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Healthcare Staffing Summit: Q&A with Vault's VP of Healthcare & Staffing

November 15, 2023


Inside the Healthcare Staffing Summit:

A Candid Chat with Our VP of Healthcare and Staffing

At the recent Healthcare Staffing Summit held at the Red Rocks Resort, we had the opportunity to sit down with Sara Hobson, our VP of Healthcare and Staffing, for an in-depth Q&A session. Covering a range of topics, Sara shared her thoughts on ten critical questions. shedding light on everything from AI innovations to the future of the industry. Her perspective on maintaining direct relationships with healthcare providers and the ongoing effort to tackle the complexities of compliance offers invaluable insights. Her responses offer a unique glimpse into the current trends, challenges, and future directions of healthcare staffing.

The Summit truly left me energized and more enthusiastic about the future of healthcare staffing. It's the blend of innovation and human connections that will drive our industry forward.
Sara Hobson
Vice President, Healthcare & Staffing, Vault Workforce Screening

Opening Insights:

Question 1: How was your experience at this year's Healthcare Staffing Summit compared to previous years? 

Sara Hobson: Reflecting on my first Summit six years ago, it's remarkable to witness the growth. Back then, the industry was in a much smaller setting – a tight-knit community with whom you would continually cross paths with. This year, I was struck by the sheer number of attendees and the expansion of the event itself. Despite this growth, the familiarity remains – many key figures who have shaped this industry continue to attend, which adds a sense of continuity. It’s amazing to see familiar faces evolving into leadership roles within different staffing companies. The industry is not just growing in size but also in opportunities, allowing skilled professionals to really blossom, step into leadership roles and really make their mark.

Question 2: What was the highlight of the Healthcare Staffing Summit for you?

Sara Hobson: The biggest highlight for me, without a doubt, was the opportunity to meet people in person. In our current era where so much has shifted to Zoom and remote interactions, being able to sit down and truly be present with someone feels increasingly special. There's a unique value in face-to-face conversations that you just can't replicate virtually. Connecting with people I've previously only spoken to on the phone or seen on a screen – that experience was both refreshing and rewarding. It reminded me of the power of personal connection in our industry.

Trends and Observations: 

Question 3: Were there any notable trends or shifts in the healthcare staffing landscape discussed during the Summit?

Sara Hobson: One of the hottest topics at the Healthcare Staffing Summit was undoubtedly Artificial Intelligence (AI). There was a lot of buzz about how AI is being integrated into staffing companies. The key takeaway is that AI is increasingly used to automate simple tasks, allowing human staff to focus on more substantial work. This shift is not just about efficiency; it's about reallocating human talent to where it's most impactful.


For instance, technologies like Optical Character Recognition (OCR), which we use at Vault Workforce Screening for document indexing, are also being leveraged by other staffing companies for similar or varied purposes. This technology enables us to ensure document completeness and verify the correct individuals are involved, a process that is crucial in compliance screening.


The overarching theme is that AI doesn't replace the human element; rather, it complements it. It's fascinating to see how the industry is progressing from using AI for basic tasks like chatbots to more complex applications, like potentially conducting initial screenings. This innovation is particularly relevant now as companies are looking to manage their spending more efficiently, especially with the increased pay rates for healthcare professionals.


In essence, AI is becoming a tool to create more space for meaningful human interaction and decision-making in healthcare staffing, a trend that I believe will only continue to evolve and become more sophisticated in the years to come.


Vault's Participation at the Healthcare Staffing Summit:

Question 4: How was Vault Workforce Screening received at the Summit? Were there any key takeaways from our participation?

Sara Hobson: Our participation at the Summit was a significant success, particularly in terms of strengthening connections with our existing customers. We had engaging discussions about specific topics, where many attendees spoke highly of how Vault Workforce Screening has supported their integration processes and team efforts.


A central theme that emerged in many conversations was the role of compliance. While compliance is just one aspect of the broader staffing process, its impact is substantial. It was rewarding to see recognition from compliance leaders we work directly with. They acknowledged Vault’s efforts in 'being in the trenches' with them, helping to streamline the challenging processes they face.


Overall, the feedback was affirming. It validated our role in the industry and our approach to tackling complex staffing challenges, especially in compliance. This positive reception at the Summit not only underscores our effectiveness as a gold sponsor exhibitor but also reflects the strong partnerships we’ve built in the healthcare staffing sphere.

Key Summit Conversations:

Question 5: Which conversations or themes stood out to you the most?

Sara Hobson: The Summit was abundant with forward-thinking discussions, but what really stood out was the conversation around the emerging trend of staffing apps. There's a noticeable shift in the industry with a flurry of new applications being launched by different staffing companies. This surge has led to discussions on the next phase for the industry: how to make the staffing process more streamlined for hospitals and healthcare professionals, without overwhelming them with an array of different apps.


A critical topic at these presentation panels was finding a balance – simplifying the staffing process while avoiding the clutter of numerous applications. Although the industry hasn't quite figured it out yet, there's a sense that the next 12 months, we could see significant evolution or disruption, perhaps leading to a more cohesive approach.


