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New system to ease staffing crisis in the healthcare sector

As the former chief executive of the Whitfield Clinic, a private hospital in Waterford, Aimée Madden was only too familiar with the staffing problems healthcare managers face every day. She found a huge amount of time was being spent trying to fill rosters in key functions within the hospital with the problem particularly acute in specialist areas such as theatre nursing.

To tackle the problem at Whitfield, Madden set up a group text messaging service to make quick contact with hospital staff when extra shifts needed to be filled. From this small beginning, Madden has gone on to develop and launch CliniShift, a digital platform that enables hospitals to fill vacant shifts at short notice with appropriately qualified clinical staff.

“At present, all hospitals face exactly the same problem all of the time: rosters are created weeks in advance but there are always gaps as staff are not always available. Even when they are, they don’t have any way of finding out if and when their skills are needed outside of their normal roster,” Madden says.

“Today, the standard solution is a ‘ring-around’ to see who is available or turning to an agency to fill the gap. In Ireland and internationally, there is an over-reliance on agency staff which can be a time consuming and costly exercise to manage. For example, the NHS in the UK and HSE here are spending over €4 billion on agency staff between them a year. This practice is also bad for patients as operations get cancelled at the last minute, they do not have a guarantee of suitably qualified staff and there is no continuity of care with so much chopping and changing. In short, the whole process currently being used to find staff is unreliable and costly.”

Private system

CliniShift uses an app and an online tool to match available shifts with a participating hospital’s permanent clinical staff database. It is a private system in that it is hospital-specific and the vacant shifts are only visible to staff already working there. There is no sharing of any data outside the hospital.

“We’ve been described as the ‘Uber of healthcare’ because the platform connects hospital needs directly with clinical staff who are available in real time,” Madden says. “Clinical staff can immediately see where there are shifts available and offer their services, hospitals can fill their gaps in daily rosters with qualified staff, healthcare systems can reduce costs by not having to deal with agencies and not having to cancel operations at short notice and patients get much better healthcare outcomes as they are more likely to be dealing with the same clinician. The platform also empowers nurses and doctors to take control of their schedule and opt in or out of extra shifts as suits them.”

The CliniShift system also tracks the credentials and training records of nurses and doctors to ensure they are up to date and offers extra features such as data analytics that allow healthcare managers to track their use of the platform and to use this information when making staffing decisions. CliniShift operates a SAAS revenue model and hospitals that sign up to the system pay a fee when they book a shift using the platform. There is no cost to staff. The company will also generate revenue from charging a license fee and from providing data-related services.

CliniShift was set up in early 2016 and there are now 10 people working on the project including three fulltime software developers. Investment to date has been in excess of €500,000 (from a private investor) while Enterprise Irelandsupported Madden’s participation in the New Frontiers entrepreneurs’ programme at DIT Hothouse. Employment at CliniShift is expected to rise to 20 people over the next year and the company is about to embark on a funding round to raise a €5 million.

Headhunted

Aimée Madden has been working in the healthcare sector since 2006. She has a Master’s degree in International Business from the Smurfit Business School and an MSc in Healthcare Management from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She spent five years with the Whitfield Clinic before being headhunted by Dutch IT Healthcare company, Performation, to establish its international office in Ireland.

In 2015, she followed in her father’s entrepreneurial footsteps (he was the founder of the 50-bed Whitfield Clinic which also has a University of Pittsburgh accredited cancer treatment centre) and turned her attention to developing CliniShift. She then spent a year working on the specification of the product and ensuring it could be applied right across the healthcare sector.

“I knew the idea worked from my experience at Whitfield where I reduced our spend on agency staff to zero,” Madden says. “It was then a question of developing the functionality and ensuring the product could be scaled and was fit for purpose before we approached any potential customers. We believe there are big opportunities for CliniShift in the US, Australia and UK and we have built everything from scratch in-house in order to ensure that the product is flexible enough to meet their differing requirements. Potential users of the platform include hospitals, nursing homes, large homecare groups, ambulatory centres and clinical staff, but we are starting the roll out with hospitals.”

Trial

The Irish pilot of CliniShift began towards the end of 2016 and the business has been revenue-generating since then. “CliniShift was the first project to be approved through the HSE’s Innovation corridor and we are currently conducting a proof-of-concept trial with the Ireland East Hospital Group in conjunction with the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital,” Madden says.

The company is also at an advanced stage of negotiations with a large hospital group on the East Coast of the United States and expects to begin a pilot there in September. Interest from a number of other US healthcare groups has been behind the company’s recent decision to open an office in Boston.

“While there are numerous recruitment apps and software platforms dedicated to the healthcare sector there is no product delivering what we can offer,” says Madden. “CliniShift is unique in being a bespoke software tool that is aimed at the specific niche of clinical staff for hospitals and healthcare facilities.”

