of facilities over their careers. While this experience is part of the value of consulting, it still requires oversight.
Having a resource assigned to each consultant that walks them through the training process makes an impactful difference. With this outsourcing model, you can ensure consultants get the specific tools needed for each specific project. It can also benefit the department in the long run: it forces an outside review of the workflow and training materials. Many times, this uncovers efficiencies that would not have otherwise been realized.
#4: Productivity and quality monitoring
Many facilities have their own productivity and quality monitoring systems in place. However, depending on the size of the project, certain facilities may not have the time or resources available to track these key measurements as close as they would like. Partnering with an organization that has clear and transparent plans and mechanisms in place is paramount.
Even if a facility does have mechanisms in place, this is one area where redundancy can be considered a good thing. Having an extra set of eyes to monitor these performance measurements is a must.
#5: Project hours and deliverables reporting
We all know that consulting services come at a premium. So it’s not outside the realm of expectation that you should get the highest quality and accuracy of results for the price. This means partnering with an organization that is ready and willing to provide transparency and oversight. Part of this is having a dedicated project manager who outlines a plan that includes the expected project hours for the specific promised deliverables.
We’re here to empower you
At Harmony Healthcare, we think differently about our clients.
- We deliver solutions differently.
- We build client relationships differently.
- We’re focused differently.
See how the right service partner can provide a better solution for your staffing needs here.
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