Mercy Health Implements Uber-like System for Nursing Staff

The pandemic has forced organizations to rethink their workforce strategies, including Mercy Health’s HR team. They realized they needed to modernize their technology infrastructure and support the introduction of part-time contract “gig” nurses. Mercy executives have coined this move the “Uberification” of the nursing staff.

Mercy Health is among the 25 largest healthcare systems in the United States, spanning Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Before the pandemic, they were already struggling to recruit nurses, and the surge of COVID-19 cases exacerbated the problem. This situation increased the need to add more nurses to their workforce, providing nurses with more flexibility.

To meet this need, Mercy designed a cloud-based platform called Mercy Works on Her Demand (MWOD). This app helps nurses choose when and where to work as gig workers. Through MWOD, certified nurses employed by Mercy can choose to work in hospitals for as little as two hours up to eight hours. MWOD’s launch in April 2022 managed 1,187 gig nurses, of which 50% were rehired.

Since the pandemic began, the number of nurses moving into gig work has increased by 1,400 percent. One of Mercy’s efforts is to encourage former full-time nurses to re-enter the workforce as gig nurses. Nurses plan to change careers and work outside of the medicine if possible. “Nurses are predominantly female, and many nurses crave the opportunity to care for children,” says Kathy Endeles, Senior Vice President, Research, and Principal Healthcare Industry Analyst at The Josh Barthin Company.

MWOD is a platform that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to recognize the experience, competencies, and qualifications of each nurse. It tracks nurses’ shifts, working hours, and specific specialties to alert the right nurse when a shift becomes available. This feature ensures the right nurses are sent to the right departments to ensure quality patient care.

The MWOD platform also includes text messaging capabilities and integration with Mercy’s applicant tracking system (iCIMS) and staffing and scheduling system for gig worker applications. Gig workers can see their schedules and move in and out of shifts using UKG Dimensions’ timekeeping, staffing, and scheduling system. According to Tracey Grimshaw, Mercy’s chief people and organizational effectiveness officer, they get paid through Workday’s payroll management system.

Mercy’s HR team and IT team worked together on the MWOD platform to ensure easy-to-use, technical tools to help gig nurses get involved in the health system. Through their collaboration, they standardized the platform and built more transparency about contract workers using Workday. Mercy’s HR team consulted with nursing leaders to establish gig worker pay rates, standard definitions of gig workers, and how they can utilize gig workers.

Nicole Lewis, a Miami-based freelance journalist, highlighted how Mercy’s new strategy attracted more nursing talent and made it easier to compete in an incredibly tough workforce. Overall, Mercy’s MWOD platform has brought flexibility, autonomy, and quality patient care to their healthcare system.

Leave a Reply