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Float Pools- Are they working the way you expect?

Posted by Tim Teague on Fri, Dec 11, 2015 @ 10:51 AM


If your float pool or staffing bank is not providing the results you need, you are not alone. One of the great challenges in the acute care setting is the ability to meet the challenge of daily staffing expectations. Two of the major drivers in this challenge can be the random “call-offs” in an already short-staffed cost center, coupled with a census that is becoming more and more volatile.

From a budgetary perspective, what I call “just-in-time” decisions for staffing don’t seem too onerous on that day, but as days turn to weeks, and weeks to months, these daily “quick fixes” can grow out of control.

Just as I tell my kids to scrape the last bit of peanut butter from the jar before throwing it away, too many staffing departments are “buying” new jars before they have truly utilized what is available.

The solution to maximizing a float pool is most often a technical solution. There are a few basic questions that can determine if the float pool is really being maximized.

During the development of the pool, were all affiliated offices, facilities, and units informed of the intent?

  • Are there any “crossover” competencies from participants that might be of use? (Maybe an L&D nurse has had come ED experience.)
  • Is there a true “search and find” function that quickly uncovers all possible matches that include-
    1. Availability (granular down to the hours available)
    2. Matching competencies
    3. Current credentials
    4. Location (within established distances)
    5. Prior experience and amount of time worked (if any) in the requesting unit.
  • Is there a true “interactive” system of delivery and response to needs that incudes text message response to accept or reject?

We find that those facilities that are answering “yes” to these questions are truly “getting every last bit of peanut butter” from the jar and are maximizing available resources while minimizing cost.

Tags: Healthcare, medical staffing, VMS, hospital float pool,, staffing

Healthcare Staffing a Great Place to Be

Posted by Tim Teague on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

The growth or contraction of the healthcare staffing industry has typically followed the direction of the economy.13 Since hospital census typically takes a dive when unemployment spikes, the need for additional labor softens.

However, the recent rulings by the Supreme Court that essentially left the Affordable Care Act intact and will provide a buffer for such economic downturns. The government subsidized insurance plans will continue to generate revenue for hospitals despite dips in the economy.

A quick look at the macro picture of Affordable Care Act outcomes can be seen in the adjusted revenue projections of insurance giant United Health Group UNH and HCA Holdings HCA. HCA increased its revenue projections for 2015 by nearly a billion dollars, and United Health increased its outlook by $2 billion dollars.

Considering these adjustments came prior to the most recent ruling by the Supreme Court that effectively cleared the way for state expansion of Medicaid, these numbers are likely to rise.

It is likely that the continued subsidization of insurance would be politically untouchable in the years to come. Whether friend or foe of the legislation, it portends positively for the healthcare staffing industry.

Tags: Healthcare, medical staffing, ACA

The Secret to Surving the Nurse Shortage

Posted by Tim Teague on Mon, Aug 03, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

A recent study by Nursing Solutions, Inc. found that the turnover rate for bedside RNs was higher in 2014 than in any of the past five years. Their study indicated an improving economy parallels the increase in turnover fnurse_copyor RNs.
Their study examined turnover by specialty and discovered the highest rate of turnover existing in the behavioral health area, followed by the emergency department and med/surg. 

Their RN Recruitment Difficulty Index averaged 85 days, which continues to pose strategic hurdles for HR departments.

One area that healthcare providers have been slow to embrace is “cross-training” for the purposes of minimizing overtime within the organization. The main reason this philosophy has been slow to gain traction in healthcare is the myriad of credential requirements for RNs working in Joint Commission required facilities.

Today employee matching software if readily available that can scour an organization for “hidden” personnel assets that can be deployed to minimize overtime spend. When examining the skill sets of ALL employees, most organizations find that there is an under-utilization of human resources that are already on the payroll! The two keys to maximizing this lower cost alternative to overtime is instantaneous communication to all matches, and of course matching the multiple skill sets of employees to emerging needs. BlueSky has been a pioneer in making this technological advances in the healthcare HR space.

Tags: medical staffing, Nurse Shortage, overtime

BlueSky Healthcare Staffing Enhancements

Posted by Doug Word on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 @ 10:11 AM

BlueSky Medical Staffing SoftwareAt BlueSky, we are always searching for ways to enrich the user experience for our clients. We recognize that healthcare staffing is an ever-evolving industry, so our work is centered on helping staffing agencies save time and money.

With that in mind, we have two exciting new system enhancements to share.

Caregiver/Facility Radius Search

Are you an account manager or recruiter looking to match a facility contract with a caregiver in a certain range? Perhaps you are targeting a certain location for sales or prospecting jobs from facilities.

BlueSky's radius search will help you identify those caregivers and/or facilities within your defined areas. All you will need to do is enter a valid U.S. zip code and search away to find the information you seek within a given radius. This tool is great for both per diem and travel needs.

