A Better Way to Streamline the Locum Tenens Process

Posted November 1, 2023 by in Career

The locum tenens physician workforce has become an essential part of the healthcare system, providing coverage for physicians when they take leave or have staffing shortages. However, the process of finding, credentialing, and onboarding locum tenens physicians can be complex and time-consuming for healthcare organizations. There are ways to streamline this process and make it more efficient.

The first step in getting locum tenens support is for healthcare organizations to build strong relationships with a few trusted locum tenens agencies. Having preferred vendor partnerships allows the organization to easily access a pool of pre-credentialed locum tenens physicians when needed. The agencies can learn the organization’s specific needs, culture, and provide personalized assistance. This eliminates the need to put out open job listings and vet candidates independently each time.

The organization and agency can work together to completely credential locums ahead of time. This involves verifying licenses, DEA registration, insurance, malpractice coverage, immunization records, and more. Locums can even complete onboarding paperwork and training modules in advance. This way, when staffing emergencies arise, pre-approved locums can start work almost immediately without lengthy delays.

Streamlining the onboarding process is key. Organizations can have standard locum tenens orientation checklists and training materials ready to go. Locations should have dedicated computers, ID badges, parking passes, and other necessary items prepared for efficient locum tenens onboarding. Clear locum tenens policies should provide expectations and instructions on organizational practices. Proper onboarding helps locums become productive right away.

Technology can also optimize scheduling locum tenens assignments. Online platforms allow needs to be posted and matched with compatible locum tenens in real-time. Built-in metrics help track utilization, expenses, and performance. Automated reference and background checks are conducted. Scheduling is synced across the organization. This improves efficiency, transparency, and access.

Healthcare organizations should focus on retaining high-performing locum tenens physicians. Building a consistent locum tenens program using regular providers enhances continuity of care. Providing positive experiences makes locums likely to accept recurring assignments. This gives the organization a reliable stable of proven locums to call on when short-staffed. 

Once a locum is on site, proper support ensures a positive experience for the provider. Dedicated locum tenens liaisons act as points of contact to answer questions, provide assistance, and address any issues that arise. Administrative and clinical mentors can help orient locums to the workflow, EHR, specialty procedures, and policies. A structured support system gets locums up to speed and comfortable in their role.

With the physician shortage expected to worsen in coming years, locum tenens will become even more vital for delivering quality care. Organizations that streamline and optimize their locum tenens programs today will have a strategic advantage. They will be able to swiftly adjust to staffing changes and provide patients consistent access to physicians. A robust locum tenens infrastructure demonstrates resilience and adaptability, which benefits healthcare organizations both now and in the future.

Having efficient, standardized locum tenens protocols allows healthcare organizations to rapidly fill gaps in coverage. Strong partnerships with trusted locum tenens agencies give access to credentialed providers who understand the organization’s needs.  

In today’s healthcare landscape, a well-run locum tenens program is a strategic necessity. Putting thought and effort into streamlining locum processes, building lasting agency partnerships, leveraging technology, and supporting locum providers allows healthcare organizations to adapt to staffing challenges. This flexible workforce model helps provide better and more reliable patient care amidst provider shortages. Investing in locum tenens best practices strengthens the entire system.

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