COVID-19 undoubtably had a negative impact on the mental health of clinicians, who often report burnout leading to an early retirement or pursuit of other ventures. And, with the physician shortage, there is more competition to recruit and retain talent.
As a result, healthcare leaders increasingly have looked to locum tenens staffing to ensure they can provide care to their community. In a recent report Innovation & Flexibility: The Journey to Sustainable Healthcare, data shows that the trend of increased locums staffing will continue. Nearly 57% of facilities that have not used locum clinicians in the past say they will consider using contingent staffing at their facility in the future.
At the heart of this, we are seeing a rise in Advanced Practice Professionals (APP). Currently, 26.2% of facilities use both physician and APP locums staffing. With 9.2% using only APPs in a locums capacity.
Hospitals looking to improve access, lower cost and expand flexibility in staffing have begun a wider adoption of APPs into the care continuum. Accordingly, 73.9% of hospital administrators say they plan to expand APP coverage.
From a patient perspective, there is little difference between an M.D. and APP providing coverage. We’ve often heard from patients that the letters behind a name don’t matter—it’s about the experience and quality of care. As a result, there is a push to allow APPs to practice to the top of their license and even push that further. In most states, there are stringent requirements for M.D. supervision over APPs, but loosening those regulations could have a significant impact on the care model, allowing hospitals to expand their utilization and increase the volume of patients seen.
There is a perceived value from APP care and, in many ways, it represents the new face of locum tenens staffing. Notably, when asked about the greatest benefit of using APPs, hospital administrators pointed to lower cost and more flexibility. That can lead to value for both the hospital and the patient.
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