Janna Westbrook, Tiffany Davis, and Terry Williams are three nurses who decided to create a solution to decrease staffing costs for healthcare facilities. The entrepreneurs quit their jobs and started Provider Pool in August 2018.
Silicon Prairie News met with Ms. Westbrook at the tech incubator, T-REX, where the three co-founders have been building their company with the support of T-REX, IT Entrepreneur Network (ITEN) and Brazen St. Louis, a community that encourages women entrepreneurs with resources and best practice tools.
Ms. Westbrook said the idea to innovate in healthcare staffing came about while she was working as a director of nursing in a long-term care facility. The facility needed a specialized nurse, but the cost was $30,000 for six weeks. She found that facilities can spend as much as $300,000 a month on healthcare staffing agencies.
According to Ms. Westbrook, staffing agencies can have markups as high as 280 percent, and recruiters can charge as much as 30 percent commission, creating a costly situation for healthcare facilities. She noted that while there are many advantages for facilities in using a staffing agency, she wanted to create a means of access to those advantages without the high cost.
Ms. Westbrook and her co-founders created Provider Pool to create more affordability, convenience, and efficiency in healthcare staffing. The Provider Pool is a double-sided platform. Professionals upload their information and their cost per hour. Healthcare facilities select the title of the professional they seek, and the timeframe for which they need staffing, and the facility and professionals are matched. Information available to the facility provided by the health care professionals may include professional liability coverage status, immunizations, and a resume or curriculum vitae.
Health care professions represented on the Provider Pool platform include nursing and nurse practitioners, allied health, locum tenens, physicians, and physician assistants. Facilities pay Provider Pool $1 per hour of contracted services, so Provider Pool charges $12 for a nurse’s 12-hour work shift, for example. Healthcare professionals are charged six percent commission.
Ms. Westbrook said her team is moving quickly as it builds its pool of healthcare professionals and partners with more facilities. The founders hope to take their platform to market in January 2018. Ms. Westbrook said that Provider Pool can save facilities as much as 80 percent, and can staff any healthcare professional needed. The company is next looking to market to healthcare schools and colleges.
When asked what advice she would give to other entrepreneurs starting out, Ms. Westbrook said, “Most entrepreneurs think they need all this capital to get started, but they just need to get traction, and show the solution is needed to solve a problem. Have faith in and support the small businesses and startups in your own ecosystem. There are brilliant people right in your backyard.”
Visit Provider Pool’s website to read more about this company: https://www.providerpool.org/.