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Why Scheduling Systems are not Built for Float Pool Management

Efficient contingent labor management is paramount to delivering high-quality patient care and keeping labor costs under control. Many health systems rely on their core scheduling technology to handle the allocation of contingent float pool labor throughout their organization. However, despite how easy it may seem to leverage an existing scheduling system to manage and deploy contingent float pool labor, these systems often struggle to support the complex requirements of an internal resource pool (IRP) program. 


Alternatively, an internal resource pool powered by a transparent, data-driven, and purpose-built technology platform can help healthcare organizations create a competitive advantage—not just through better utilization of their contingent labor, but also through smarter staffing strategies that can reduce contingent labor costs and decrease time-to-fill. 

Scheduling Tools vs. A Purpose-built Internal Resource Pool Technology  

While scheduling software solutions offer automation and efficiency, they often fall short in certain areas, particularly when it comes to managing the complexity of a well-run contingent labor program. While they can effectively manage scheduling for permanent full- and part-time, they struggle with contingent resources that float across multiple hospital locations. Some examples of where scheduling systems fall short: 

“Hunting and Gathering.” When relying on scheduling software, staffing managers often find themselves “hunting and gathering” for nurses who are both available and have the required credentials for open roles, leading to inefficiencies in communication and coordination. As Matt Dane, Regional SVP at Hallmark, notes, “Health systems need technology that can take a specific clinician with certain credentials, competencies, and licensure and automatically match them with upcoming available shifts - or a series of shifts - based on demand. This is a capability that scheduling systems do not possess. A scheduling system may allow you to communicate with nurses via a mobile app to coordinate around an open shift, but this is a simple communication feature and no substitute for a full-featured contingent labor management platform.” 

Not Designed for Multiple Departments. Core scheduling systems are designed to simplify staff management within departments that follow specific scheduling rules. However, they lack the flexibility required to effectively manage float pools that serve the organization beyond just a single location/department. This results in significant inefficiency when attempting to deploy staff as staffing needs change in real-time. Scheduling systems were not designed for this type of dynamic resource deployment. 

Efficiency Over Preferences. Scheduling tools often prioritize efficiency over employee preferences and scope of practice, potentially leading to dissatisfaction and staffing issues. The impersonal approach of these tools can overlook key factors that contribute to staff satisfaction and overall productivity. Effective float pool management demands a platform that aligns organizational needs with employee qualifications and facilitates seamless communication. 

Limited Visibility. Additionally, scheduling systems often lack visibility and transparency, making it difficult to proactively address staffing gaps or anticipate future needs. This can lead to last-minute adjustments and potential disruptions in patient care. A more intuitive system that provides clear insights and smooth coordination across departments is essential for effective staffing management. 

Are you still hunting and gathering for employees? 

A true “internal resource pool,” or float pool, serves as a valuable intermediary between core staff and external contract labor within healthcare systems. It is only by using a purpose-built contingent labor platform that health systems can unlock the complete value that the internal resource pool offers. Unlike the more manual process required when using a scheduling system, which can be time-consuming and inefficient, a contingent labor platform helps automate the deployment of available staff to where they are needed most, connecting your supply and demand needs seamlessly. 

Instead of navigating through the complexities of scheduling software, which may prioritize factors like availability over specific credentials, the contingent labor platform helps ensure that the right resources are deployed each time. Dane mentions, “So many manual inefficient steps occur in a core scheduling platform versus a contingent labor platform that automatically pulls in all your open gaps, matches your available resources, deploys them, and feeds back to all parties which resource they’re going to receive that day/night. This eliminates a ton of time-consuming work that can really hinder the success of the float pool program.” 

This distinction is crucial, as it considers not only staff availability but also their skills, preferences, and work-life balance needs. As Jennifer Reau, VP of Workforce at Hallmark puts it, “A contingent labor platform such as Einstein II from Hallmark goes beyond mere scheduling. It’s a deployment tool that prioritizes matching the right individual with the right role precisely when needed.” 

One significant advantage of a contingent labor platform is its ability to automatically update schedules, alleviating the burden on managers and ensuring real-time accuracy. This eliminates the need for manual hunting and gathering, which can often lead to delays and inefficiencies in staffing management.  

Powered by a contingent labor platform, well-run internal resource pools generate actionable data that can fuel more effective staffing strategies, providing valuable insights into utilization trends, productivity, and overall workforce performance. With an IRP in place, it becomes easy for health systems to flex staff up and down based on census and acuity changes. This enables organizations to better deal with shortages, seasonality, growth and expansion plans, and more – while better meeting organizational needs.  

Ultimately, the cumulative impact of these benefits has a positive impact on the organization’s bottom line. “The health systems we work with use the Hallmark Contingent Labor Platform to dramatically reduce their reliance on contract labor and realize significant premium labor cost savings,” says William Reau, Principal and CRO at Hallmark. “On average, Hallmark customers pay 39% less for labor via their Internal Resource Pools than they would otherwise pay an agency or MSP to fill the same shift.” 

The right solution for contingent labor management 

While scheduling tools may seem like a convenient solution to float pool management, they are not built to deliver the efficiency your team needs to manage an internal resource pool program successfully. Your organization spends millions of dollars on contingent labor; you need the right tool to prioritize efficiency, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness to meet the evolving needs of patients and staff.  

Hallmark Einstein II is built specifically to power a true internal resource pool, emphasizing personalization, teamwork, and flexibility, providing a more effective approach to employee management in healthcare settings. It does not replace your current practices to ensure your staffing needs are met, rather, it supplements it by providing an additional layer of support and seamlessly integrates with your organization’s entire human resources infrastructure. 

Hallmark has helped many healthcare organizations power their internal resource pool. Last year, Hallmark clients like Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System realized savings of 39% on average for premium labor with the help of Hallmark’s contingent labor platform.