BidShift uses Saas to right nursing shortage

Open shifts are posted by the nurses' staffing office. Nurses join free and enter their skills and competencies, with management approval

Graham Barnes, CEO, BidShiftEvery trade show I attend features little gems, and HIMSS 2008 is no exception.

One such gem is BidShift, which is tucked behind the giant Cerner booth. It's Software as a Service (SaaS) applied to the nursing shortage.

Here's how CEO Graham Barnes (right) explained it. For about $30 per bed per month a hospital gets a customized Web site through which their nurses can swap work shifts.

"Open shifts are posted by the nurses' staffing office. Nurses join free and enter their skills and competencies, with management approval." The software can be tweaked to support union rules or management procedures, and each site is branded to the customer.

Sounds simple, but customers report savings of $1-4 million per year, with the cost of scheduling reduced by up to 83%, and nurses wind up volunteering for work outside their home units, which helps with morale as well as leveraging the available talent.

The nurses don't see the BidShift name. Each site is branded to the hospital or group buying the service. "Our goal is to cut hospitals' use of agencies, their use of overtime, and leave more money they can pay into their current system," he said.

There are many directions BidShift can look to for expansion. Only 170 hospitals have signed up so far, just 3% of the total, Barnes said. The system could be expanded to cover radiology, pharmacy, even maintainence workers and doctors.

"We just signed a hospice, doing exclusively home care," he added. The international market has yet to be touched.

With little up-front expense, quick payback, and improved morale, it sounds like a win-win-win. Hopefully HIMSS visitors will poke about the back of the hall.

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