How Healthcare Organizations Can Optimize Locum Tenens Support
Filling positions can be costly for healthcare organizations, but not if leaders take a strategic approach to hiring locum tenens support. Here’s how.
Implementing an Effective Locum Tenens Strategy
Use locum tenens providers only when and where you need them.
Facilities can control staffing costs by using locum tenens support efficiently. Since locum tenens assignment lengths are flexible, from just days to several months, they are a cost-efficient answer.
Rely on a locum tenens agency for rapid staffing support.
An effective locum tenens agency should be able to get their clients high-quality providers on short notice. Filling vacancies in house can take healthcare facilities from 92 to 227 days on average (AAPPR, physicianleaders.org). However, locums agencies specialize in providing swift solutions.
Use locums relief to improve provider satisfaction.
To stave off burnout among staff, facilities can ensure clinicians have schedules and patient loads they can handle. Instead of relying on permanent providers to pick up the slack when there's a vacancy, leaders can bring in locum tenens support to keep clinicians from becoming overwhelmed, stressed and fatigued.
Hire locums to help improve patient satisfaction.
Bringing on locum tenens support can help ensure patients are happier since they won't have extended wait times or encounters with overly stressed full-time providers.
Skip the hassle of hiring.
Recruiting, screening, vetting, credentialing, onboarding, and many other administrative tasks associated with hiring can be time-consuming and cumbersome for busy facilities. To streamline processes, healthcare organizations can instead outsource hiring to locums staffing professionals who specialize in these services.
Fortify staff with locum tenens during patient surges.
To improve efficiency, decision-makers can bring on locum tenens providers to handle increased patient volumes due to COVID cases or seasonal demands. Then, when the wave subsides, leaders can easily downsize without having to let permanent providers go.
Quickly resume elective procedures after closures.
If COVID closures continue, facilities will need to have a plan in place to quickly ramp up services upon reopening. Locum tenens providers can temporarily fill those roles.
Rely on locum tenens providers’ strengths.
Physicians and APPs who prefer the locums lifestyle are accustomed to being flexible, enthusiastic and proactive. Many are qualified to act in multidisciplinary roles, and all can help reinforce the care team.
See whether a provider is a fit before making a permanent hire.
Investing in the wrong full-time provider can be a costly mistake. The locum tenens arrangement provides an unmatched opportunity for both facilities and providers to see whether they’re a match without making a long-term commitment.
Use locum tenens providers to test out a new service line initiative
Utilizing locum tenens providers to start a new service allows facilities to minimize their investment in what may or may not be a successful venture while still aiming to broaden their horizons and boost their bottom line.
Get locums to cover telehealth.
Facilities can consider using locum tenens doctors and apps to handle telemed appointments. Alternately, they can use locums providers on site and give permanent staff the opportunity to switch to telehealth.
Make locum tenens support part the overall staffing plan.
Create a line item in the budget for locum tenens providers. Expect that it will be a go-to solution when staffing challenges arise. Develop a framework and system for forecasting locum tenens needs in advance. Track usage, look for patterns – or better yet, work with a locum tenens agency that can provide access to the facility’s locum tenens staffing data.
Use locum tenens support for an array of roles.
There are locum tenens providers in virtually every clinical role: physicians, APPs, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, CRNAs, nurse midwives, and more.
Hire locums for any specialty.
A top locums agency can supply facilities with locum tenens providers who specialize in every specialty, whether it’s family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine or hospitalist medicine. There are oncologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, radiologists, or OB-GYNS, and many more locum tenens providers eager to take their next assignment.
Remember that locum tenens providers practice in all types of facilities.
All types of facilities hire locum tenens providers: hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient clinics, government facilities, correctional institutions, Veteran’s Affairs, Indian Health Services, school systems and more.
Develop a partnership with a locum tenens agency.
Above all, forge a long-term, trusted relationship with a locum tenens agency. You’ll be able to negotiate for support that fits your needs and have a team of locum tenens specialists on your side. Plus, you’ll have a pipeline of providers at the ready as part of your strategic approach to staffing