The smart ASC and the future of the extended workforce

Amid historic labor shortages, health systems, hospitals and ASCs are all competing for top talent.

Although many organizations have resorted to traveling nurses at a cost of up to $150 or $200 per hour, this solution isn't practical for ASCs given their lean operational models. 

Becker's ASC Review recently spoke with Waleed Nasr, CEO and cofounder of Medely, about a new approach to workforce management that is transforming how ASCs attract and manage staff. 

Both ASCs and healthcare professionals are frustrated with staffing agencies

Most ASCs have a limited number of full-time staff, since demand for care fluctuates from day to day based on the surgery schedule. Directors of nursing can experience significant stress while trying to hire, onboard and credential temporary employees. 

 "One of our cofounders was a director of nursing at an ASC," Mr. Nasr said. "At the beginning of each week, she was responsible for scheduling surgeries and scheduling the staff needed to perform the procedures. To find nurses, she searched her Rolodex and then texted, emailed and called people. If that didn't work, she had to turn to a staffing agency. In one case, she needed a nurse for four hours. The staffing agency told her that they required a 12-hour minimum commitment at $100 per hour."

In this scenario, the ASC ended up paying an enormous amount of money for an agency nurse, yet the nurse only made a fraction of the amount charged by the staffing agency. "Everyone comes away frustrated from staffing agency interactions," Mr. Nasr said. "ASCs overpay and the healthcare professionals don't make as much money. New and creative ways are needed to manage that process." 

The administrative burden associated with finding temporary staff doesn't stop with hiring, however. Once an ASC finds temporary nurses, the director of nursing usually relies on manual processes to onboard and credential them.

Medely provides ASCs with the tools needed to staff efficiently

In light of today's unprecedented staffing challenges, ASCs are embracing digital transformation to remain competitive. Medely is playing a central role in this evolution. Started in 2015, Medely has grown to be the largest on-demand platform, partnered with thousands of ASCs across the country to meet their growing demand. Its extended workforce management platform provides ASCs with access to an on-demand network of highly vetted nurses and allied health professionals nationwide. 

"We take quality very seriously at Medely," Mr. Nasr said. "We have a clinical team of nurses on staff that vet and onboard every professional. Once individuals have been credentialed, verified and are ready to work, we match them with available jobs posted by healthcare facilities." 

Medely automates all the administrative tasks for ASCs, such as onboarding, credential monitoring, time tracking and performance reviews. Once a job is completed, the platform automates payment to professionals. Facilities can review professionals booked through Medely, and professionals can also review the facilities where they work.

As Mr. Nasr explained, "With Medely, ASCs have access to the extended workforce at the tip of their fingers. They can scale on demand, both up and down, as surgery schedules fluctuate through different seasons. In addition, ASCs can manage both internal staff and the extended workforce with the Medely platform."

Medely also empowers healthcare professionals to take control of their careers

A lack of flexibility is a major reason why many nurses decide to work per diem or to stop working altogether. Medely changes the game by empowering healthcare professionals to work when it's most convenient for them and to earn more while doing so. 

"Most healthcare professionals aren't looking for full-time work anymore," Mr. Nasr said. "They want flexible schedules that provide them with different experiences on a day-to-day basis. Professionals also want to interview facilities. Many opportunities are available to them and they want to ascertain which one will be a good fit for them."

Conclusion

Traditionally, ASCs have viewed internal staff and the extended workforce as two separate things. This is no longer the case today. According to Mr. Nasr, "We are seeing a convergence of internal and external staff and ASCs want to offer the same experience to both. That's what Medely can provide. We reduce ASCs' reliance on staffing agencies and by automating talent-related workflows, teams can focus on patient care, rather than administrative tasks. Medely also resonates with nurses and allied health professionals. It puts people in control of their careers, allowing them to choose when and where they want to work."

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