Locum tenens is no longer the outlier it used to be. The vast majority of U.S. healthcare facilities now utilize locums on a regular basis. Even so, many of them are not making the best possible use of the locum model. That is a shame because locum medicine brings a lot to the table.
Successfully employing locum tenens requires a collaborative effort between employer, clinician, and staffing agency. It requires that everyone involved knows what is going on and has the proper amount of input. Finally, it requires thinking outside the box. The locums of the 21st century are not the same placeholders their predecessors were three decades ago. Locum providers are an important part of the modern healthcare team.
Here are three tips for facilities looking to maximize the locum tenens services they utilize:
1. Improve Relationships with Providers
The main obstacle to maximizing locum tenens benefits are poor relationships between employers and providers. An employer who takes a negative view of locum tenens based on past notions of what the locum industry was all about sets itself up for conflict. Likewise, the locum who approaches work with a chip on his/her shoulder will make more enemies than friends.
Considering how difficult it is for employers to find qualified locums, it makes more sense to foster positive relationships in hopes of encouraging good doctors to come back when new assignments open up. If it helps, think of it in terms of customer retention. It is easier and more cost-effective to keep current customers happy then to continue to have to bring new customers in.
The goal behind improving relationships with providers is to reduce churn. Do that and you will have a happier staff and more satisfied patients. Continue to ignore churn and your facility will not ever maximize its use of locum tenens staffing.
2. Connect with an MSP Program
Managed service providers in the locum industry can make the difference between success and failure. As such, connecting with an MSP program is the second tip for maximizing locum tenens staffing. A good MSP program fosters collaboration between staffing agencies and healthcare facilities and results in more effective locum tenens management.
Behind every good managed service provider is technology. So when engaging with an MSP, the technology they deploy tends to be an indicator of the quality of their services. Healthcare facilities should be looking for cutting-edge technology like cloud-based platforms for managing locum workflow.
3. Leveraging Data and Analytics
Connecting with an MSP program is recommended just from the perspective of better managing locums. But there are added benefits, including the opportunity to leverage data and analytics to improve the overall experience. We now live in a data-driven world, and data and analytics apply as much to locum staffing as they do any other area of business.
With the right analytics capabilities, facilities can get a detailed picture of exactly how they use locum staffing. Data can reveal the cost-effectiveness of a facility’s locum strategy; it can project future costs; it can provide a historical reference to staffing strategies at a glance.
Locum tenens staffing is no longer a luxury for healthcare facilities. It is now both a necessity and a normal part of doing business. Locum tenens providers have become a critical cog in the healthcare wheel, shoring up staffing holes and providing continuity of care. But to maximize locum staffing, things cannot be left to chance. Facilities and their administrators need to put effort into fostering good relationships. They should be making use of MSP programs and the latest technologies, including data and analytics.