Nomad Health is expanding its staffing platform to include nurses, who will be able to seek freelance medical work via the platform immediately in Texas and across the country this year and next.
The expansion comes a little over a month after the New York City-based startup announced it added California and Texas to the states where it's available for doctors, bringing the total to 14. The company's platform is a digital alternative to the industry's conventional short-term staffing system, which relies on fee-based brokers.
Nomad Health hopes its platform will ameliorate the physician and nurse shortage in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country will face a nursing shortage of 1.2 million by 2022. "The shortage we're seeing today is very different from anything we've experience in the past," said Seun Ross, director of nursing practice and work environment for the American Nurses Association. Aging baby boomers are putting pressure on the healthcare system for more care, while nurses themselves are aging and retiring. There's also a simultaneous shortage of nurse educators, forcing schools to turn away would-be nursing students.
The Nomad Health platform is a potential solution to the staffing shortage, said the company's CEO Alexi Nazem. "The nursing population is clamoring for something like this. More and more people want to do this kind of work." Nomad Health's platform, he added, unites the desire for gig economy-type work with the tradition in healthcare of traveling nurses.
The actual logistics of the platform are similar to those of Nomad Health's locum tenems doctor staffing platform, except that nurses hired through the system are technically employees of Nomad Health, whereas doctors are independent contractors.
"It's easy, and it's consumer-facing," Ross said of the platform. But it will go only so far in addressing the shortage, she said. "I think it could episodically change it. It's not getting rid of the national shortage per se—it's just getting rid of the problem for that particular hospital that needs a body."
Nomad Health's nursing platform is launching in Texas first because the state is one of the more understaffed in the country—for the same reasons the country as a whole is understaffed—and is the largest state in the 25-state nurse licensure compact, an agreement that will go into effect as soon as 26 states join (or on December 31, 2018—whichever comes first) and will permit nurses with licenses to practice in any state in the compact. The Texas Nursing Association expects the state's shortage to reach 70,000 by 2020.
Nomad Health will bring the platform to more states over the next year, Nazem said. "This is a humongous opportunity and a big problem that we're trying to solve."