It’s Time for Staffing Agencies to Start Taking Quality Seriously

Lynn Barry, director of clinical quality and compliance at IntelyCare

Lynn Barry, director of clinical quality and compliance at IntelyCare

Quality Assurance (QA) refers to the identification, assessment, correction, and monitoring of all aspects of patient care. It is designed to improve the quality of care provided to patients, improve nursing workflows, and prevent recurrences of errors or harm. While ensuring Quality Assurance for post-acute care nursing professionals is essential for improving patient care, proper QA processes among staffing agencies are sorely lacking.

Staffing agencies regularly provide nursing staff to partnering facilities. Employing agency staff can assist in offsetting staffing shortages, but little is known about QA for staffing agencies in post-acute care settings. This can be a scary thing for facilities, which often have zero insight into how staffing agencies are vetting and overseeing the staff being sent to their building.

So, how should staffing agencies ensure employee quality and responsibly follow up with facilities about their concerns?

Providing clients with clinically competent and professional nurses and aides to assist them with resident care has to be paramount for staffing agencies. As a workforce management provider, we at IntelyCare encourage staffing agencies to take this goal as seriously as we do. We work with our clients to continually educate and improve upon the care our staff provides.

Agencies need to have their employees under a microscope, assessing quality after each shift worked. At IntelyCare, we use a Five Star Employee rating scale so that our clients can assess individual performance. We also compile data around shift completion, tardiness, and episodes of no-call no-shows. This feedback not only contributes to the employee’s yearly performance review, it also helps us to proactively reach out and provide support to our nursing professionals when we see ratings or attendance issues that do not meet our standards as an employer.

Below are the metrics we use to define a Five Star Employee.

(Metrics) Five Star Employee

Conducting a Risk Assessment of Your Staffing agency

Michelle-Hockman, clinical nurse manager on IntelyCare's Quality Team

Michelle Hockman, clinical nurse manager on IntelyCare’s Quality Team

Post-acute care facilities need to look closely at the staffing agencies they’re working with to determine if their clinical quality and assurance processes are reputable if they even exist at all.

The following are helpful areas to assess:

  1. Staffing: Includes leadership and management
  2. Perception of quality throughout the organization
  3. Training and education received and/or needed
  4. Types of clinical and professional complaints and allegations received
  5. Safety reporting system used and its compliance with HIPPA
  6. Workflows
  7. Operational and information technology assistance available
  8. Existence of performance improvement plans for clinical staff
  9. Policies and procedures currently in place
  10. Human resources and legal support.

We did this same exercise when building our Clinical Quality and Assurance team at IntelyCare, with the goal of not only addressing our facility partners’ concerns but continually improving the quality of the nursing professionals who serve them.

Interested in learning more about Quality Assurance? In part two of this series, we’ll explore how staffing agencies can build their own internal processes for improving the quality of care per diem nursing professionals provide.

Topics: Administration , Clinical , Facility management , Featured Articles , Information Technology , Policy , Resident Care , Staffing , Technology & IT , Training