Innovation Landscape — Solving Shortages: How Technology Can Help Meet California’s Immediate Health Workforce Needs

Joanne Spetz, Healthforce Center at UCSF
Amy Quan, Healthforce Center at UCSF


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About the Innovation Landscape Series

The Innovation Fund conducts a series of high-level landscape analyses on issues ripe for tech-enabled innovation. The Innovation Landscape Series aims to inform funders and customers in safety-net organizations seeking scalable solutions to meet their challenges.

The health care safety-net system, a patchwork of programs and providers that serve Californians with low incomes, faces unique challenges in recruiting and maintaining its clinical staff due to workforce shortages and inequitable distribution of health care providers across California.

To address these shortages, many health care systems serving patients living on low incomes turn to the temporary workforce to fill their needs. Staffing agencies play an important role in supporting these health care organizations with recruitment, given that many have few resources to maintain a temporary provider pool or a sizeable human resources department. In recent years, technology-enabled staffing services have emerged and addressed some limitations of traditional staffing agencies, including limited transparency and high cost.

Solving Shortages: How Technology Can Help Meet California’s Immediate Health Workforce Needs reviews the barriers to hiring providers in this specific sector of the health care system, the role of the temporary workforce, and the emergence of technology-enabled staffing companies as a potential alternative to traditional staffing agencies. This landscape analysis is intended to inform investors and entrepreneurs invested in or working on these issues to help them understand the unmet needs and opportunities ripe for tech-enabled innovation. It is also intended to help provider organizations encountering these challenges to understand the emerging class of technology solutions that may meet their needs.

Examples of Technology-Enabled Platforms Focused on Nurse, Physician, and Other Provider Recruitment

Readers should note this landscape overview is not intended to be exhaustive, nor is it an endorsement of the companies included. Finally, because solutions landscapes can evolve quickly, this brief may not fully reflect the current market.

This publication reviews the barriers to hiring providers in the health care safety-net system, the role of the temporary workforce, and more workforce shortage alternative solutions. Click To Tweet

Data Snapshot

The publication is accompanied by Solving Shortages: A Snapshot of the Temporary Workforce in California’s Safety-Net Hospitals and Clinics that outlines data on key characteristics of vacancies, perceived recruitment challenges, and hiring of registry and contract providers.

 

About the Authors

Joanne Spetz, PhD, is director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and is a health economist whose fields of specialty are the health care workforce, organization and quality of health care services, and the evaluation of health care policy and programs. She has conducted studies of the registered nurse, nurse practitioner, and long-term care workforces for nearly 30 years.

Amy Quan is a research analyst at Healthforce Center at UCSF and works on a variety of projects related to the health workforce, researching professions such as registered nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, and community health workers. She is a master of public health candidate at UC Berkeley.