Source: Olive Keogh

Irish Time, 20 July 2017

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/innovation/new-system-to-ease-staffing-crisis-in-the-healthcare-sector-1.3157813

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CliniShift awarded the Best Start Up in Dublin City

Dublin City’s best young entrepreneurs have been announced on 29 November 2017 at the County Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition.  Run by the Local Enterprise Offices, IBYE is supported by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. Now in its 4th year, this year attracted almost 1,500 applications nationwide.

Greg Swift, Head of Enterprise in Dublin City explained: “The search to find Ireland’s best young entrepreneur began in August. The calibre of entries was exceptionally high. The innovation, creativity, passion and determination demonstrated by entrants at the Enterprise Day, Bootcamp and County Final confirms that supporting fledgling businesses has such importance in terms of future enterprise and job creation in Dublin City. The competition enables all participants to broaden their business networks and refine their business acumen.”

Aimee Madden of CliniShift was named winner to the Best Start Up category which was a particularly hard-fought contest.

CEO Aimée Madden of CliniShift awarded the Best Start up in Dublin City 2018

“Each of the winners and runners-up will share in an investment fund of up to €50,000 from the Local Enterprise Office to help grow and develop their business. The 3 category winners go forward to the Regional Finals in Dublin in January. The team in Local Enterprise Office Dublin City will be providing intensive supports between now and then to prepare them for the regional finals and hopefully Dublin City will have a representative at the IBYE National Finals in March.”, concluded Ailish Smyth, IBYE Co-ordinator for Dublin City.

Source:

https://www.businessworld.ie/news/Dublin-City-s-Best-Young-Entrepreneurs–569877.html=

http://www.dublincity.ie/dublin-city%E2%80%99s-best-young-entrepreneurs-announced

 

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Solving the Healthcare Staffing Crisis

In the 21st century, clinical staffing is still an issue in most hospitals, and nurses, doctors, and healthcare assistants are dissatisfied. What if there was an easy way to fix it?

A big complaint from clinical staff about their jobs is the schedule. However, it is not just the tiring late-night shifts or the long hours, it is often the scheduling of those shifts too. The complex process of clinical staffing has continuously given clinical staff and hospitals headaches. Hospitals resort to agencies with the expectation that it will facilitate staff scheduling and communication, but the agencies only make it more complicated. Due to unpredictability, agencies are inefficient at adapting to schedule changes, not to mention they are also quite expensive. There is a disconnect between the hospitals and staff that inhibits finding and filling white space in rosters. This fractured system leads to understaffing which in turn hurts the patients.

Proof of the Problem

Currently, there is a real problem with understaffing in hospitals. The survey report, “Predictive Analytics in Healthcare 2016: Optimizing Nurse Staffing in an Era of Workforce Shortages” developed by Avantas as part of AMN Healthcare, highlights the issues in nurse scheduling and staffing. Nearly half of the nurse managers surveyed said understaffing is a real problem. In addition, 24 percent said they still use paper-based staffing tools. In an overwhelmingly digital age where technology simplifies almost anything, old-fashioned procedures should have faded away a long time ago. These numbers are unacceptable, but they can easily be changed. Hospitals need a way to fix the stress caused by agencies and replace traditional scheduling methods.

The Solution

Luckily, CliniShift has the answer. We provide hospitals with a streamlined software that makes clinical staffing and scheduling easier than ever in two big ways.

  1. Transparency: Our technology platform allows clinical staff to upload their availability and choose which shifts they wish to fill straight from their smartphone or mobile device. Immediate access to a database allows hospital managers to fill open shifts in real time with the click of a button, saving time otherwise spent communicating with agencies. This creation of transparency through CliniShift’s software is something that cannot be found using agencies.
  2. Integrated Communication: Communication is important in every industry, especially healthcare. The CliniShift app also acts as an integrated communication tool that helps facilitate communication between staff and hospitals. This increases the number of permanent staff members taking open shifts. With more shifts filled by existing staff, the cost of agencies is reduced. Agency costs can be unreasonably expensive and unreliable, making this cost saving significant in the long-term.
Butterfly Effect

The impact of our software goes much further than managing shifts at short notice. Staffing the proper number of staff members keeps the staff-to-patient ratio in check, which prevents the nurses, doctors, and healthcare assistants from burning out while providing the best care for patients. After all, it is most important to ensure proper patient safety in any hospital. Engaging clinical staff in their job is a tricky task, and we aim to achieve this by improving schedule management and communication to make life easier for both healthcare providers and staff members.

Find out more about CliniShift’s clinical staffing solutions here.
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