Software as an enabler to help solve the staffing crisis in healthcare

Building a Flex Nursing and Physician workforce system through technology is going to be the key lever for health systems if they want to remain safe in terms of adequate numbers of staff for patient care but also to be competitive in the gig economy.

Flexibility is one of the most sought-after offerings in attracting and retaining the nursing workforce. However, the ability to build flexibility into nursing workforce programs is a lot easier said than done due to the complexity of the practice environment. Recent data indicates that the scales of power have shifted, and the employees are now in the driver’s seat with a new set of expectations around flexibility and autonomy regarding their desired way of working. Health care is a leading sector in the great reshuffle, with more than 8% of positions open in health care, just behind hotels and restaurants with 9% open positions.Additionally, the most recent NSI Nursing Solutions report reveals hospitals nationwide are struggling to recruit and retain nursing talent, experiencing an 18.7% RN turnover rate and a 9.9% RN vacancy rate. Medium-sized hospitals face the highest average turnover at 22.9%.Hospitals are facing the biggest hiring and staff retention challenges, and nurse managers are tasked with having to be innovative to try to solve this problem. A flexible nursing workforce ecosystem that is operational, efficient, and consistently meeting staffing needs, while also fulfilling the scheduling needs of the employee is the ultimate goal. From my experience of visiting hospitals around the United States over the past 5 years, the consensus is that nurses are resistant to change especially when it comes to technology implementation. Therefore breaking down these barriers and educating our healthcare professionals about the benefits that technology brings. There are several real concerns for hospitals when it comes to workforce or manpower shortages and unless healthcare leaders start to think strategically about these staff shortages in innovative ways and develop robust contingencies, the future is going to be challenging. Some of the initiatives that CliniShift have introduced into their enterprise software solution and which have added real value to hospitals in the short to medium term are the following;

1. Multisite Feature; the ability for hospital managers who are part of a group of hospitals to swap or share staff with one of their partner hospitals. This is particularly beneficial as the nurse for example will be trained and inducted into that health system’s policies and procedures. This functionality within our software is also very useful because with one click of a button you can target thousands of staff to work or fill one shift whereas before it would take days and a lot of manual efforts such as phone calls or in-person conversations to advertise this open shift.

The swap shift feature; is the next service we added to our platform. This was a really handy feature in the app during Covid so that when one staff member could not make it into work their shift they could send it out over the app to all over employees to pick up and then that staff member works a future shift in return.

3. Automation of Vacation Leave requests; this particular feature was extremely successful, a lot more than we could have ever envisioned. Many hospitals still have notebooks, sheets of paper and very manual ways for staff to apply for vacation or annual leave days off and the inefficient nature of this process made many healthcare staff frustrated and not valued. Introducing this program has been transformative in one of our health systems in particular on the East coast of the US as the Managers were spending weeks of their time trawling through paper requests from staff.

4. Creating your organization’s internal float pool; before staffing software solutions hospitals were very limited in creating their groups of staff or float pools of workers however software platforms like CliniShift this has enabled staffing managers to develop their internal groups of staff by skill set or department.

5. Creating your organization’s internal float pool; before staffing software solutions hospitals were very limited in creating their groups of staff or float pools of workers. However, software platforms like CliniShift have enabled staffing managers to develop their internal groups of staff by skill set or department making their scheduling job much more streamlined.

These are just some of the many features that technology solutions such as CliniShift can offer to hospitals and long terms care facilities to help with the challenges of the great resignation and the shortage of qualified people both in the clinical and non-clinical departments. An interesting initiative which has been trialled, but is in its infancy in Singapore is the onboarding and retraining of non-healthcare personnel from across industries to carry out healthcare roles within hospitals. This is the type of strategic, big-thinking innovation that we as hospital leaders need to start investing our time into.


When it comes to workforce optimization there are some key components to be aware of as hospital leaders as we look to the future; Self-scheduling for staff, handing back the autonomy to the employee to choose the times that they want to work. Shift flexibility is the ability to use technology to create more flexibility within shifts so that they are not so ridged, this will enable more hours to be worked hence reducing the need to rely on external recourses. Shift swapping encourages a more collaborative approach to scheduling instead of the traditional top-down approach. The choice of technology to software provider is a key decision because the technology has to offer interoperability, integration with HR time and attendance systems as well as a very easy-to-use modern design and workflow.