Caregiver Short Application Feature

Have you ever had caregivers on the phone while you were short on time but wanted to get them entered into your system quickly? Perhaps they had only a minute or two to spare before racing out the door. We understand your time is precious and often fleeting. Enter the BlueSky short application, where basic, yet important, information can get entered into your company's system in a snap.

The short application feature captures only the most relevant data: name, contact information, degree, specialty, recruiter and the ability to upload a resume. From there, one of your team members or the caregiver can go back in at a later date and update the full profile. Most importantly, the information is captured right away and will not get lost in a stack of papers.

Take a look at it below, and let us know what you think. Will this help your agency?

BlueSky Medical Staffing Software

BlueSky is committed to its customers and loves getting feedback!

Ready to experience positive change with BlueSky Medical Staffing Software? Our goal is to save you time and money by housing all of your credentialing, scheduling and caregiver documentation in one easy-to-access location. You can count on our experts to provide answers to all of your burning questions. Call us at 615-349-1985 to schedule a demonstration, or email us at support@bluesky.com.

Tags: BlueSky Medical Staffing Software, healthcare industry, healthcare staffing and recruiting software, healthcare scheduling software, healthcare staffing agency, healthcare staffing trends, Staffing Agency, Staffing Industry, staffing software, medical staffing, per diem medical staffing, Travel Nurse Staffing, web-based staffing software

The Emergence of Freestanding ERs

Posted by Doug Word on Tue, Aug 13, 2013 @ 08:50 AM

Freestanding Emergency RoomsFreestanding emergency rooms have popped up across the country, but according to a recent NPR story, they have advantages as well as drawbacks.

Freestanding ERs are seen as competition to urgent care centers, which are available as convenient options for non-life threatening emergencies like influenza or a sprained ankle.

Thinking of staffing into freestanding ERs? Share your thoughts here.

There is a huge difference between the two, however. Freestanding ERs typically offer the full range of services found at traditional hospitals. Some accept ambulance traffic, something not available at most urgent care centers.

However, this ABC News article notes that:

"Ambulances generally won't bring the most critically ill to the stand-alone centers, including trauma patients and those having strokes or heart attacks. In Miami, ambulances won't bring patients to stand-alone ERs at all."

A few of the qualities these emergency centers boast include:
-- Low waiting times
-- Cutting-edge equipment
-- Staff is equipped to handle almost any patient need.
-- Increased access for communities without a nearby hospital
-- Carries potential to alleviate overcrowding in traditional ERs

Negative aspects include:
-- High cost for patients and insurance companies
-- Typically not available in low-income communities
-- Some don't accept Medicare or Medicaid
-- Care could be compromised if full services are not offered.

Freestanding ERs are identified as a trend "taking hold in health care building" in this Nashville Business Journal blog. The author, E.J. Boyer, also notes, "the increased interest from clients in freestanding emergency departments repeated itself like a broken record."

Insurance companies are dissatisfied, however, claiming that the high costs will ultimately drive up the prices for consumers.

According to the NPR story, the main reason for the sticker shock is what is known as a facility fee, or a charge "for all the overhead, including expensive equipment like the CAT scanner and the lab."

Does your agency staff into freestanding ERs? Are you thinking of exploring this emerging market? Have you already begun? If so, please share your thoughts about this trending topic in the healthcare industry.


Tags: healthcare industry, staffing software, medical staffing, freestanding ERs, freestanding emergency rooms

The Brave New World of Healthcare Staffing

Posted by Doug Word on Thu, Aug 08, 2013 @ 08:54 AM

describe the imageEntering the unique world of healthcare staffing is challenging at best and overwhelming at worst, but it can also prove very rewarding. In its simplest form, the industry involves matching a qualified, credentialed nurse to a unit within a hospital, but there is so much more that goes into making that happen. One thing is for sure: it is not for the faint of heart.

My perspective as a new employee with BlueSky might differ from the experiences of others as they enter the medical staffing industry from the agency side. However, for me, there were several items that took time to wrap my mind around. In retrospect, following the steps below can make a big difference:

1. Accept it, the terminology is daunting. From per diem and travel nursing to locum tenens staffing, the verbiage of the industry takes time to learn if familiarity is lacking. Don't fret if you happen upon a word or phrase that you don't immediately comprehend. It will occur early and often. Allow yourself time to Google around for the answers to questions you come across.

2. Ask a lot of questions. When starting from square one like I did, there is no quicker way to gain an understanding of how things work than asking questions of co-workers that have made it this far in the industry. There is a reason they are still standing. Receiving a high-level overview early on is also recommended even if it seems like information overload. Your retention rate might suffer, but things will start to make sense as you go along. Don't be shy: you can only learn by asking.

