Scouting Report-ShiftMed: Addressing the Current and Impending Nursing Shortage
ShiftMed recently raised $45 million in funding from Panoramic Ventures, HealthWorx, Blue Heron Capital, Motley Fool Ventures, and 3TS Capital Partners. ShiftMed is a startup mobile health company that connects medical providers with health care workers. Since its establishment in 2021, ShiftMed’s goal is to connect hospitals, assisted living providers, home-based care agencies, and nursing facilities with nurses looking for available shifts. Due to the current shortage of nurses across the country, the app has been a useful tool to connect doctors with nurses and other home-based healthcare workers. While the Virginia-based company started in 10 markets it has now increased to 56 markets across the United States.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for 1.1 million new RNs by 2022 for expansion and replacement of retirees, and to avoid a nursing shortage.
In 2021, ShiftMed has hired more than 10,000 nurses so far with a combined time of more than 1 million hours caring for patients.
More than 3,600 U.S. health care workers perished in the first year of the pandemic, according to a study by The Guardian and KHN.
The Annual State of Nursing Report showed that almost 50% of US nurses are considering leaving their jobs over the next two years.
In 2014, Todd Walrath had founded HomeCare.com which is a mobile platform that connects care providers to families seeking at-home care services. This later inspired Walrath to start ShiftMed in 2018. Both companies deal with shortages of healthcare workers and earning livable wages. These issues have made it nearly impossible for healthcare facilities to provide quality care for patients. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these issues. Most nurses have left their jobs due to burnout, safety concerns, and the fact that they are not treated well. This leaves many vacant positions in hospitals and other health facilities. ShiftMed works to connect providers with nurses to fill those vacancies.
ShiftMed allows Nurses (CNAs, LPNS, and RNs) to use their smartphones to control their entire work schedule. This includes selecting shifts, rate of pay, managing credentials, and getting paid right after their shift. The app enables families, hospitals, assisted living providers, home-based care agencies, and nursing facilities to reach the maximum amount of staffing while simultaneously giving healthcare professionals an opportunity to make their own schedule with shifts at the time and location of their choosing.
ShiftMed has a national database of nurses across 700 locations in the US with more than 6 million nurses. There are more than 60,000 fully credentialed nurses available everyday to cover shifts at healthcare facilities.
In addition to offering more flexible scheduling, ShiftMed also offers unique payment models that allow nurses to receive their paychecks earlier, giving them added financial independence. For example, ShiftMed offers what are known as Next Day Pay and Guaranteed Shifts. With Next Day Pay, nurses can receive their paycheck the next day instead of waiting until the end of the week. In addition, healthcare workers can work a shift and receive 50% of their gross earnings within 24 hours of their withdrawal request and ShiftMed will even transfer these payments directly to their bank account for free. Through Guaranteed Shifts, nurses will still be paid for the entirety of their shift even if that shift has been canceled by the healthcare facility.
By allowing nurses to pick up shifts at different hospitals, ShiftMed gives nurses the freedom to explore different locations and see which facility and/or organization may be the best fit for them. If a nurse likes a certain location, they can choose to pick up shifts at that location repeatedly which also allows patients to have consistent care with a familiar face. ShiftMed offers flexibility with nurses choosing their own schedules which typically is not found with dedicated nursing shifts at a single facility.
The Big Picture:
The rise of the COVID pandemic led to dramatic surges in infections across the U.S., spikes in hospital utilization, and long hours for overworked nursing and clinical staff. All of this led to a significant increase in burnout among overworked nurses leading to a shortage of nurses and other front-line staff in hospitals. This was compounded during COVID by the lack of PPE and nurses feeling unsafe and unappreciated from the constant pressure and anxiety of having to work in difficult conditions. For example, Michelle Thomas, a registered nurse, and manager of the emergency department at a hospital in Tucson, Arizona, resigned three weeks after reaching her breaking point. As noted in a recent article from NPR entitled, “Hospitals Face A Shortage Of Nurses As COVID Cases Soar”, “There was never a time that we could just kind of take a breath, I hit that point ... I can't do this anymore. I'm so just tapped out." After experiencing less than ideal working conditions and going through emotional turmoil, Thomas, like many other nurses, decided to leave her job. The burden of COVID has only contributed to what already was moving toward a nationwide shortage of nurses in America. Services like ShiftMed that work to connect hospitals, clinics, at-home agencies with nurses looking for both part-time and full-time shifts make the system more flexible. In addition, while staffing services like ShiftMed will not alleviate shortages when the entire healthcare system is overtaxed, when there are sporadic or geographic shortages, services like ShiftMed can help allocate nursing resources to where they are most in demand. Moreover, the convenience of being able to work as much or as little as you want, whenever you want will likely entice nurses who have retired or whose other responsibilities may prevent them from returning to work full time, and it has the potential to alleviate some of the nursing shortage.