As the demand for healthcare services continues to grow, and with an increasing physician shortage and an aging population that requires more specialized care, leveraging locum tenens providers is becoming increasingly important in ensuring that hospitals can address the rising patient demand despite the scarcity of physicians. In fact, the locum tenens staffing segment was estimated to have generated $4.2 billion in 2022, a 7% increase from the year prior.
Additionally, in recent years the locum tenens staffing model has seen more interest from physicians and other healthcare professionals that have started to pursue this flexible career path. The reasons for this growth are many, including the desire for better work-life balance, the opportunity to explore different practice settings, and the potential for higher income. Consequently, hospitals are now in a better position to leverage locum tenens providers to address their unique needs and challenges.
In this blog post, we'll explore five key benefits of using locum tenens for hospitals, including flexibility in staffing, cost-effectiveness, and enhancing staff satisfaction. By understanding these advantages, hospitals can make informed decisions on how best to utilize locum tenens providers to optimize patient care and overall hospital performance.
Flexibility in Staffing
One of the primary benefits of locum tenens is the flexibility they provide to hospitals. Healthcare facilities can face a variety of staffing challenges, such as employee vacations, medical leaves, and sudden increases in patient volume. Locum tenens providers can quickly fill these gaps, helping hospitals maintain consistent staffing levels and ensure that patients receive the care they need.
Locum tenens providers can be employed for short-term assignments or long-term engagements, allowing hospitals to adapt to their specific needs. This flexibility can be especially helpful during seasonal fluctuations, such as flu season, when hospitals often experience a surge in patient volume.
Enhancing Staff Satisfaction
The use of locum tenens can have a positive impact on staff satisfaction by reducing the workload and stress placed on permanent staff members. Physician burnout is at an all-time high, with 86% of physicians reported being overworked in our 2023 Physician Compensation Report. When hospitals face staffing shortages, permanent employees may be asked to work additional hours or cover for colleagues, which can contribute to burnout and decreased job satisfaction.
By bringing in locum tenens physcians, hospitals can help alleviate these pressures and ensure that their permanent staff members have adequate time for rest, professional development, and personal life. This can lead to higher staff retention rates and a more positive work environment.
Hiring locum tenens providers can be a cost-effective solution for hospitals. Permanent employees require substantial investments in recruitment, training, and benefits, whereas locum tenens can be brought on board quickly and without these additional expenses. Hospitals can also save on overtime costs by using locum tenens to cover shifts when full-time staff members are unavailable.
Moreover, locum tenens providers are independent contractors, meaning healthcare facilities are not responsible for their taxes, insurance, and retirement benefits. This can save hospitals money and administrative effort, as they do not need to manage these aspects of employment for locum tenens providers.
Maintaining Continuity of Care
Patient care can be disrupted when a hospital experiences staff shortages, as remaining staff members may be stretched thin and unable to provide the same level of attention and care. Locum tenens providers can help maintain continuity of care by filling in these gaps, ensuring that patients receive consistent, high-quality care.
This continuity is especially important in the case of long-term patient relationships, such as with primary care providers. Locum tenens physicians can step in to maintain these relationships during a permanent provider's absence, ensuring that patients continue to receive the care they need without interruption.
Access to Diverse Specialties
Locum tenens physicians come from a wide range of medical specialties, enabling hospitals to access expertise that may not be available within their permanent staff. This can be particularly beneficial for smaller or rural hospitals that may have difficulty recruiting and retaining specialists.
By using physicians, hospitals can expand the range of services they offer, allowing them to better meet the needs of their patients, even when the patient demand for a specific service is not high. For example, a rural hospital that must provide care for a minimal number of patients with neurological conditions are able to utilize a locum tenens neurologist to help treat their patient population, and avoid achieving a negative ROI from a full-time hire.
Help Your Hospital Staff & Patient Population with Locum Tenens
To learn more about how Curative can help your hospital address physician burnout and balance your staff workload with a locum tenens staffing solution, please email email@example.com, or fill out the form below.