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Physician and Advanced Practitioner Anxiety Spikes Alongside Patient Mental Health Concerns Due to COVID-19

New Survey from LocumTenens.com Finds Physician and Advanced Practitioner Anxiety Spikes Alongside Patient Mental Health Concerns Due to COVID-19

Alpharetta, Ga., August 5, 2020LocumTenens.com, a leading physician and advanced practitioner staffing agency, today released the results of its 2020 COVID-19 Physician and Advanced Practitioner Survey. According to the results, clinicians are experiencing an increase in anxiety, with just over half (52%) of respondents saying they have experienced an increase in stress, burnout or mental health issues due to COVID-19.

The survey found that more women (61%) reported an increase in stress due to the pandemic than men (43%), and respondents in hospital medicine and primary care reported the highest increase in stress, burnout or mental health issues due to COVID-19 (57% and 55%, respectively), with those in anesthesia, psychiatry and OB/GYN closely following.

Further, 61% of respondents say they expect to see more mental health issues arise in their patients – and many are already seeing it.

“As providers across the country address the immediate demands from the pandemic, another crisis is revealing itself,” said Chris Franklin, president, LocumTenens.com. “Our healthcare providers are working tirelessly to help patients manage their skyrocketing anxiety levels, while simultaneously trying to manage their own. At LocumTenens.com, we are committed to partnering with healthcare organizations to ensure they have the tools they need to help prevent and treat physician burnout, so their clinicians can, in turn, continue to care for patients.”

Telehealth on the Rise

Since the beginning of the pandemic, technology has enabled clinicians to provide remote care for their patients. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents say they or their organizations have increased their use of telehealth services.

Though telehealth has increased care access amid the crisis, with behavioral health issues on the rise, the majority (58%) say they are unsure how their organizations will be equipped to care for an expected surge in mental health patients. Twenty-one percent say they will institute telemedicine programs.

“The pandemic has encouraged hospitals and practice administrators to tap into the value of telepsychiatry for their patients,” added Kevin Thill, executive vice president, LocumTenens.com. “With at-home treatments proving successful, it’s clear that social distancing doesn’t mean giving up on increasingly vital mental healthcare. In response to these needs, LocumTenens.com recently announced expanded behavioral health services. In addition to psychiatrists and advanced practitioners, we are now staffing psychologists and providing telepsychology services to hospitals and healthcare organizations.”

Delayed Patient Care Causes Worry

One of the greatest concerns many clinicians have for their patients is the worry that their patients’ health will deteriorate due to avoiding or delaying routine or preventive care. Almost three-quarters (71%) of respondents saw at least a 25% decrease in patients coming in for preventive care, with more than half (57%) of respondents seeing at least a 50% decrease.

The majority of respondents (78%) overwhemingly said patient fear of COVID-19 was the main reason they saw a decrease in appointments. In addition, a large number (63%) said their own practices canceled appointments over the same fears.

Clinician Unemployment

With elective procedures on hold and reduced healthcare visits overall, more than half of respondents (64%) said their organization experienced either furloughs or layoffs due to COVID-19. The length of time respondents had practiced medicine had no bearing on if they lost their jobs, revealing clinicians at all experience levels were affected the same when it came to layoffs and furloughs.

More than half of respondents from emergency medicine (67%), primary care (56%) and anesthesia (63%) reported they were part of organizations that either laid off staff, furloughed them or both.

The survey also found that independent practice owners are especially anxious about their fields, with 87% percent expressing concern for the future of their practices.

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted in June 2020 among a group of healthcare professionals, which included physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, CRNAs, clinical nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists and psychologists who have been placed by LocumTenens.com and those who have not. A total of 940 respondents spanning all 50 states and 35 medical/surgical specialties self-selected participation in the survey. The survey’s intent was to evaluate the current healthcare landscape amid the pandemic. Survey responses cover employment status, telehealth usage, furloughs and layoffs, the mental health of both patients and healthcare practitioners, and resuming procedures, among many other topics.

About LocumTenens.com

LocumTenens.com specializes in the temporary placement of physicians, advanced practitioners, and psychologists at healthcare facilities across the U.S. through onsite and telehealth services. As the industry’s most-visited job board, LocumTenens.com helps healthcare organizations connect with the medical professionals they need to ensure patients have access to quality care. Founded in 1995, LocumTenens.com is a leader in the healthcare staffing industry, helping place clinicians who deliver care to more than seven million patients in over 2,400 healthcare facilities in the U.S. LocumTenens.com is a Jackson Healthcare® company.

Learn more at www.locumtenens.com/about.

For LocumTenens.com media inquiries, please contact Deb Zelnio at zelnio@locumtenens.com.