3. Take good notes. Not only will good note-taking help you retain information, but it also gives you a strong reference point for revisiting topics you had difficulty comprehending the first time around.

4. Try to grasp the big picture. In healthcare staffing it is so easy to get bogged down in the weeds of how each facet of the industry functions. Keeping your mind focused on the big picture is key, however. If the operation of the entire system starts to make sense then the smaller components will come into clearer focus as well.

From a staffing agency's perspective, finding a way to manage all of the information you have to manage will top the priority list. Once you build relationships, establish contracts between facilities and locate caregivers, you will need a one-stop shop out of which to operate and manage your data.

From credentialing to scheduling to licensing and beyond, placing a caregiver into a short- or long-term assignment can prove challenging.

Thankfully, there is an answer with BlueSky Medical Staffing Software.

Tags: BlueSky Medical Staffing Software, healthcare recruiting and staffing software, healthcare industry, Healthcare, healthcare staffing software, healthcare staffing agency, Staffing Agency, Staffing Industry, staffing software, healthcare recruiting, medical staffing, per diem medical staffing, Travel Nurse Staffing, web-based staffing software

Seven Rules of Engagement of Mass Email

Posted by Julie Moore on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 @ 11:15 AM

MassEmailYou know, it’s funny how many people know about the CAN-SPAM Act but don’t think that it applies to them.  Yes, Healthcare Staffing Recruiters… I am talking to you!  If you are using email in your business, the CAN-SPAM act establishes requirements for every message you send regardless of Bulk email or not and allows recipients of your email to ask you to stop emailing them. 

Bulk or mass email is defined as sending out electronic email to large groups at one time.  BlueSky defines Bulk email as anything over 100 emails at one time. The question becomes are you sending email that is solicited or is it unsolicited aka SPAM?

How do you know if it is solicited email? 

Solicited email is where the recipient has CHOSEN to get email from you , AKA opt-in and they have the option to not receive email from you AKA opt-out.

What is defined as SPAM?

Unsolicited email is any message, regardless of what it says is sent to multiple recipients who have not requested the mail.

Why is it so important that I follow the CAN-SPAM Act?

Each separate email that is in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act can be subject up to a $16,000 penalty.  So let’s put this into perspective.  If you send out 1000 unsolicited emails and you are taken to court you can get fined $16 Million.  That’s HUGE.  The government takes SPAM very seriously and you should too.

There are seven rules of engagement that you need to be concerned and very aware of with in sending email to be in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act:

1.        Don’t Use false or deceptive information in the header of the email.  In other words the FROM and REPLY to must be accurate.

2.       Don’t use misleading email subjects.  The email subject should truthfully echo the content of the email that you have sent.

3.       Do classify your email as an add.  There is flexibility in how you do this but this needs to be clearly identified in your email.

4.       Do tell recipients where you are located.  This needs to be your postal address and can be either a physical address or a P.O. Box

5.       Do give recipients the option to opt-out of future emails from you.  Opting out must be clearly identified that any person can read and understand and then once they have opted out make sure that that they no longer receive emails from you. 

6.       Do respect the request of a opt out requests and take care of them quickly.  Bluesky has automated this process, as many email marketing software have done as well, so if a person opts out of a  system generated email we automatically ensure they do not get emails again.

7.       Do observe what someone is sending on your behalf.  The law is clear that if you have hired a marketing agency and they are sending emails on your behalf then you are liable.  Just because you are not the one sending it doesn’t mean that you are not legally responsible for this email.

If you are aware and follow these rules then you will be protected. Medical Staffing Agency owners and IT manager need make sure that your team is aware of the CAN-SPAM laws.  You, as a company, are liable for what they send.  Many companies are holding annual compliance seminars and training on email laws just as they do sexual harassment training. Let us know, is your company aware of the implications of Mass email?  How do you manage email internally?

Tags: healthcare recruiting and staffing software, healthcare industry, healthcare staffing industry, Healthcare, healthcare staffing and recruiting software, healthcare scheduling software, healthcare staffing software, healthcare staffing agency, healthcare staffing credentialing, healthcare staffing trends, healthcare scheduling, Staffing Agency, Staffing Industry, staffing software, healthcare recruiting, medical staffing, healthcare staffing payroll, per diem medical staffing, Email Marketing

What happens in Vegas…Will not stay in Vegas, this year.

Posted by Jennifer Kardell on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 @ 10:44 AM

aria las vegasThis year’s Staffing Summit is approaching quickly and you won’t want to leave what happens in Vegas behind.

Company CEOs, owners, and VPs will be attending the 2012 Staffing Summit in Las Vegas, NV October 15-17 at the Aria Resort and Casino. These industry professionals will have an opportunity to learn more about the best practices, gain propriety information and have an opportunity to network with other healthcare staffing professionals. Whether your business is small or large there is always something new to learn in this ever-changing, fast-paced industry.

