When Tiffany Khoo was working at the human resource department in a hospital, she learned that it was difficult to book locum workers or medical staff to temporarily fill duties, especially during the pandemic.
Most clinics and hospitals typically relied on job posting websites to search for staff needed to fill temporary positions but it’s a long-winded process, she said.
“Although they have a broad reach, they are not specialised for healthcare,” said Khoo, adding that some clinics and hospitals even relied on their staff to seek help via word of mouth or social media platforms.
The HR managers will also have to go through the time-consuming process of calling up each candidate to verify their details such as the Annual Practicing Certificate (APC) before determining their availability.
“Private and sensitive data is often submitted via informal means and a person’s qualification has to be ascertained over and over again,” she said.
Also, each hospital or clinic adopts a different payment system, she said, adding that they generally don’t pay the same.
“What I realised was that there was a strong demand for a mobile app to connect locum workers to healthcare facilities and a deep dissatisfaction over the fluctuating hourly rates being offered,” said Khoo.
She said freelance service apps like Fiverr and PeoplePerHour inspired her to start a transparent system with fixed hourly rates for the same jobs.
After discussing the problem with her family members, she decided to develop Locum Apps through WeAssist which she co-founded and is its CEO.
The app, launched in May, allows healthcare staff such as doctors, nurses and lab technicians to indicate their availability for locum jobs. “The app helped assign more healthcare staff to an area where more Covid-19 testing needed to be done,” she said. Khoo explained that healthcare staff only have to fill up their profile once, and are able to select the area and schedule they prefer.
At the end of a shift, they will be assessed based on a five-star rating system, receive a comprehensive report, and the payment will be made to their bank account once a week.
As the app has gone live, Khoo said one of the challenges now is to meet the demands of both healthcare facilities and locum workers.
“With any two-sided platform, you are in a ‘chicken and egg’ situation where one needs the other to come to fruition,” she said.
“We also have been able to honour these healthcare workers through interviews on our blog and get a little more insight on what motivated them to enter this industry.”
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