2020 was a tough year. I feel the same as I’m sure many of you do – happy to have simply survived the worst year of my lifetime, and looking forward to a better 2021 and beyond. Inherent in that hope though is an unspoken fear – what if things don’t “return to normal?” And so, as I’m sure you have been too, I’ve been asking myself what I can do to ensure that 2020 isn’t repeated.
At LocumsMart, we’ve been asking ourselves a different version of the same question – how can we help our customers derive more value from their LocumsMart membership? What can LocumsMart do to make sure that 2021 is a much better year than 2020 for our members? From the very beginning, LocumsMart’s mission has been to save our members – both HCOs and Vendors – time and money. LocumsMart is all about continuous efficiency gain, and in a time where the business environment is uncertain, we can do a lot to help our HCO and Vendor Members just by focusing on helping them find ways to do more with less.
However, efficiency and productivity gains take time to create value for an organization, and 2020 taught us all that we don’t always have time to prepare for a downturn. So we asked ourselves if there was anything we could do to provide more immediate value. Under the premise that lower labor costs equate to immediate ROI gains, we started by asking – what aspects of LocumsMart do Vendors tell us require the most labor and/or time? Here are the top 3:
1.“Double-keying” information between LocumsMart and internal systems
2. The need to Affirm No Work to avoid Missing Invoice Fees (MIFs)
3. Reconciling credits/charges is overly difficult and time consuming
LocumsMart has a plan to reduce the labor our Vendor Members have to expend on each of the above 3 issues. Here’s a peek at some of the exciting changes we are planning for the second half of 2021:
A new Vendor API will reduce the need for manual data entry, and lower Vendors’ labor costs
We recognize that much of the information you provide to LocumsMart is already housed in your internal systems, and it takes time to duplicate that information in our platform. In an effort to help you be more efficient, while still providing us with the information we need, we will be offering all Vendor Members access to a new, back-office focused API. An API allows two different software systems to share information with each other directly, which saves time both during the initial data load, and on the back end, by eliminating the human error factor that is an inherent part of any manual data entry process. Via the LocumsMart Vendor API, you will be able to push information directly from your internal systems and will no longer need to spend time “double-keying” the same info into LocumsMart.
There is obviously a large cost associated with developing and maintaining an API, but we want you to be successful, and we think an API will help, so we’ve decided to include basic API access for all Vendor Members as a part of your monthly member fee. We want to make sure you don’t just access the API, but that you get as much value from it as possible, so we are also going to include a set amount of technical and product support hours with your membership. Additional fees will apply if Vendors require additional support or wish to utilize the API above normal volume thresholds. While we are still working out the final pricing of the API, we’re offering it for free to early adopters. If you’re interested in using the API as soon as possible, and are willing to provide detailed feedback to LocumsMart on your utilization, please follow up with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remove the need to Affirm No Work by requiring Shift Scheduling
It has been about 2 years since LocumsMart did a “soft launch” of our Shift Scheduling tool. We’ve had a number of Facility Members and Vendor Members begin using the tool on their own, and we’ve made a lot of improvements to the functionality based on their feedback. Shifts are a great way to stay organized and ensure that the Provider, Vendor, and Facility are all on the same page regarding the schedule. Additionally, Members that use the tool report that entering Shifts up-front ultimately saves them a lot of time on the back-end when it comes to TimeSheet and Invoice reconciliation.
More and more Facilities are requiring the use of the LocumsMart Shift Scheduling tool, and we think this creates an opportunity for LocumsMart to eliminate a workflow requirement that Vendors… dislike. The Affirm No Work functionality is a vestige from a time when LocumsMart had no knowledge of whether or not a Provider had been scheduled to work and needed a way to ascertain that information. In a world where LocumsMart has foreknowledge of whether a Provider is scheduled to work, such as if entering Shifts were a required workflow step in LocumsMart, there would be no need to ask Vendors to Affirm No Work. Additionally, making Shifts a required workflow step will result in timelier and more granular data that our HCO and Vendor Members can slice and dice in LocumsMart Analytics.
For all of these reasons, we are working towards full adoption of Shifts by all our Members in 2021, which will allow us to eliminate the disliked Affirm No Work functionality.
Elimination of Missing Invoice Fees and simplification of Credits
We realize how frustrating it is to be hit with a Missing Invoice Fee because you forgot to Affirm No Work for one of your Providers. The good news is that by replacing the Affirm No Work requirement with a requirement to use Shifts, we’ll know whether your Providers are scheduled to work beforehand, and there will no longer be a need to charge Missing Invoice Fees. We understand from many of our Members that it isn’t so much the MIFs themselves that are the problem, but rather the necessity to keep up with MIF Credits to apply to future Booking Fees which is the real accounting nightmare and time-waster. Obviously by eliminating MIFs, we’ll also be able to concurrently eliminate MIF Credits, and we are excited about the immediate time savings this will produce for our Vendor Members’ accounting staff.
In addition to having issues reconciling MIF Credits specifically, we understand that many Vendor Members have issues reconciling Credits more generally. The application of Booking Fee Credits can be opaque and difficult to understand. To help with this issue, LocumsMart is going to be updating our policies to reduce the number of Fee and Credit types and simplify their application. In addition to eliminating MIF Credits, we will also be eliminating Member Fee Credits, as well as sunsetting all unused Credits of any type after one year, which eliminates the need to track credits in perpetuity in case they get used at some point in the future. Finally, in addition to these policy and process changes, LocumsMart is working to add dashboards to Analytics, as well as revising the Charges and Invoices screens in LocumsMart to make it easier to tie credits, charges, and invoices together. In fact, we’ve already started releasing updates to the Charges and Invoices screens, and we are encouraged by the early feedback. These updates should result in immediate time savings for the accounting departments of our Vendor Members.
Continued improvement for all of our Members
We’re excited for these upcoming changes, and we hope they will help you immediately generate more value from your LocumsMart membership. We’ll provide more concrete information as we get closer to rolling out these updates, but if you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.