AI Startup vflok Connects Caregivers, Making Shift Scheduling a Human-Centered Experience for Nurses

Catalyst by Wellstar, the first-of-its-kind innovation company and venture firm created by Wellstar Health System, one of the largest healthcare systems in Georgia, has partnered with leading venture builder High Alpha Innovation to launch vflok, a revolutionary workforce optimization solution that places connected communities of nurses at the center of the scheduling process.

Nurses are the backbone of the U.S. healthcare system and at the forefront of patient care. However, they are leaving the industry at alarming rates. The magnitude of this problem led Catalyst to engage nurses to better understand why these resignations are happening. A top reason shared was their schedules. Specifically, they cited an inability to personally shape their schedules, limited or no flexibility, and a lack of scheduling process transparency.

The impact of this problem is staggering. Interactive Health’s latest State of US Nursing Report1 found that 23% of nurses are likely to quit in 2024. Meanwhile, the 2024 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report2 discovered nurse turnover costs rose by an average of 7.5% in the past year to $56,300 per nurse. This resulted in the average hospital losing roughly $3.9 million to $5.8 million annually.

Vflok will help solve this problem by embedding advanced machine learning models and generative AI into the scheduling workflow. This will empower nurses to create communities where they can shape their schedules together, arrange in-system coverage when unexpected events happen, and eliminate the opaque nature of schedule development.

Ultimately, vflok’s goal is to deliver work schedules that fit into a nurse’s life, instead of asking nurses to fit their lives into a work schedule.

“Nurse leaders want all nurses to feel valued and heard,” said High Alpha Innovation CEO Elliott Parker. “Nurse managers have had the impossible task of factoring complex floor dynamics, individual preferences, and last-minute changes to create fair and balanced schedules. Today’s enterprise scheduling systems provide macro workflow tools but lack the ability to deliver truly personalized scheduling experiences. This is where vflok’s AI-powered solution fits in.”

“The tools currently available to nurses and nurse managers don’t reflect the mission-driven compassion that nurses exhibit every day in caring for their patients,” said Dr. Hank Capps, FAAFP, EVP and Chief Information & Digital Officer, Wellstar Health System, and President of Catalyst by Wellstar. “Using vflok will help nurses care for nurses by making it easy to find and arrange in-system coverage, and free nurse managers to spend more time caring for their teams and patients rather than on administrative tasks. This intuitive approach will transform scheduling from a moment of tension to a moment of connection. Catalyst is proud to have worked alongside High Alpha Innovation to bring this long-overdue, game-changing technology to market.”

“Nurses are the backbone of our care delivery system,” said Dr. Susan Grant, Wellstar Health System Executive Vice President, Chief Experience Officer, and Chief Nurse Executive. “Hearing the voices of nurses in the development of a product that will change their lives and the lives of our patients is truly differentiated. With tools like vflok, we will continue to reduce administrative burden and help our nurses do more of what they became nurses to do: care for patients.”

Wellstar will pilot Vflok in Q3 2024 to measure impact, plan a system-wide rollout, and introduce this transformative concept to other health systems. Vflok will be led by CEO John P. Sheehan, a multi-exit HealthTech and Digital Health entrepreneur, and Chief Technology & Product Officer David Sommers, a technology and innovation leader with deep expertise in machine learning, AI, and the development and scaling of healthcare and consumer applications.


Celebrating Milestones and Inspiring Change: Insights from Incredible Health’s Fifth Annual State of US Nursing Report – March 14, 2024
2024 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report” – March 2024

Patric Rayburn
by Patric Rayburn