The Future of Healthcare Staffing and How to catch up with Medical Staffing trends

The healthcare staffing and medical staffing is in shambles right now. But it is expected to set in very well in the upcoming decade. Currently, the hospitals rely upon the Vendor Management System and staffing firms for their short-term and long-term healthcare staff needs. Before getting into details let us see the past of the healthcare staffing sector and its evolution with respect to time.

Healthcare staffing: The Past

The healthcare industry had a sufficient number of nurses and physicians and hence it was simple enough. Hospitals reached out to the hiring agencies to hire the temporary staff, usually nurses. The contract nurses demand grew when the healthcare staffing started to face shortages in the late 1980’s which gave way to the travel nurses who work based on requirements of various hospitals from time to time.

With time, healthcare industry had its share of growth and became complex, same was the case for healthcare staffing needs too. Short term needs for specialties grew, a new sector of allied healthcare staffs was required and retaining the recruited staffs was another difficulty to handle for the hospitals. To suffice all the growing needs, hiring agencies evolved into staffing agency which will take care of all the aspects of the staffing side of the hospitals like, recruiting, retaining, managing and short-term staffing.

us healthcare staffing

Source: GradeView Research

The Present state of Healthcare staffing

As we said the present state of healthcare staffing is in the process of evolving with more pitfalls than comforts. The US healthcare staffing, particularly the nursing industry is now a multi-billion dollars industry. The increasing need for specialized nurses for short-term care is one of the major reasons for the growth. However, the growth has left the hospitals with a lot of shortcomings and have eased the workers to benefit out of high demand and lesser availability of staffing.

For example, in the past, nurses were willing to pick the job that offered the best pay and welfare scheme irrespective of the time or shift of the work. Whereas in the current scenario nurses get paid very well that they tend to choose the one that best suits their lifestyle and the locality of their convenience. This is because of the shortages of healthcare staffing nationwide which still is facing shortages like 8% for RNs.

The healthcare industry took a huge hit with the mandating of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which came into existence in 2014. This is said to bring in 32 million newly insured customers in the US thereby increasing the medical requirements. A report says this will raise the normal life expectancy above 65 as they tend to rely more on the healthcare systems.

Peeping into the current day scenario of hospitals, Vendor Management System (VMS) is the most common solution handled inside the organization. VMS has contacts with a various staffing agency in the country who then source willing professionals either through online or offline and get them placed to the hospital. This whole process is tiring, time consuming and inefficient. This unproductive model also instills lack of coordination and hence not the best patient care is achieved.

Newer healthcare staffing trends and how to catch up

We are about to see a lot of refinement in the healthcare staffing in the upcoming years. Some of which already started to influence the market, some in the beta stage and some non-existent in the scene. We have got you 10 upcoming trends in the healthcare staffing sector for the betterment of both the employer and the employee.

Overcoming the inefficiency of market fragmentation

The existing Vendor management system, that solely depends on staffing agency has resulted in the segmentation of the market. Having an intermediate – staffing firm feels pretty outdated in 2018 after all, healthcare staffing is one of the sectors to adopt technological advancements very late. What these staffing agencies do is, they hold the staffs willing to work with themselves and make it available for the employers only when they have paid the staffing firm to do the task, if not the willing employee stays unemployed and the openings in the hospital too stay unfulfilled leading to a lose-lose situation. To overcome this the intermediates has to be eliminated and all of the employee requirements should be open be it short-term or long-term needs.

Introducing smartphone as a medium of communication to establish a recruiter-workforce relation

Mobile has become an essential part of every adult long back but healthcare sector has deliberately failed to recognise the potential of the telecommunication advancements. The above-discussed market fragmentation shortcoming can be easily overcome if mobile platform is used as a medium of communication between the employer and the employee directly. We all know this method is common to all sectors, but that is not the case in the healthcare sector. Only a very few organisations have adapted to this so far. Say, the employer posts about a job opening and willing employees all over nation get to see it which makes the process of reaching to potential employees very easy and quick.

Adoption of the management system to accommodate the upcoming millennial healthcare workforce

Millennials (born on or after 2000) most likely to enter the healthcare profession either as LNs, RNs physicians and what not will replace the 60,000 outgoing professionals who will retire in the same period. However, the system itself needs an overhaul to accommodate the millennial workforce. The older generation made their decision money minded, which opportunity paid them well irrespective of the location, shift and work duration. That is not the case with the millennials they tend to be more cautious about the lifestyle and hence choose a job that best suits them, the unmatched demand to supply also ease them to do so. So having a transparent staffing system cautious about the personal and professional wellbeing needs to implement for the upcoming millennials.

Referral recruitment

Referral recruitment is not any new to the recruitment process but encouraging them mainstream needs to be done. The reason is referral employees tend to be 20% more productive than others this is because the employee gets to work at the hospital of her preference. This also increases the stability of a staff in the same institution as they are satisfied.

Emergence of on-demand economy

On-demand economy is nothing but an efficient way of short-term hiring or temporary employment. The on-demand economy has is booming in various sectors but has not made its way to healthcare staffing. When it is implemented properly hospitals get to save a lot of time and money by eliminating the middleman and dealing with the employees directly. The market today is estimated to have 26% temporary employees which are expected to rise to 40% in the next five years.

Efficient cost management

A typical hospital spends about 55% of its total expenses on healthcare staffing. It is the physician, nurses, allied healthcare staff, travel nurses and the expenses spent on staffing firm. With the advent of the open market system connecting the employees and employers directly, the middleman loses the purpose of existence and hence can save on that. In the current scenario, during prime time the staffing firm charges a premium amount due to heavy demand which cannot be turned down by the hospital. But that is not the case with the open digital market. This will allow the hospitals to spend on some other necessities or rather add an extra staff instead.

Contingent workforce management system

With increasing freelance workforce and short-term contracts, VMS will become obsolete. All we need is a contingent workforce management system (cwms) within the hospital to regulate and manage various contingent employees. CWMS is responsible for picking the right employee to fulfil the need at competitive pay. This saves on time and management workforce with the one-time investment to get the system up and running.

Adapting technology at every level(recruitment)

Healthcare staffing heavily lacks to cope-up with the technology advancements. Recruitment can be handled over the wire through video conferences or online assessments to willing employees. This can save a lot of hassle, money and time for both the parties and improve on the patient care.

Formulating universal workforce market

When the recruiters and the potential workforce are brought to a common arena, some kind of regulation is required to maintain the dignity and set standards among them. An independent body can be allotted that draws constraints on hiring the healthcare employee and set standards like minimum pay.

International employees

Employees from other countries are not encouraged to enter the healthcare staffing till date because of the difference in education and training. Identification of potential immigrants from the various educational background and organising a training programme before taking up the job is a simple but effective method to meet the growing demands of the healthcare sector.


We have brought over the vision of the upcoming trends in the healthcare and medical staffing market which will take place in the coming years into a brief write-up. Hope this benefits you to a good extent. Also, check out our other similar write-ups.

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