Why should you attend? 

One word – Networking. Networking with the top professionals will help you to improve yourself as a staffing industry professional as well as your business. Although, attending an event like this may seem costly, the progression and new insight for you and your business will be priceless. You can see what your competitors are doing and gain contacts within the industry. These two things aren’t something you can gain staying in the office.


Now that decision has been made to attend, you will need to be prepared for all that you are about to experience. 

Here is a list of things to make sure you have/do:

  • Business cards –great for networking and making contacts.
  • Camera-revisit your memories.
  • Pen/Paper- You never know what might inspire you.
  • Comfy Shoes- There will be a lot of walking.
  • An extra bag or leave room in your suitcase – You will need room for all the valuable materials you’ll be bringing home.
  • Bring a friend-Take in more knowledge by splitting up and sharing notes.
  • Schedule-Plan which speakers and sessions you want to attend that will benefit you the most.
  • Have fun!

We are anxious to learn new things from all who are attending and share the exciting new features we have in store. Be sure to stop by our booth and say hi!

Stay tuned to our blog over the coming weeks to learn more about the speakers and sessions that will be available for you to attend while at Summit.

Tags: healthcare staffing software, healthcare staffing agency, healthcare staffing trends, medical staffing, 2012 Healthcare Staffing Summit, Staffing Summit, Las Vegas

The election is near. Is your staffing firm ready?

Posted by Tim Teague on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 @ 09:32 AM

describe the imageAs the November election draws near, the political pundits across the country do their best to project alternate futures based on their respective party platforms. 

On one side there will be the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act that has been largely affirmed through the recent Supreme Court ruling.  One of the major pieces of that puzzle is the establishment of health insurance exchanges on a state by state basis. Although compliance with this mandate has been very political in nature, an Obama victory would probably eliminate any lack of conformity.

On the other side, a newly elected Romney has declared war on the Affordable care act, vowing to repeal the law in it’s entirety. Although there is a significant constituency that would like to see that happen, it would require both houses of Congress, or specific funding cuts to actually kill the legislation.

In the healthcare staffing world, it’s all about demand. Demand for healthcare professionals in a multitude of settings. Demand for these professionals is intrinsically linked to patients, and currently the US is facing a demographic change that will push the limits of healthcare services for at least the next decade. Acuity of illness becomes linear with aging, and the outlook in the U.S. is a greater population of acutely ill patients.

So, regardless the outcome of November’s elections, be prepared for an increasing demand for staffing services to meet the inevitable demand.  

Tags: Obamacare, Obama, healthcare staffing industry, Presidential, Election, Affordable Care Act, healthcare staffing and recruiting software, healthcare scheduling software, healthcare staffing software, healthcare staffing agency, healthcare staffing credentialing, healthcare staffing trends, medical staffing, Romney

The Future of Healthcare Staffing: Risk and Reward

Posted by Julie Moore on Thu, May 10, 2012 @ 09:14 AM

The immediate future of the healthcare staffing industry will be rewarded with several demographic trends that will have to compete with the risk of new healthcare legislation.

What's the Up Side?

Healthcare ReformOn the positive ledger, the Staffing Industry Analysts:  Staffing Industry Insight (dated September 2011), an independent staffing industry publication, estimates total staffing industry revenues were $114 billion in 2011 and forecasted to be $122 billion in 2012 - in each case, up from $103 billion in 2010. The biggest industry segment, contract labor, is forecasted to grow at an annual rate of 7 percent in 2012 with revenues of $94 billion, while permanent placement is forecasted to grow by 12% in 2012 with revenues of $6 billion.  Within the contract help segment, professional staffing is expected to grow at an annual rate of 10 percent in 2012 to revenues of $51 billion. The temporary staffing (a.k.a. contract labor) industry is historically cyclical and typically has a strong correlation to employment and GDP growth. Within the healthcare staffing segment, approximately 77.6 million Baby Boomers will be a driving force in hospital census and healthcare delivery for the next 20 years. The delivery of healthcare will continue to expand in the U.S. but the nature of its payment may change.

Healthcare Reform

In March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (collectively, The Acts) was signed into law for the U.S.  The Acts represents comprehensive healthcare reform legislation that, in addition to other provisions, it requires employers provide healthcare coverage to temporary employees in the United States or incur penalties. Although this cost may be passed on to clients, there can be no assurance that firms will be able to increase client bill rates in a sufficient amount to cover the increased costs. This could reduce margins and negatively impact the industry. The jury for this legislation is figuratively and literally still out, as the Supreme Court is currently wrestling with the constitutionality of the law and may strike down part or all of the law in its entirety.  

Stay tuned for a clearer picture of this situation as it unfolds.  What do you think the future has in store?

Tags: healthcare staffing industry, healthcare reform, medical staffing

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