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Empowering Nurses: An Interview with ShiftMed CEO Todd Walrath

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Interview with Todd Walrath, CEO of ShiftMed, at thINc360 Conference

In this insightful interview, ShiftMed CEO Todd Walrath discusses the innovative solutions his company provides to address the nursing shortage and improve healthcare workforce management. With a focus on flexibility and technology, ShiftMed is transforming how healthcare professionals find and manage work. Learn how ShiftMed’s mobile platform is revolutionizing the industry and supporting both nurses and healthcare administrators.

You can view the full video interview here

Key Takeaways

  1. Nursing Shortage: ShiftMed addresses the critical nursing shortage by offering flexible work options through its mobile platform. This flexibility helps retain nurses in the workforce.
  2. Technology Integration: ShiftMed integrates with major scheduling tools like Workday and Kronos, streamlining the process for healthcare providers. This technology ensures shifts are filled quickly and efficiently.
  3. Training and Upskilling: The platform provides training and upskilling opportunities, helping healthcare workers advance their careers. This includes learning management systems and hands-on experience in various healthcare environments.
  4. Improved Workforce Management: By offering hospitals and healthcare administrators their own branded apps and credentialing systems, ShiftMed enhances workforce management. This results in faster onboarding and better shift coverage.

Exploring ShiftMed’s Impact on Healthcare Workforce Management

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“Thanks for watching. I’m Mabel Jong, and I’m sitting here now with Todd Walrath, who is the founder and CEO of ShiftMed. So nice to meet you, Todd.

Todd Walrath:

Thank you for having me.

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

Well, tell me about ShiftMed. I originally thought it only helped nursing personnel, but you actually have quite a list of healthcare professionals you work with.”

Todd Walrath:

“Sure, we work across the whole healthcare spectrum, from in-home to post-acute to large health systems. We have about 350,000 nurses in 40 states across the country on our mobile platform right now who are looking for additional work opportunities, mostly in the form of shifts that they can either add to their square job or just work part-time.

We arrange the full spectrum of workers, from front-line CNAs, medical assistants, all the way up to sub-specialties in a health system—ICU, emergency room, surgery, etc.”

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“And you founded this company?”

Todd Walrath:

“I did.”

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:


Todd Walrath:

“Well, I’ve been in healthcare for about 15 years now. I had a company that was focused on the post-acute space, mostly assisted living and things like that.

Every company, every person I worked with over the first part of my journey was saying how hard it was to keep talent, how hard it was to find talent. I wanted to work with mobile technology, finding a solution for the availability of that workforce, and that’s what the early trappings of ShiftMed became.”

How ShiftMed’s Mobile App Revolutionizes Healthcare Staffing

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“Terrific. So it’s a mobile app. How does it work?”

Todd Walrath:

“Well, it’s two things. To put it in hospital system terms, it’s an on-demand VMS. Post-acute and acute players can enter their needs into our software platform.

If they work with a major scheduling tool like Workday, Kronos, or PeopleSoft, we actually take the shifts directly out of their schedule and put them into our mobile app, so they don’t have to enter them.

Then we’re going to present those shifts to locally, fully credentialed, experienced workers in the geographies that are within a normal distance from that particular provider.

They raise their hand to work the shift. If there’s an orientation, a preceptor, or LMS before that, we make sure all that happens. Eighty-five percent of the workers are returning workers, so it’s the same workers coming back over and over again. It’s not Uber where you get a different driver every time.

It’s great for the worker because they get paid five minutes after their shift directly into their bank account. They’re not under pressure to work any specific amount of shifts.

It’s perfect for an industry that’s dominated by women who may have other things pulling at their time, such as taking care of their parents, taking care of their children, etc.

For people who may want to get away from the bedside, it provides them that balance between working 60 hours or not working at all. Now there’s a middle ground where you can work a few days a week, a few shifts a month, keep your credentials current, and see what the future holds for you. So that’s really the segment that we’re addressing.”

Addressing the Nursing Shortage with Flexibility and Up-skilling

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“Right now we’re looking at a pretty dramatic nursing shortage. How are platforms like ShiftMed addressing that?”

Todd Walrath:

“Well, really in two ways. Our most recent state of nursing survey says about 48 percent of the nurses are thinking about leaving the nursing field in the next two years, which is alarming because there’s already a shortage.

This includes brand new nurses who just graduated from school. Nursing has been a caste system for 40 years. The new nurses work the graveyard shifts and weekends.

With so many options for nurses today, they don’t really have to tolerate that caste system anymore. What we’re seeking to do is provide them the flexibility that they’re seeking.

That’s one piece that’s very important. Also, we’re dedicated to training and upskilling those workers within our platform. We have a whole learning management system.

We provide all the orientations, the classroom work, if you will. Then we can drop them into our more than 2,000 client environments to get the hands-on experience they need.

They’re investing in themselves. If an LPN wants to become an RN, if an RN wants to become a nurse practitioner, if a CNA wants to become a certified medical tech or certified medical assistant, we can provide that training within our platform to keep them tied to the industry and keep people working so that we have enough people to take care of the burgeoning number of patients that need care every day.”

