According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for nurses is set to increase by 12% over the next decade, more than double that of the 5% rate for all occupations. With the need for registered nurses comes an impending nursing shortage, as the student enrollment increase in nursing programs “is not sufficient to meet the projected demand for nursing services, including the need for more nurse faculty, researchers, and primary care providers,” the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports.
And if it’s hard to find nurses, it’s also a costly and time consuming process to to hire them. According to the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, it costs hospitals roughly $10,000 in recruitment costs to fill a vacancy. The costs rise for surgical and specialty nurses.
It’s a problem that Dr. Iman Abuzeid understands well. The cofounder and chief executive of Incredible Health says that many of her friends and family members who are also doctors regularly complain they are unable to find nurses. Her cofounder and CTO Rome Portlock also knows the problem intimately, coming from a family a family of nurses himself.
“They were complaining to took them 2 to 3 months to find a job,” Abuzeid said. “In health care there is a lot of inefficiency.”
“In 5 years, we are going to be 1 million nurses short,” she explained. “What’s happening in the hospitals is that they’re using inefficient hiring methods.”
Shortened hiring time
Abuzeid, who founded Incredible Health in 2017, hopes to change that.
Using automation, data and recruiting technology, Incredible Health shortens the time it takes to fill nursing vacancies. The propriety algorithms take on the job of going through applications that typically keep many hospitals mired in a lengthy hiring process. With Incredible Health, hospitals can fill a vacancy 3 times faster than with previous hiring methods, Abuzeid said.
Nurses can fill out an application via their platform and wait as the algorithms go to work, matching hospitals with the nurses that are the best fit for them. Hospitals only see nurses that are the best match, and nurses no longer have to aggressively apply to a multitude of nursing jobs. Instead, both future employee and employer can wait and watch as the best offers come to them.
And in a sign that many hospitals around the country are struggling, Incredible Health is aggressively growing.
Abuzeid says that over the course of the next year and a half Incredible Health will be available for 21 states. But the two don’t plan to stop there.“After we’ve done the expansion in the United States, we are looking at other countries,” she said.
While Incredible Health is currently focusing on just nurses at the moment, Abuzeid tells Yahoo Finance that there is a plan to add other health care professionals like physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists, and more.
Abuzeid told Yahoo Finance that the platform will later expand to help nurses advance their careers, tackling a skills gap underpinning the nurse shortage.
Investors have taken notice of the startup. Venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz led a $15 million Series A funding round for the company, which included other firms such as Precursor Ventures and Gingerbread Capital. To date, Incredible Health has raised some $20 million.
But raising capital as a startup led by a black woman isn’t always easy, Abuzeid explained. “The latest data shows that African American women only get .2% of venture capital,” she said.
“In a lot of ways, I and my cofounder — we are defying the odds. There’s been a few tactics to overcome it. But statistics show there’s systemic bias.”
Being in the Bay Area has allowed Abuzeid to build a strong network. “When it comes to learning how to fundraise,” she explained, “I’m plugged into an ecosystem where the knowledge transfer is automatic.”
She also stays focused. “The second piece is mindset and psychology. When I do see my white male CEO counterparts, there’s an insane amount of assertiveness and confidence that I’ve had to embody.”`
And one day, Abuzeid says the plan is to IPO. “We are aiming to build the market-leading company,” she said.
Despite any struggles, Abuzeid says she sticks to one mission: “Helping health care professionals find and do their best work.”
Kristin Myers is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.