Healthcare staffing has long been a big business — and a major spend category for hospitals and healthcare systems.
But are the established staffing models meeting the needs and expectations of healthcare delivery organizations and contingent healthcare professionals? And are there alternatives?
Spend Matters spoke with Manoj Jhaveri, the co-founder and CEO of Cleveland-based Hyr Medical, which aims to leverage lean processes and technology (including blockchain) to provide a lower friction, higher velocity alternative to traditional locum tenens staffing.
Spend Matters: So, in a nutshell, what is Hyr Medical? And why did you start the business?
Manoj Jhaveri: Hyr Medical offers a transparent, online staffing platform that enables physicians and hospitals to directly connect for freelance work. We also provide upfront transparency into rates and practice locations, and we are automating portions of the credentialing process, using blockchain.
Hyr Medical got started after I got to know my first co-founder, Dr. Faris El-Khider, in 2017. Faris had firsthand experience working as a freelance (“locum”) physician and explained that the experience was extremely painful, slow, paper-based and frankly stuck in the 1980s. There was also a lack of transparency. For example, key information like hourly rate and hospital name was not provided upfront, and staffing agencies sought to increase their 40-60% markup on the physician’s rate. We knew that this was a big, hairy, audacious problem (with a massive market size) worth solving, and so Hyr Medical was born! Hyr now includes three additional co-founders (CFO, COO, CSO), four key advisers, five doctors who are regional VP’s and four employees.
What exactly does Hyr Medical do? What are the target markets on the demand and supply sides?
Hyr Medical has developed a two-sided online marketplace that enables locum/freelance physicians — as well as certain advanced practice practitioners (APPs) — and hospital systems, standalone hospitals, urgent care clinics, private practices and medical groups to automatically match and connect with each other for freelance work. Today, most of our current jobs are in the Midwest and Southeast/South USA, and we are starting to expand more now into the East Coast and West Coast. We currently serve a range of different healthcare organizations that include Cleveland Clinic, Miami Jewish Health, Northstar Anesthesia, Rogers Behavioral Health and others.
It was always clear to us solving the staffing problem had to go beyond just enabling matches. It also had to solve the very painful credentialing issue, which is what we are doing. We have deployed Phase 1 of our credentialing solution, in which we utilize some automation and access to key data sources such as CAQH and NPDB. Our current solution is three times faster than the typical staffing agency timelines, which can exceed three months. But we are not stopping there. Our goal is to achieve an almost instantaneous credentialing time by applying lean processes with technology and APIs, and by leveraging blockchain.
Yes, something I found unique about Hyr Medical was what the company was doing with blockchain and credentialing. I know you are working with Axuall. Can you sum up what the relationship with Axuall and where that fits in your overall business model?
Solving the physician credentialing problem is inextricably linked to solving the overall healthcare staffing problem. Our strategic partnership with Axuall is critical to our business success. Axuall is rapidly building a blockchain-based, credentialing commerce network that includes holders, verifiers and subscribers.
That will significantly reduce the waste and redundancy in the current credentials supply chain, including medical professional credentialing. Why verify something like where a physician went to medical school over and over again; instead verify it once and protect it using blockchain technology. We are already engaged in Axuall pilots.
On the demand side, where you are working with healthcare systems, etc., what functions/roles are you finding the business development discussions are happening with? Procurement, HR, COO, line management?
We generally engage with the following roles in the organization for our early informational meetings and software demo: the CEO, Chief Medical Officer, CSO, COO, Chief Innovation Officer, CFO, Director of Physician Recruiting or the Director of the Medical Staff Office. The smaller the organization, the less time is generally spent with the C-Suite, as their time is more limited. Also, with large systems and groups, the CLO and Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) are generally involved, and we usually have to register as a preferred vendor.
What’s your view of the competition? I know there are other healthcare platform players out there, like Nomad Health. Apart from where you are going with blockchain credentialing, what are Hyr Medical’s other differentiators?
Our view is that the market for online healthcare staffing platforms is not a “winner take all” market. We believe that in the Physician/APP space, three to five platforms will ultimately dominate, and we will be one of them. Freelance staffing is a $15 billion market today and will more than double by 2025. Incumbent staffing firms will still remain, but more share will be gained by online platforms like Hyr Medical over time. Direct competitors like Nomad are actually a good thing for Hyr because they will raise the general awareness and adoption of using online platforms for staffing. This is still very new to medical practices today, but an increasing number are getting the advantages and benefits. The market for platforms like ours is definitely expanding.
We think we have a number of other differentiators other than what we are doing with credentialing. We are hyper-focused on physicians and APPs, not on other healthcare professions, such as nursing. We go beyond rate management and focus on getting high quality doctors at high velocity to reduce/eliminate revenue leakage and improve patient throughput. We also think, and hear from our users, that our platform user experience is best in class. Finally, another differentiator will be our quality scorecards, which enable physicians to earn and display “badges” and will also enable physicians to opt in and display ratings and comments from facilities where they have worked.
We’re nearing the end of 2019, what does the future of Hyr Medical look like going forward through 2020?
Based on the traction we’re getting now and what we have planned for 2020, we’re very optimistic. We will be launching our iOS and Android mobile apps which will enable push notifications and alerts, in Q1 2020. In addition, we’ll also be launching our Physician Quality Scorecard. Finally, our integration w/ Axaull will become deeper, and we will complete Phase 2 of our credentialing transformation roadmap by the end of 2020.