How Northwell Chose a Tech Platform to Better Manage Its Contingent Labor Costs


Article appeared on the MedCity News website by Katie Adams

Northwell Health recently adopted a new system to help it better manage its contingent labor expenses — the New York-based health system is implementing Prolucent Health’s workforce platform across its 21 hospitals.

Hospitals across the country continue to battle tight operating margins, a sweeping workforce shortage and high labor costs. To help weather this storm, Northwell Health recently adopted a new system to optimize its workforce management.

The health system, which is the largest one in New York state, is implementing Prolucent Health’s workforce platform, which manages both internal and external labor resources. This means that the startup’s platform will be managing all contingent labor provided by Northwell’s in-house staffing agency and any external third-party staffing agencies.

Northwell’s homegrown staffing agency, which is called FlexStaff, was founded in 2014.

“Our goal with FlexStaff was always to build an agency to reduce our spending on external agencies, improve the quality of our contingent labor and provide on-demand staffing support to improve patient care,” said Carolyn Doyle, vice president at Northwell and CEO of FlexStaff, in a recent interview.

FlexStaff has about 5,000 people in its pool of temporary employees, and they work at Northwell on both per-diem and more long-term assignments. Employees sourced from this agency make up about 90% of Northwell’s temporary workers, Doyle noted.

In addition to FlexStaff, the health system also sources temporary workers from external staffing agencies. While Northwell relies on FlexStaff for the lion’s share of its temporary staffing needs, a single agency can’t be expected to meet all of them, Doyle pointed out. This is especially true when the health system needs temporary workers who are highly specialized in a specific area of care, she added.

By rolling out Prolucent’s platform across all of Northwell’s 21 hospitals, the health system is aiming to give its leaders a way to access real-time information about the contingent labor they have at their care sites and how much money they’re spending on these workers.

“Instead of taking a FlexStaff report and reports from our external agency partners and putting all that information together, Prolucent provides us with a single technology platform. It gives us a holistic view of all of our contingent labor that we have on assignment, as well as all the contingent labor requests that are currently open for the organization,” Doyle explained.

Prolucent will also provide Northwell with information regarding pay rates for temporary hospital workers across the country so that the health system can match its rate to the market standard, as well as help better coordinate open labor requests between FlexStaff and external staffing agencies.

When looking at technology vendors to help it better manage its temporary labor expenses, Northwell “looked at a number of different systems and spoke with a number of organizations,” Doyle said.

Dallas-based Prolucent beat out its competitors because of its vendor-neutral approach, she declared.

“We really wanted a partner that was vendor-neutral — meaning that they’re not a staffing agency — because we’re sharing our information on the platform. It was important to work with an organization that understood the healthcare staffing industry but wasn’t providing staff themselves,” Doyle explained.

She added that Prolucent, which was founded in 2019, has experienced leaders with backgrounds in providing contingent labor services. She also said that the startup’s technology “was very easy to implement and use.”

Photo: Natali_Mis, Getty Images


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