Evolving Post-Acute Care Landscape: Balancing Costs and Patient Outcomes

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“What does the post-acute care picture look like today, and how has it changed since you first were involved in healthcare?”

Todd Walrath:

“If you think of it from an economic perspective, hospitals are the most expensive place to take care of a patient. Skilled nursing is less expensive but still very expensive.

In-home care is less expensive and has greater outcomes because people get well faster at home, but there’s less technology and oversight in the home.

What’s happening is we’re really trying to balance these three things against each other from an economic standpoint. We’re seeing more technology go into the home, more services that deliver services in the home—SNF at home, hospital at home.

These are big trends. The middle segment, skilled nursing, is really always determined by the reimbursement models that exist within CMS.

We’ve had a lot of changes over the last few years with PMPM and a focus more on nursing versus therapy and physical therapy. I think those changes are probably overall good for the industry, but hard for the providers to absorb in the short term.

They still provide an important function for that step down from the expensive hospital bed that we’re trying to free up always. These are some of the factors that are vying for the dollars and for the best route to each individual patient’s care.”

Leveraging Technology to Bring Hospital-Level Care into the Home

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“What do you mean by bringing technology into the home?”

Todd Walrath:

“Obviously, when you’re in a hospital, you’re hearing lots of beeping equipment and there’s constant oversight. How do you replicate things like that within a home environment?

It could be specific monitoring technologies for in-home patient monitoring, certain equipment that a professional nurse or even a doctor might bring into your home to monitor you or give you tests within a home environment. Then there’s the technology that drives a company like ShiftMed.

For example, when I meet with hospital CEOs, I say, ‘How many of your nurses can pick up a shift between 10 pm and midnight?’ That’s the most popular time slot for our nurses to grab a shift.

After they put their kids to bed or after they’ve finished their day, they might be planning out the next week or two. They can log in, see what’s available, and claim those shifts.

If that’s on a clipboard or a whiteboard on a unit in a hospital, it’s less flexible, less opportunity. Hospital workers are interested. Our biggest segment is workers that already have a job but want to pick up extra shifts.

Some of those people already work for you if you’re a hospital administrator. Can you get 10 or 15 percent of your own shifts picked up by those workers before paying a premium to an agency in that situation, like a traveling company?”

Enhancing Nurse Onboarding and Credentialing with ShiftMed

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“Your platform helps nurses, but does it also have a pretty big client base in hospital administrators?”

Todd Walrath:

“Yes, so we do two things. After we created ShiftMed, a lot of the hospital administrators said, ‘I want my own ShiftMed. How are you managing 300,000 workers a quarter on a platform? I’ve got 100,000 workers if I’m Hospital Corporation of America.

Can I use a mobile app or a cloud-based credentialing system to provide my workers a better experience?’ So we took our software, and we now allow our clients to have their own branded mobile app and their own onboard credentialing.

The average hospital probably has a 40-day onboarding process for a new nurse. Ours is about half of that. Can we deliver that technology to them so they can have more control and get a nurse working faster? It’s not fun for a nurse to say, ‘Okay, I just graduated school.

I want to start working next week,’ and they say, ‘Well, the first we can get you in here is August 7th.’ You’re thinking, ‘Okay, what am I going to do for the next six weeks as a recently graduated nurse?'”

thINc360: Bridging Healthcare Innovation

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“Are you reaching the kinds of people that you had hoped to by attending thINc360?

Todd Walrath:

“Yes. There are certainly no shortages of healthcare conferences out there, but sometimes when you’re just meeting with providers—providers are great at making sick patients well, but they aren’t necessarily great at coming up with the next technology that they should use to run their business.

I personally think that you’re always doing it in partnership with them, but a lot of the solutions are going to come from outside the healthcare industry, whether it’s artificial intelligence, mobile, new algorithms to predict future needs.

We’re now looking into the future based on the last few years of demand, and we can say, ‘Well, on Mother’s Day over the last three years, here’s what you needed, so we’re going to forecast that you need this much based on some science and things like that.’

What I like about this conference is that you have a lot of different disciplines. It’s not just providers, it’s really innovators here. When you get the best ideas, you have the most diverse group of people thinking about it.

Most hospitals have been working on this problem for 10 years now, the labor shortage. If you ask them, ‘Are you halfway solved? Are you three-quarters of the way solved?’ they’re not very far along, even after putting substantial resources behind it.

I think the solution is going to come from maybe applying other successes into that healthcare environment and give us a higher chance of succeeding.

I think ShiftMed is providing its own piece of that story on our journey. We’ve been able to help so many nurses stay engaged with the work and work when they want to, and that helps hospitals solve a really important piece of the Rubik’s Cube for them.”

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“Todd Walrath, thank you so much for your time today. Appreciate it.”

Todd Walrath:

“Thank you.”

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“And I’m Mabel Jong. Thanks for watching.”

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