Incredible Health CEO, Iman Abuzeid, recently joined Ellen Pompeo of Grey’s Anatomy, and her co-host Sheena Williams on Ellen’s Instagram series, Healing Healthcare. The series is dedicated to highlighting women and people of color in healthcare leadership positions.
Iman, Ellen, and Sheena discuss how Incredible Health is changing the game in healthcare careers, and the importance of prioritizing a nurse-centric and diverse hiring process. Watch the full conversation on Instagram, or check out the highlights below.
[1:18] Tell us about Incredible Health
Incredible Health is the fastest-growing career platform for healthcare workers in the U.S. today. Hospitals and health systems use our software, our custom matching technology, and our screening technology to hire nurses in permanent roles in 20 days or less.
There’s three key ways we do this.
The first is that the employers apply to the nurses instead of the other way around. As you can imagine, the nurses absolutely love that because they create a profile, they sit back and relax, get interviews from different hospitals, and they get to choose which interviews to accept or decline.
The second is we built a lot of pre-screening and pre-vetting technology. Our software automatically screens these nurse profiles.
Then we have very detailed custom matching algorithms that make sure that nurses are connected to the right employment opportunities.
So for example, let’s say you’re a hospital recruiter at Baylor Scott & White or at Cedars Sinai. You don’t want to see 200 nurses. You want to see 10 that are the exact right fit for you at the time.
The same this if you’re a nurse. If you’re a highly-sought-after ICU nurse, ER nurse, OR nurse, you don’t want to hear from 100 employers. You want to hear from 5 that are the exact right fit for you.
The end result of all of this is that hires happen in in 20 days or less, compared to the industry average of 90 days.
Ultimately we are also saving hospitals and health systems a dramatic amount of money – at least $2 million dollars per facility per year in travel nurse costs, in overtime costs, and it also helps reduce burnout too.
Tired of applying for nursing jobs?
With Incredible Health, hospitals apply to YOU.
[3:10] Why is the industry average time-to-hire 90 days?
We are in the middle of a huge labor shortage. Healthcare is the biggest labor sector in the U.S. by number of workers. One in eight Americans works in healthcare.
Our demand for healthcare in the country keeps going up. Our population is aging, obviously pandemics don’t help, and there’s simply not enough workers in the system.
We’re expected by 2024 to be one million nurses short. It is the biggest labor shortage we have in this country today.
Unfortunately the way hospitals and health systems hire really hasn’t changed since the late 90’s. They post a job and hope something happens. What we often hear from nurses is, “Hey, I applied at 10, 15 places and I usually never hear back. If I hear back it takes two or three months.” So we just figured this is crazy. There has to be a better way, and that’s how we came up with this whole concept of Incredible Health.
[5:32] Philadelphia is one of the biggest hospital cities in the country, but even here, you can apply to every hospital and it still may take you a couple of months to hear back. All of the hospitals are having shortages right now and it’s taking them months to pick up the extra staff. In the meantime, it just makes the rest of the nurses want to quit too. It’s like a snowball effect of a problem.
There are a lot of issues in the market that are causing this problem. I mentioned earlier how we are supply constrained. There’s a few reasons for that.
One is that the nursing schools cannot train enough people. There are waitlists for nursing schools that are in the 10s of thousands of applicants, who can’t get in because the nursing schools don’t have the capacity to train more, because they don’t have faculty. They don’t have enough nurses to train the nurses.
The second bottleneck is what happens right after nursing school. When you’re a new graduate nurse, it is hard to find that new job where you can get trained. And there are just simply not enough health facilities out there that are willing to train nurses.
Another big issue that’s happening is retirement. About 25% of nurses are in the baby boomer generation, and they are approaching retirement over the next few years. So we have a huge part of this nursing workforce that’s about to retire as well in the next three to five years.
So this whole combination of issues is a big part of why we have such a large shortage.
[9:48] With this business, you’re really empowering nurses. You’re helping nurses realize their power and that they have a choice where they go for work. When people are empowered, they want to do a better job and they feel better. When nurses and healthcare professionals feel better, feel respected, feel heard, feel like they have a seat at the table, they’re going to want to do their job better. You’re going to have a happier workplace.
Healthcare workers are overworked and under-appreciated. We see it in fictional TV shows and even in real life, in 2020 especially. We do want to be the one service out there that’s giving them a delightful experience because they should be valued.
[13:05] When nurses are hired through our platform, retention actually goes up. Many hospitals and health systems struggle with turnover and with retention. They struggle to keep their employees on the team, and happy.
We think the reason for this is because, when a nurse is using the Incredible Health service, he or she is able to consider multiple opportunities and choose from several interviews before actually choosing a specific employer. So it’s a very informed job search process that they’re using.
