In recent years, there’s been a lot of discussion about the high costs of healthcare and the impact it has on patients, hospitals, and physicians.
Physician burnout is a real and growing problem in the United States, which can add to hospital costs – Did you know, according to this study, physician burnout costs the U.S. healthcare system $4.6 billion annually?
There’s no question that reducing hospital costs is a top priority for healthcare administrators nationwide. Here, we discuss how hiring locum tenens clinicians can help reduce clinician burnout and costs WITHOUT sacrificing quality of care.
A locum tenens clinician is a medical professional who works on a contractual basis, filling in for another medical professional who is unavailable. Locums can be found in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices. They may work as general practitioners, specialists, or even surgeons.
In many cases, locum clinicians are used to fill in for medical professionals who are on vacation or taking leave. However, they can also be used to fill unexpected vacancies that occur due to resignations or retirements.
Locum tenens clinicians typically work on short-term contracts, lasting anywhere from a few days to a few months. However, some may work on longer-term contracts if there is a continuous need for their services.
Hiring locum clinicians can reduce hospital costs in a variety of ways, including:
The cost of hiring a locum tenens clinician may appear more expensive than keeping a full-time physician, but losing a full-time staff due to poor employee morale is much costlier than either of the two.
If a clinician quits to burnout, he/she can cost a health system hundreds of thousands of dollars in recruitment, productivity and training costs, depending on specialty. Even if a physician stays on staff, burnout can contribute to thousands of dollars in costs just as a matter of inefficient functioning.
Strategic use of locum tenens to fill gaps in specialized areas takes unneeded stress off of other staff, providing them with adequate time off when needed to refresh, while still keeping continuity of care.
Holding onto revenue that would be lost through a staff opening is one of the most common reasons for hiring locum tenens clinicians. This is extremely relevant today, where clinician shortages are frequently being seen in a variety of specialties.
A hospital with an open position stands to miss out on several thousands of dollars of revenue per day. Lack of staff and longer wait times for patients can also lead to dissatisfaction and seeking treatment elsewhere.
As illustrated above, a facility that’s short staffed can lead to loss of staff, staff burnout, and ultimately a lower quality of care for patients.
Not only can this cause unnecessary recruitment, training fees, and loss of patients, it can also open facilities to the possibility of other increased costs due to malpractice and other service inefficiencies.
Hospital administrators and leaders use locum tenens to fill gaps in coverage, provide relief during busy times, cover for leaves of absence, or staff up during a merger or acquisition. When used strategically, locums can help reduce hospital costs while maintaining quality of care.
Want to learn more about what locum tenens can do for you? Check out our other articles.