The growing physician shortage has a significant impact on healthcare staffing, creating challenges for medical organizations. More specifically, it’s making it difficult for them to recruit and retain quality physicians to provide proper care to patients.
According to a recent report from the Association of American Medical Colleges, a growing, aging population is one of the top factors contributing to the physician shortage and demand. Other factors include turnover in rural areas and physician burnout. As a result, many specialties are in high demand, including family medicine, internal medicine, and radiology. Affecting staffing in several ways, but utilizing the services of locum tenens can help healthcare organizations alleviate its effects and maintain consistent staff coverage.
How Physician Shortage Impacts Healthcare Staffing
Physician shortage can affect a healthcare organization, and its staffing by increasing the time it takes to fill specific roles and positions. For example, according to the AAPPR 2020 Benchmarking Report, Neurology, Dermatology, and Gastroenterology had the highest number of days to fill at 220 days. Additionally, Family and Internal Medicine roles are the most sought-after specialties, making them the most competitive positions to fill.
It also increases the competition between healthcare systems to acquire qualified physicians. It forces systems to go to more extraordinary lengths to attract and retain healthcare staff.
Ultimately, these healthcare systems can experience low staffing without an effective plan in place, which impacts other factors such as the quality of care, reputation of the facility, patient coverage, and physician burnout.
How Locum Tenens Can Help
In the report mentioned above, data indicates that locum tenens physicians are increasingly relied on to provide supplemental coverage due to the overall shortage and increased time to fill certain positions. Therefore, creating a long-term relationship with a locum tenens agency is one of the best ways to maintain medical staffing while fulfilling current needs.
Utilizing a locum tenens agency like VISTA can give healthcare organizations access to top-quality physicians to ensure continuity of care and financial stability, with the full support staff at your service. VISTA pairs its experienced recruiters with hiring staff to locate the best physicians in the specialties needed. VISTA as a staffing partner alleviates the need for healthcare organizations to vet recommended physicians, as the agency handles everything from verification of licenses and credentials to onboarding. Before being placed, physicians are counseled and prepped to step into the role and get right to work with no lag time. Another advantage of using an agency like VISTA – they work on behalf of both parties to ensure a smooth transition.
Although there is a current physician shortage, healthcare organizations can still maintain continuity of care with locum tenens physicians. As an agency that has helped hundreds of medical systems and practices ensure access to care while preserving revenue, VISTA quickly matches experienced providers with the organizations that need immediate and ongoing support.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on March 19, 2019, and has been updated for accuracy and timeliness.