Additionally, a recurring theme was the challenge of creating a centralized system for healthcare professionals to manage their compliance items across multiple platforms. There’s a clear need for a unified repository, but it remains a challenge yet to be fully resolved. It makes one ponder the role of API integration in this context and whether it could be a key to simplifying these processes. This ongoing quest to find a central solution for storing compliance items highlights the complexity and the opportunities for innovation within healthcare staffing.

Vault's Position in the Industry:

Question 6: How does Vault's suite of services uniquely address healthcare staffing challenges and differentiate from other organizations?

Sara Hobson: A significant aspect that sets Vault apart in the healthcare staffing industry is our direct relationship with the healthcare providers. This factor is crucial because when issues arise, which they inevitably do, our ability to communicate directly with clinics allows for faster resolution. This approach also provides us with the opportunity to work closely with the providers, to understand and adapt to their needs.


Our conversations at the Summit highlighted this unique advantage. We've noticed a shift in the industry where more companies are looking to simplify the process for healthcare professionals and hospitals. There's a growing realization that a direct relationship with the providers, rather than relying on third-party intermediaries, leads to more efficient issue resolution and better service overall.


We also discussed the evolution of our clinic network. As a company with over 30 years of experience, Vault has continuously expanded and refined our network to ensure we meet the immediate needs of our clients. This extensive network, being over 50% larger than some of our competitors, is a testament to our commitment to providing comprehensive and accessible services.


The takeaway from the Summit is clear: our direct healthcare relationships and substantial clinic network not only distinguish us from others but also significantly enhance the efficiency and reliability of our services for clients.

Looking Ahead:

Question 7: What are your predictions for the healthcare staffing industry in the upcoming year?

Sara Hobson: Looking ahead, the healthcare staffing industry shows encouraging signs of growth. The COVID-19 pandemic brought an unprecedented spike in staffing needs. But even today this doesn't signal a halt in the industry's expansion. We anticipate the industry to stabilize and continue to growth, though likely at a more sustainable pace compared to the COVID spike.


The future of healthcare staffing remains promising. The industry's resilience and adaptability, especially in response to major health crises, highlight its long-term potential. Health systems are evolving, with shifts in how they deploy resources and focus on patient care. This evolution is likely to create new opportunities and demands within healthcare staffing, reinforcing the industry as a vital and dynamic sector.


It's an exciting time to be part of this growth, with innovations and adjustments shaping the future landscape of healthcare staffing.

For the Healthcare Staffing Audience:

Question 8: What's one piece of advice or insight you'd like to share for those not able to attend the conference"

Sara Hobson: For those who couldn’t attend the Summit, my key piece of advice revolves around the theme of resilience. The healthcare staffing industry, like many others, has experienced significant fluctuations over the past year – rapid expansion followed by a period of contraction. This has undoubtedly been challenging, leading to uncertainty and many changes within organizations.


Looking forward, there's a sense of hope for stabilization. The coming year may still present its challenges, but it's expected to be less tumultuous than the last. My message to those in healthcare staffing, particularly compliance leaders and others in the field, is to prepare for this phase of stabilization. While it might not be entirely smooth, it certainly won't be as intense as the rapid changes we've seen recently.


Embrace the transition and use it as an opportunity to find your footing and prepare for more steady growth ahead. The industry is evolving, and this period of stabilization is a key step towards a more sustainable future in healthcare staffing.

Personal Reflections:

Question 9: What's one insight you took away from this year's Healthcare Staffing Summit? 

Sara Hobson: One of my main takeaways from the Healthcare Staffing Summit revolves around the potential of AI in compliance. The conversations about apps and AI were enlightening, and they got me thinking about how these technologies could simplify the compliance process. While the exact path forward with AI in compliance isn’t fully clear yet, there's a sense of optimism and a drive to explore its possibilities.


What's particularly exciting is considering how we at Vault might leverage AI more effectively. The goal is to make the screening process, whether it's background checks or drug testing, less cumbersome for everyone involved. AI has the potential to streamline these processes significantly.


The healthcare staffing industry, including compliance, is complex, and there’s always room for improvement. This Summit has reinforced my belief that AI could play a crucial role in making the candidate experience smoother and the entire process more efficient. It's a challenge, but one that we're eager to embrace and explore further.

Question 10: Final Reflection: The Impact of the Healthcare Staffing Summit

Sara Hobson: The Summit truly left me energized and more enthusiastic about the future of healthcare staffing. Hearing predictions and insights from industry leaders and disruptors provided a fascinating glimpse into what the future might hold. The recurring theme in these 'crystal ball' discussions was the anticipation of a more stable environment in the coming year.

Thanks for reading

Sara Hobson, Vice President of Healthcare and Staffing, Vault Workforce Screening

Connect with Sara on LinkedIn.

The information and opinions expressed are for educational purposes only and are based on current practice, industry related knowledge and business expertise. 

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