Healthcare staffing is a persistent challenge for many organizations, thanks to increased market competition and a number of other factors. As a result, facilities now rely more heavily on contract, part-time and travel professionals — and vendor management systems (VMS) and managed services providers (MSP) have become preferred methods of managing this type of flexible workforce.
But despite their increasing popularity, significant confusion remains over the nature of these innovations. So what’s the difference between MSP and VMS services, and how can you tell which is right for your facility?
Exploring The Differences Between MSP and VMS
First of all, while there may be some crossover on the benefits they provide, MSP and VMS services are not the same thing. As such, one may be more appropriate for your facility’s specific needs than the other. So, let’s begin by making sure we understand the terms.
Vendor Management System (VMS)
Vendor management systems consolidate all the details of staffing into one software system. This makes it possible for your team to manage everything from a single location — from scheduling and invoicing to performance tracking and reporting. VMS is particularly helpful for facilities that use a variety of agencies and independent contractors, but can be used to manage permanent staff members, too.
What are the benefits of using a VMS? If you work with multiple staffing agencies, independent contractors, travel nurses or other flexible workers, a VMS gives you the benefit of viewing and tracking all the associated expenses from one easy-to-access location. It also serves to automate some otherwise labor-intensive aspects of staffing, like letting agencies know when new candidates are needed.
What makes a great VMS? As with all things, not all vendor management systems are created equally! The best solutions not only help facilities better organize and view their various efforts at workforce management, but they also automate other essential staffing processes, including:
- Tracking the time and expenses related to each worker
- Consolidating all billing pertaining to your contingent workforce
- Creating customized and highly detailed reports
- Managing scheduling and payroll
What’s the bottom line? VMS systems are often used by facilities looking to achieve greater operational efficiencies and reduce unnecessary tasks for their staff. They also provide a clearer idea of the performance of each vendor, so agencies that aren’t delivering as well can be phased out in favor of better options. The result is not only improved efficiency but generally better quality of workers, too.
Managed Services Providers (MSP)
MSPs are customizable solutions that not only empower facilities to better organize the vendors involved with their staffing efforts but also actually source and recruit candidates. These are customizable, scalable programs that go beyond workforce management to include compliance, risk management, EMR/EHR conversion, and other important operational goals.
What are the benefits of using an MSP? From nurses and therapists to administrators and HR professionals, managed services providers help you find and recruit the best possible candidates to meet your staffing needs. They also simplify and optimize the management of those workers, from managing credentialing to creating a consistent onboarding process for all personnel.
What makes a great MSP? MSPs should be fully customizable to meet your specific workforce and operational needs to the fullest extent possible. They should also offer sourcing and recruitment on a nationwide basis to ensure that your labor pool is as big as possible. On top of that, the best partners will also offer:
- Management of credentialing and compliance
- Vendor- and tech-neutral processes to meet any contingency
- Dedicated account managers to ensure seamless implementation and full training for your staff
- A demonstrated ability to continuously improve fill, completion and extension rates
What’s the bottom line? Especially for larger facilities, meeting staffing goals can be a serious challenge. If you don’t have the right hiring personnel and access to a great local labor pool, your fill rates may suffer, and you may struggle to provide the best level of patient care. Partnering with an MSP solves this problem while helping you cut costs and reducing the administrative burden on your permanent staff.
What’s The Difference Between MSP and VMS?
So, what’s the difference between MSP and VMS, and which is right for your organization? An MSP program is more comprehensive than a VMS, not only finding and evaluating candidates but also offering a greater capacity to reduce expenses and improve. A VMS, on the other hand, doesn’t recruit workers, but instead gives you the power to better manage the vendors you do use.
As such, VMS programs are generally used by facilities that have the time, ability and desire to handle the process of finding candidates on their own, and that operate in regions with an adequate workforce supply. For organizations that struggle to fill positions or to cope with unpredictable fluctuations in patient demand and utilization, partnering with an MSP is typically the recommended option.
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