In the world of medicine, there is an enormous amount of unique careers and professionals working to provide optimal results day in and day out. Of course, physicians represent the pinnacles of medical careers in terms of their credentials and ability to treat patients. One form of physician that often doesn’t get the attention deserved is the locum tenens doctor. Luckily, an annual report from StaffCare provides a wealth of information on locum tenens statistics as well as some key takeaways to consider for your career. Today we’ll tease out some of the results and discuss reasons why locum tenens jobs are right for you!
Locum Tenens Statistics | Number Don’t Lie!
Hospitals and medical practices hire locum tenens physicians for many reasons. They may need specialists in certain areas, have an understaffing issue, or just want to bring in fresh faces to keep a facility dynamic. One statistic tells us that healthcare facility managers primarily use locum tenens physicians to fill staffing gaps until permanent doctors come aboard. Additionally, locum tenens physicians get hired as a result of high staff turnover. Locum tenens statistics of interest include the fact that:
- 75 percent hire locum tenens while seeking permanent doctors
- 74 percent use locum tenens to fill in positions left over
- 26 percent of healthcare facility managers reported using locum NPs or PAs
Clearly, locum tenens physicians provide healthcare facility managers with very opportune hires. There are several reasons why locum tenens physicians are sought, however, the main ones include convenience, understaffing, and a need for specialization. Many healthcare facility managers also rated ‘continuity of patient care’ as a main benefit to hiring locum tenens physicians.
Luckily, 80 percent found that locum tenens physicians are well worth the cost of hiring, onboarding, and retaining them. 66 percent said that locum tenens physicians possess an excellent caliber of skills, while 30 percent deemed their skills adequate followed by 4 percent stating ‘unsatisfactory.’ Regardless, these locum tenens statistics clearly show that hiring temporary physicians is likely in the best interest of many healthcare facilities and hospitals.
An Increase in Telemedicine Use
Another interesting locum tenens statistic comes through the use of telemedicine. Each year, more and more medical facilities and practices integrate telemedicine into their workflow. Of the facilities currently employing a significant amount of locum tenens physicians, 47 percent indicated they use telemedicine. Mainly, this type of consulting works in:
While this is still an emerging form of medicine, locum tenens are particularly viable candidates for telepractice scenarios. While traveling from one location to the next, physicians can still consult with clients they intend to see on a consistent basis. Additionally, becoming fluent in telemedicine best practices can help keep your skills and paycheck ahead of the curve!
Growth in the Locum Tenens Industry
Based on the latest locum tenens statistics from 2017, the use of locum tenens physicians continues to grow at hospitals, medical groups, and other facilities. Up from 91 percent, the amount of healthcare managers who said they plan to hire more locum tenens physicians rose to 94 percent last year. With physicians in high demand during the increasingly dire physician shortage, locum tenens doctors represent a significant force in keeping hospitals staffed with only the top professionals.
The American Academy of Family Physicians projects a shortage of 149,000 physicians by 2020 while the Health Resources and Services Administration estimates a shortage of 65,000 primary care physicians by the same time. Needless to say, there is an overwhelming need for more locum tenens physicians in just about every location in the country. Luckily, the ability to travel makes fighting this shortage an even more plausible reality!
Do these locum tenens statistics surprise you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!