May 22nd, 2024 | Sterling

3 Benefits of Outsourcing Your Drug and Health Screening Program 

Does this situation sound familiar? Your perfect candidate has accepted your job offer; you start preparing the required paperwork needed to start onboarding; you then begin conducting a background check to verify your candidate’s work history, experience, and education; and afterward you send your candidate instructions on where to complete their required drug screening. 

And then you hit a snag: 

  • Your candidate ends up missing their appointment, delaying their onboarding.  
  • The response time and accountability for the drug test site to deliver results is taking weeks to complete.  
  • You’re having to use internal resources to track down clinical results with minimal visibility or access into your candidate’s report.  

If you aren’t getting the results you need to move forward in a timely manner, your candidate may decide to drop out of the hiring process. 

Although hospitals and other health systems typically have their own pre-employment drug & health screening program, the array of challenges and stress that hiring managers can face during this important step are often shared by both employers and candidates. 

In this blog, we’ll outline three benefits your organization can derive by outsourcing your drug & health screening services

1. Get Your New Employees to Day One Faster 

With staffing shortages being felt among healthcare organizations nationwide, it’s imperative to finding talent as quickly as possible. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the country will face a shortage of 195,400 nurses by the year 2031, and that the number of openings for home health aides and personal health aides will increase 37 percent by 2028. With the lack of healthcare professionals available in the market, every single candidate going through the hiring process is a potentially invaluable resource. 

At the 2023 LEAP TA Healthcare event, Sterling and SSM Health led a session on how we reduced the time it took to clear their candidates’ start-to-work time from 3-4 weeks to just 6 days by outsourcing their drug & health screening services: 

  • SSM Health launched a pilot project in St. Louis focusing on onboarding over 300 nurses. 
  • They then developed specialization within their recruiting and preboarding teams by creating dedicated nurse recruiters and nurse pre-boarding specialists, and by developing custom talk-tracks and candidate outreach specific to nurses. 
  • SSM Health then used Sterling’s Clinical Concierge to outsource their drug & health screening services, enabling nurses to complete all their lab-based services at a location most convenient to them. They would typically receive results of their lab-based services at the same time as the background check, while Sterling’s dedicated Clinical Concierge team handled any discrepancies and cases involved in these services. 
  • They also improved their reporting capabilities with Sterling that showed real-time visibility into each of their individual candidates, while we also supported them with weekly recaps and program-level details, together with proactive analysis and recommendations. 

By outsourcing their drug & health screening services, SSM Health was able to relieve the burden of having to constantly keep track of every single detail and task involved in this process. Sterling’s unique concierge service model focuses on getting candidates registered for the required services at the most convenient locations and proactively obtaining results from labs and clinics. With a network of over 20,000 collection sites and clinics nationwide, Sterling’s concierge service is both flexible and accommodating. 

2. Gain Peace of Mind with Ever-Changing Compliance Changes 

Keeping up with ever-changing healthcare compliance on the federal, state, and local levels is often time-consuming and impractical for an in-house HR department. Consider the stressors of health systems who operate across multiple states: failure to follow the latest regulatory updates in any one state can result in missed background screening elements, leading to loss of licenses or provider enrollment, sanctions, and administrative fines or overpayments. 

Leveraging automation and streamlining the drug & health screening process can help your HR and TA teams reduce the administrative burden while still maintaining confidence that your background screening program is staying ahead on the latest compliance updates. For example, healthcare organizations use Sterling’s Clinical Concierge services to create clinical and non-clinical packages for each state and role. Having a repeatable, scalable process in place can reduce both the potential for human error when placing orders, as well as prevent the ordering of unnecessary services for your candidate. 

Another bonus: packages such as the ones mentioned above can also be configured into ATS software such as Oracle, Workday, Bullhorn, iCIMS, and many of our other integration partners. This way, HR teams can continue working with their current software and prevent any disruption with their day-to-day tasks. 

3. Improve Your Candidate’s Onboarding Experience 

The last thing you want your candidate to go through is a time-consuming and complicated onboarding experience. According to Sterling’s Hiring Reimagined Report, 39% of recent job seekers dropped out of the hiring process because the process was taking too long, while another 37% said it was too complicated.  

Generally, candidates are asked to go to a central location to have their drug screening done, which can sometimes lead to long and inconvenient commutes along with limited appointment times. On the other hand, they may get sent to multiple locations for different tests, adding extra work to your candidate. Ideally, they should only have to focus on wrapping up their current job and preparing to start their new one. 

By outsourcing your drug & health screening program, you can help simplify your candidate’s experience and help them get a good start prior to Day One.  

Sterling’s Clinical Concierge removes the hassle of having the candidate jump through hoops to complete their drug screening. Our concierge model guides the candidate through each step, including:  

  • Finding a location that’s most convenient for them and where all required services can be completed 
  • Registering the candidate for their services 
  • Making sure the clinic performs the required services 
  • Obtaining the results once tests are completed 

With this unique and effective experience, both you and your candidate will have confidence taking the next step together. 


Even if your organization conducts their own drug & health screening, the administrative burden of managing and overseeing clinical tests and remaining up-to-date on compliance regulations can be laborious. By outsourcing this important step, hiring teams can offload the manual work of keeping track of their candidates and instead focus on getting them to Day One faster. 

See how Sterling’s Clinical Concierge helped a not-for-profit reduce their clinical services processing turnaround time in this customer story

Contact us today to learn more about Sterling’s drug & health screening services

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.