By Jeff Gorski
With a projected 12 percent growth rate, registered nurses are in high demand, and that’s especially true for those who specialize in quality improvement and functions fulfilling Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) requirements. Unlike many other nursing specialties, however, the cyclical nature of the responsibilities makes it especially appealing to workers who prefer limited-term temporary contract assignments.
Demand for the top HEDIS nurses heats up toward the end of the calendar year. So why think about it now? Planning ahead and getting an early lead on the best talent can go a long way toward maximizing your crucial HEDIS compliance efforts.
Assess your internal needs
The first step in creating your recruiting strategy is to identify your HEDIS needs, including the project parameters. Even if you’ve previously defined the scope of work, you may need to adjust for shifting requirements implemented for this year. It is also important to make sure you’re up to speed on the performance indicators your organization will be judged on.
Next, review past year performance. Did you meet your objectives? Did you have sufficient staffing, and did your workers achieve their goals? Now’s the time to think about what worked well and what needs improvement so you have plenty of time to course-correct.
Strategies for securing top talent
For insurers, especially those whose internal talent acquisition specialists may struggle with bandwidth, it could be helpful to work with a staffing firm that has a broad network of talent and a firm grasp of the specific parameters for hiring top HEDIS nurses. Your recruiting partner should be prepared to determine the necessary strategy and tactics to achieve your staffing goals.
In the narrow window for hiring HEDIS nurses, timing can be critical. Although the majority of HEDIS nurses don’t begin work until January, you should think about a schedule that allows you to confirm your preferred candidates by August or September. That will give you a head start on the competition, all of whom will be looking at the same pool of talent as you are. Insurers that are late to the game may find that their preferred candidates have all accepted other assignments.
Another way to lock down the top talent is to consider a longer-term assignment. Look at your workload for November/December. Do you need someone to handle preparation for HEDIS activities? If so, consider hiring a HEDIS nurse early. Offering a longer contract length can be very attractive to the most sought-after candidates, and that could be the edge you need to seal the deal.
Along the same lines, some employers find a need for year-round HEDIS activities, creating a permanent job that will appeal to certain candidates.
What to look for in hiring HEDIS nurses
In addition to having an active nursing license, HEDIS nurses should ideally have experience in medical record review, quality assurance, health information and medical coding. Most hiring managers prefer nurses who worked in the clinical setting for a span of years, giving them a perspective on the information they’re dealing with and a familiarity with patient charts, for instance.
As opposed to a clinical nursing role, HEDIS nurses need to be adept at working with volumes of data and navigating different computer programs. The best candidates are also very systematic and organized, able to keep themselves on task without a lot of direct oversight.
Many HEDIS nurses must have years of nursing experience, and they also often have management expertise. At that point, they have the background and discipline to excel in this field. And they appreciate the autonomy they have in achieving their goals.
Working with a trusted recruitment firm can help you make the most of the time-sensitive opportunity for hiring each season’s HEDIS nurses. Make sure you’re partnering with one that has a deep understanding of the unique needs of HEDIS employers.
Jeff Gorski is Aerotek Director of Strategic Sales.