How one facility overcame workforce challenges with an innovative pairing system
Physicians cannot be everywhere at once, a fact that the current healthcare labor environment has thrown into stark relief. Many hospitals and facilities are observing a rift between the service they can provide and the realities of caregivers who can provide it — a divide that has a material impact on the community and the hospital's bottom line. By partnering with one client, LocumTenens.com was able to employ an innovative staffing solution to patch up a gap in care coverage for one community.
Staffing challenges have hit all facets of the healthcare industry, leaving hospitals understaffed and struggling to deliver care to their patients. One of our clients at a leading health system in North Carolina was experiencing challenges in the neuro-hospitalist specialty area.
Due to national physician shortages and an increased need for healthcare services, hospitals find it difficult to recruit physicians with more competition for available talent. That has left many hospitals looking for other ways to fill staffing needs.
Patients seek care within this health system for serious conditions, such as brain and spine tumors, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and migraines, to name a few.
The stroke prevention and care program is one of the vital services they provide. Facilities within the system are nationally recognized for their stroke care.
It is vital to provide access to care for patients across the care continuum. When there is a gap in coverage, patients do not have access to necessary medical care.
Without a fully staffed roster of clinicians, it can be difficult to create a schedule that meets the needs of patients and the organization. Not only can this impact the hospital's bottom line, but more importantly, it limits access to care for the community.
Our client was not content with the status quo. To address their challenges, they developed a program that better utilizes APPs to create a comprehensive patient experience.
In our client's model, APPs and physicians work in pairs. This allows them to maximize their time with patients and, if one provider is with a patient, the other can continue to see waiting patients. This process ensures patients can get the care they need, and has the potential to increase the quality of care provided.
To assist with staffing challenges, LocumTenens.com provides an APP that integrates within their existing model and provides world-class patient care alongside a physician.
By increasing utilization of APPs, the program has seen success. Being able to scale to meet growing needs has given them a path toward sustainable staffing. In addition, this system has seen results through:
Providing care to more patients by integrating APPs into the care model.
Increasing collaboration between care givers, resulting in a better experience for the patient.
With more caregivers and a sustainable care model, scheduling is more streamlined.
There has been little to no resistance from patients when seen by an APP instead of a physician. Across the continuum, staff and patients see the value of integrating APPs into the care model.
Pairing APPs with physicians allows facilities to make more effective use of their resources and their patients' time. Patients understand that each touchpoint is part of the care process, and appreciate the more holistic attention on their medical situation. Utilizing APPs is key to providing a positive patient experience.
There is no question that APPs play a vital role in the care continuum going forward. Their importance is not lost on medical facilities, who plan to expand their APP workforce going forward. Keeping up with the increased demand for APPs will be critical to the mission of institutions charged with providing care to communities around the nation.
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