A facility recently called asking, “Why can’t you please send me some profiles right now? We have to have a nurse?”

A hospital we served had a need that was urgent. The Right Solutions had a nurse that fit the requirements the unit manager needed but we were unable to send the nurse’s profile immediately, as that was strictly prohibited in the contract we had signed under the vendor management contract. It would have been a violation of the contract for the Right Solutions to have honored the unit manager’s request.

Unfortunately this is a difficult position for the agency and the facility. They had a need; we had the solutions, but, contractually, an algorithm had to be followed which was a delay for the unit manager to start sourcing candidates. The impact to her was that she had to work to fill in the staffing shortage.

Why Does a Healthcare Agency Use a Vendor Management Service (VMS)?

Some of America’s leading healthcare facilities chose a Vendor Management Service (VMS) to manage their contingent workers. Top management is sold a “one-stop” concept where the facility deals with only one supplier, rather than the several different agencies they had used previously. The facility is told that they never have to worry about finding top talent to fill their orders house-wide with a multitude of agencies to fill their need.

What are the Downsides to Using a Vendor Management Service (VMS)

Both the facility and the agency are regulated industries that are audited by external reviewers such as the Joint Commission, CLIA, the Hospital Associations, AIG, and a multitude of other auditors. The Vendor Management Service (VMS) does not have any of these constraints, as they are a software management company that has contracted with both the hospital and the agency without regard nor understanding of the standards, policies, and protocols that outside reviewers require from the facility and the agency.

Are the Vendor Management Service (VMS) Customers (Hospitals and Agencies) Satisfied with the Service They Receive?

Data in a 2010 Bersin & Associates report on client satisfaction with VMS system vendors shows that in a 900-plus client sample most respondents are slightly less than somewhat satisfied with their VMS systems. Even worse, with an average experience of only 2.4 years, the same report indicated 40 percent of clients are unsure if they want to renew their contracts.

What Would Improve Satisfaction Between the Hospital and Agency?

VMS vendors should understand the importance of focusing on the long-term value their solutions deliver. They need to make sure their processes, people, and systems align to help drive business impact and not obstruct the client relationships. They should provide client representatives (managed service providers) to facilitate relationships. A guiding principle for success would be to view the relationship with a vendor as a long-term partnership with defined owners, executive involvement on all sides, and a shared understanding of mutual benefits. Creating a shared vision of success requires a certain level of trust and openness. The VMS must be willing to view both the hospital and the agency as true partners, because without either party they do not have a business.

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