Facing Physician Shortages: 3 Solutions That Don’t Require Hiring Locum Tenens

  • Physician Websites
  • locum tenens
  • May 12, 2021

Read Time: 8 minutes Locum tenens is a temporary solution to physician shortages. These long-term staffing solutions will improve efficiency and reduce costs.

New Solutions To Overcome Shortfalls

The current healthcare system is rapidly changing, and studies show physician shortages may be permanent. Recent data indicates that the United States could see an estimated shortfall of between 54,100-139,000 physicians by 2033. Physician shortages are engaging healthcare leaders to develop new strategies to improve patient care.

emergency staffing solutions Facing Physician Shortages 3 Solutions That Dont Require Hiring Locum Tenens

Aging baby boomers need more medical care

An aging baby boomer population has driven physician shortages. Recent data shows that by 2030 the baby boomers will have moved into the ranks of the older population. The frequency of chronic diseases rises in older communities, leading to an increased need for more doctors.

Retiring physicians leave gaps in the field

An aging physician workforce is a significant factor in physician shortages. Reports show that currently, 43% of physicians in the United States are 55 years or older, and certain specialties have an even higher percentage of physicians over age 55.

Locum tenens cannot solve a long-term problem

Locum tenens physicians and medical providers are hired as temporary staff. The work is unstable and short-term. However, with physician shortages inevitable and long-term crises for hospitals, permanent staffing solutions are necessary.

1. Advanced practice providers deliver quality care

Recruiting advanced practice providers (APPs) such as nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) offers a safe and cost-effective solution for physician shortages. NPs and PAs have been found to deliver the same quality and satisfaction level to patients as physicians.

APPs are effective with patients

APPs require advanced levels of education and clinical training beyond initial preparation. APPs can perform many of the same tasks that physicians can, such as conducting physical exams, ordering labs, or writing prescriptions. These medical professionals are as safe and effective as physicians in similar services.

2. Embracing new technology

Adopting new technological innovations such as mobile health apps, physiologic sensors, and telemedicine are transformative solutions to reduce the costs of physician shortages. The adoption of telemedicine technology has been growing to bring specialized medical care to patients at a fraction of the cost.

Efficient use of physicians with telemedicine

Telemedicine is becoming increasingly common for aspects of medical treatment like presurgical interviews. Telemedicine helps hospitals and health systems utilize the current supply of physicians more efficiently. Physicians can use the available time to connect with patients remotely and enable patients to access a wider pool of physicians.

3. Coordinated team-based healthcare

A team-based approach to healthcare can provide a better patient experience and lower overall costs. A team-based healthcare approach is a collaboration among various healthcare professionals such as physicians, nurses, and caseworkers. Members share information with the team and assist in decision-making.

Patients want coordinated health care

Recent surveys showed that patients wanted a coordinated approach to healthcare. Patients feel confident that a physician-led healthcare team can provide exceptional management of their care.

Bottom-line benefits

The physician shortage is likely to increase as the United States population ages and requires an increased level of care. Permanent long-term solutions to physician shortages are needed to overcome the hurdles ahead. Solutions such as hiring advanced practice providers, telemedicine, and team-based healthcare can help hospitals overcome staffing challenges.

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