It’s summer and it’s a hot one out there! And I’m not just speaking of Gwen Darling’s recent move to the capital of hot days Tulsa, OK; I’m talking about the Healthcare IT consulting market. Phew it’s hot out there! For proof, just check out the jobs listed at HealthcareITCentral.com. These babies are updated daily and there are loads and loads of them, too. Thanks to ARRA, hospitals, clinics and the like are looking for consultants to help them implement EMRs. Good time to be an EMR consultant if you ask me, and I’m kicking myself over that Economics major in college. Why didn’t I pick IT?!
To sum, there are lots of EMR jobs out there and as it seems, not enough consultants to fill them. Classic supply and demand dilemma – ok, Economics wasn’t so bad after all. So how does a hospital find the people they need to get the job done? Most hire consulting and staff augmentation vendors, though with varying success. The following are common vendor management problems and my recommendations for how to successfully manage your resources.
“The more vendors you hire, the more people you’ll get” is a misnomer. I recently had a conversation with a client who said, “I have gotten the same person from four different vendors.” This person also questioned how he could tell which vendor actually had the candidate’s permission to send over their resume and who even asked the candidate if they had already been presented. That’s frustrating for the client and the candidate because nobody wants to get into the middle of a vendor squabble.
I worked with a client in the past that contracted with over 200 staffing resources. 200! Working with so many vendors diminished the reputation of their project. If you’ll remember, EMR consultants are in short supply, so your vendors are all recruiting in the same pool of people. When 15 recruiters call the same consultant, the consultant naturally questions why the hospital can’t find consultants as well as just gets irritated by all the calls and emails about the same project. Some of the consultants I work with have created new email accounts because their inboxes were overrun with recruiting emails.
On the other hand, using just one vendor isn’t going to get the job done either. There’s so great a need for people out there that tapping into multiple pipelines and networks is a good idea. When you have an immediate and critical need for resources, you definitely want to maximize your chances of the finding the right candidate.
Give yourself and your vendors some lead time, too. Don’t wait until the last minute to find your consultants because in the tight market, the chances of finding someone with immediate availability are low. Send out your request at least a month in advance to account for resourcing and interviewing time as well as accommodating for a two weeks’ notice if your consultant will be leaving another employer.
I suggest to all healthcare organizations managing consultant resources through vendors is to find a balance between not enough and too many vendors. Using three to four preferred and trusted resources is ideal. Meet with each consulting firm to build a trustful relationship and ask them about how they find their people and what questions they ask them to ensure your consultants are giving firms permission to represent them. Be picky and find vendors that will commit to finding you the right people. You and your vendors will be more successful together. Now doesn’t that sound like a hot prospect?