Healthcare Needs Entrepreneurs to Save Itself

by Jeff Richards

When thinking of modern healthcare technology, it’s natural to focus on the gleaming, state-of-the art machines and devices that allow clinicians to explore, heal and treat the body in ways that we never imagined even a few years ago. However, while that’s accurate for medical equipment, it’s not the case for much of the rest of healthcare.

Outside of operating rooms, labs and patient rooms, our average healthcare system still relies largely on phone calls, faxes and paper to manage day-to-day operations. Based on my experience as a clinician, hospital administrator and entrepreneur, I’d estimate that healthcare overall lags other consumer-facing industries by five to 10 years in its adoption of new technology. It’s inefficient, harmful to our healthcare system and no longer sustainable. 

That tardiness in adopting new technology is what led us to launch SnapNurse, a platform that solves healthcare staffing gaps by matching quality nurses and medical professionals with employment opportunities throughout the healthcare industry.

SnapNurse wasn’t the first nurse staffing business, but it became the fastest-growing because it shed the cumbersome model that positioned an agency as a slow, inefficient connector between nurses and the companies that wanted to hire them. SnapNurse lets nurses and other clinicians sign up for themselves and upload their job preferences while making it possible for hospitals and clinics to fill their staffing needs faster than ever before. 

The response to this new model was electric. We were named Inc. 5000’s 2022 fastest-growing healthcare company and have deployed more than 20,000 clinicians to 1,000-plus healthcare facilities across the country. Fifty to 100 new clinicians sign up every day.

SnapNurse is headquartered in Atlanta, but opened a second office in Scottsdale in 2021 where most of our executive team and more than 100 staff now reside. That was the result of a 2020 investment from Phoenix-based Pivotal Group that has allowed us to add the necessary resources to continue to grow. We’re grateful to them for believing in us. 

The success of SnapNurse demonstrates the need for healthcare to make better use of technology in such areas as staffing, recruiting, perioperative solutions, process automation and more. Much of the needed tech already has proven itself in other industries; it simply needs to be adapted for healthcare.

The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare many of the problems plaguing healthcare staffing: not enough workers, ever-increasing demands on their time and energy, and too many manual tasks and inefficient processes that prevent clinicians from working at the top of their licenses. 

Nurses bear the brunt of these problems. This country loves its nurses. They were hailed as front-line heroes during the pandemic and the public regularly rates them as having the highest honesty and ethics of medical professionals. But they and other clinicians are quitting in record numbers due to burnout, overwork, low pay and inflexible schedules. McKinsey & Co. estimated that the country could be short 450,000 nurses by 2025. That would be disastrous.

SnapNurse is helping to keep clinicians in the field, but more needs to be done. I hope our success will inspire other entrepreneurs. Healthcare is not the easiest field in which to launch a business. It’s complex and highly regulated, but it’s also ripe with opportunity and our failing healthcare system desperately needs the help.

Jeff Richards is chief development officer and operation officer of SnapNurse, and has been a leading voice in the industry on how to use technology to streamline staffing services and bring more work-life balance to clinical professionals

Richards has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida, a Master of Medical Science from Emory University and, most recently, his MBA from Kennesaw State University. Prior to co-founding SnapNurse, Richards was the department director and chief anesthetist at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

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