[13:45] One of the things we talk about is racism in the different fields of nursing. How do we get nurses of color to feel like they can apply for nursing jobs that aren’t typically seen as fields that black nurses are going to be able to get into?
[16:58] The reason the topic of diversity in healthcare workers is so critical is because all the data and research shows that when patients are working with a diverse workforce, their outcomes are better.
A lot has to do with that patients want healthcare workers who they relate to. If you’re a black patient interacting with a black doctor or black nurse, you’re more likely to listen and follow their recommendations. As a result you have better outcomes.
For Incredible Health specifically, there’s a few ways we’re addressing this.
Number one is that we are presenting the applicants to employers through random sort, so every nurse has equal opportunity to be noticed. Another thing is that nurses can use avatars as their picture instead of a profile picture, which allows nurses to help remove the element of race from one part of their profile.
We noticed early on that employers were biasing against nurses that lived further away, regardless of where the nurses said they wanted to work. So we thought, what would happen if we removed the current location of the nurse? When we did that, the human bias just went away.
There’s a huge amount of opportunity when you’re working with software and tracking these interactions to implement solutions like this that will counter any kind of human bias.
[26:29] When a patient feels safer with someone who looks like them, this is because of systemic racism and has been proven over hundreds of years.
The academic research proves this. When you look at minority patients of any type, even if you control for income, health insurance status, location, etc. these patients still have worse outcomes across every area of healthcare.
One way to counter that is to have a diverse workforce.
[27:05] What do you have planned for the future?
In the early days of the company Incredible Health was the place where nurses found their next job. What we’ve expanded to is being the place where a nurse manages his or her career. What that means is we’ve added a lot of free services and tools for nurses that any nurse in the country can use.
For example, we offer free continuing education to every nurse in the country, which is needed in many states to renew their licenses. It’s usually something that nurses had to pay for out of pocket. Over $250 million dollars is spent by nurses in the U.S. every year on continuing education. This is crazy. It’s online content that we can provide for free. So we added that to the platform.
Earn your CEUs free
Our easy online CE courses are ANCC-accredited and 100% free for nurses.
Another is we provide free salary estimates to nurses in the country. 80% of nurses are not fully informed about what they should be getting paid, especially in different cities. They’re collecting information on salaries from friends and so on, and it just shouldn’t be that way. We’ve collected a huge amount of salary information on our platform and are able to provide these salary estimates for free.
More recently we launched an exclusive social network that’s just for nurses. Nurses have often commented that they don’t feel that safe on social media. It was important for us to create a social network exclusively for them where they can post anonymously. This is a place where nurses are able to support each other and give each other advice. The topics range from “How do I change specialties?” to things like “What’s the best scrub brand I should use?”
Nurses have gone through a serious amount of stress especially in the last 12 months. One of the key ways to alleviate that is to interact more with their peers.
[32:36] Hospitals are learning that they have to do more for their nurses. Have you felt that hospitals feel like they have to measure up more?
In addition to prioritizing patient care, hospital executives do have to prioritize their workforce. They are operating in a very competitive market and competing intensely for talent.
The other thing about hospitals is that they run on very thin margins. So when you do have a lot of travel nurses, those additional costs that the hospital is incurring are very problematic. Every hospital we talk to is under a lot of pressure to reduce their travel nurse costs and premium labor costs, because it’s impacting their bottom line. What better way to do that than to hire permanent nurses faster, and to treat them better so they don’t leave?
That’s why Incredible Health intentionally only focuses on permanent workers because that’s what the hospital executives want. Even for a nurse, they may spend maybe two or three years of their career as a travel nurse. The rest of the time they are permanent workers. They do want to be dedicated to a specific employer and a specific unit and a specific team.
[33:52] Hospitals spend so much money on precepting new nurses all for their retention to be low and/or paying more money for travel nurses all for them to leave in three months. It makes total sense that they would just hone in on trying to keep the nurses that they have. Nobody ever goes to the nurses and asks why they’re leaving.
[41:13] There’s a generational thing going on too. When you read surveys and reports about millennials and gen Z across – all industries, not just healthcare – they are making employment decisions based on things like how diverse is the workforce, or based on how flexible the employer will be with them.
So these newer generations are asking for more, and they’re getting it. Especially in areas where we have huge shortages – healthcare being one of them. Tech is another industry where we have massive shortages in software engineers and so-on. You can see these employees realizing they have the upper-hand.
We want to make sure that we remain healthcare worker-centric, and we always prioritize their needs because that’s ultimately what it’s going to take to win in this market.