In the COVID-19 era, many vulnerabilities of healthcare systems of countries all around the world were exposed. Initially during the month of January 2020 when the pandemic had struck only a few regions of China and other countries, the healthcare labor had exited well. But after the following months, the imbalance of nurses and physicians across the states reached a terrifying. With our healthcare professionals at the epicenter, the marathon of tackling COVID-19 has put serious tension, depression and anxiety on our nation as a whole. Even before COVID-19, clinician burnout was a serious problem, but it has only gotten worse in recent months, especially for those working in geographic hotspots. Inadequate healthcare labor was clearly visible during the pandemic when many of the precious doctors and nurses were laid-off in some parts while the other parts were forced to work to their full capacity around the clock resulting in their burnouts. Healthcare staff have found themselves providing care to a vast number of acutely ill patients throughout the world, sometimes with drastically inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies, magnifying their own danger. Some have seen peers become ill and even die, whereas others have been required to ration the care of patients. Several reports among front-line staff have highlighted increased instances of depression , anxiety, insomnia and psychological distress, and some physicians have even taken their own lives. It was due to this the system realized the need for a vertical marketplace for healthcare workers. 

In healthcare, staffing agencies play an important role as they recruit doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers to help balance the supply of healthcare labor during seasonal and geographic demands and needs. However these agencies proved to be insufficient to provide the right amount of healthcare labor in the right places due to the scale of the pandemic. This was due to their outdated tools and processes.Staffing department recruiters make phone calls and send emails to connect with clinicians who are often irritated by uncomfortable and unexpected demands. However, when we encounter unexpected unforeseen spikes in various geographic areas such as those in the previous six months, these techniques were not fast enough.

Another reason for the scarcity of nurses was the license regulations. Nurse licvertical marketplace

nurseencing is done state-by-state, creating barriers that prevent nurses from operating in states in which they are not licenced. To encourage a quicker response, better clinician experience and more accurate matching, we need to step beyond the old-fashioned staffing agency model.

The solution is vertical marketplace for healthcare labor

A vertical marketplace for healthcare labor will include systematic and software-centric models where Doctors, nurses, Clinicians, pharmacists and other healthcare workers will see all available jobs that fulfil their talents and expertise, along with salaries and other work specifics, rather than scouring the job boards for specific hospitals or receiving calls from recruiters. Without being flooded with phone calls or emails, they can search the marketplace when it is convenient. Prime examples of such marketplace that are emerging in this COVID-19 era are Trusted Health and Nomad Health . The power of the internet is used by these markets to connect supply to demand. Clinicians make up the supply in the case of these healthcare labor markets, while hospitals and other medical services make up the demand.

As they wish, clinicians will use the markets to come in and out of the labor pool. Until burnout sets in, this helps to minimize tension and improve work-life balance. Some nurses may choose to take advantage of the market and travel to Florida in the winter to support the snowbirds, while others may choose to take the summer off and work through the flu season. Through better allocating their labour to geographies and hospitals that need them, the marketplace often provides financial resources for underutilized clinicians. Hospitals and other providers benefit from these cloud-based, easy-to-use markets that enable them to rapidly expand capacity when they most need it. A more commonly embraced vertical labour marketplace for healthcare employees , in addition to all the other advantages mentioned above, would offer relief to hospitals by moving a greater portion of clinician labour from a fixed cost to a variable cost. A smaller number of permanent staff and a greater number of temporary contracted workers will be essential for hospitals. Hospitals will use less contingent practitioners as demand declines. They might tap into the marketplace to put in more ability as demand increases.

We can strengthen not only our healthcare system and the quality of life of clinicians, but also the bottom line of our hospitals by leveraging the technology and marketplace model that has made so many other industries successful. Let’s galvanize and use the mutual distress that COVID-19 has generated to pioneer a more sustainable model for all.