Hospitals Adopt Gig Economy Apps as Nurses Seek Flexible Hours

Hospitals Adopt Gig Economy Apps

Hospitals are reportedly turning to gig economy apps to fill shifts amid a nursing shortage.

This change comes at a time when hospitals continue to struggle with staffing issues after seeing the largest drop in nurse employment in four decades during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Tuesday (April 18).

Among the apps hospitals are adopting are ShiftKey, which lets nurses bid for shifts, and CareRev, which lets hospitals raise and lower their rates for different shifts, according to the report.

These capabilities offered by apps help hospitals meet nurses’ demands for flexible hours, shorter shifts, greater control and higher pay, the report said.

The apps also give hospitals access to a larger labor pool, the ability to adjust rates as needed and an alternative to the more expensive option of using temporary staffing agencies, per the report.

At the same time, hospitals adopting the gig economy model must deal with greater uncertainty around filling shifts and the possibility that nurses will delay accepting a shift until the rate rises as the shift gets nearer while remaining unfilled, according to the report.

This report comes about two months after digital healthcare labor marketplace ShiftMed raised $200 million to expand its national footprint.

The platform connects healthcare providers with licensed nurses, enabling healthcare providers to reduce their operating costs and allowing nurses and aides to have more control over shifts.

“Healthcare providers continue to struggle with access to credentialed workers as patient needs and volume continues to rise,” ShiftMed CEO Todd Walrath said at the time.

COVID-19 dislodged the longtime go-to model of hospitals using staffing agencies, Clipboard Health CEO and founder Wei Deng told PYMNTS Karen Webster in an interview posted in November.

In the post-pandemic environment, digital platforms are leaning into harmonizing the healthcare industry’s complex set of patient, professional and institutional requirements, Deng said at the time.

With a gig marketplace, facilities can enter their shifts and clinicians can pick up the shifts when they need them, Julie Dunphy, who was at the time chief financial officer at Gale Healthcare Solutions, told PYMNTS in an interview posted in April 2022.

“That’s really empowering them,” Dunphy said at the time. “It speaks to the overall demand that we’re seeing in the U.S. for the gig marketplace, the gig economy, and we’re able to provide that to our clinicians.”