“The doctor is out.” No one wants to hear those words when they arrive at the hospital for urgent care. That’s why hospitals work tirelessly to ensure that they’re always staffed. But the process is still difficult and lengthy. Positions may stay open for much too long, and in the meantime, patients go without proper treatment while staff are burdened. With the U.S. facing a looming shortage of physicians (between 40,800 and 104,900 by 2030), those vacancies are sure to grow longer and more frequent.
That’s why hospitals are turning to locum tenens physicians now more than ever. In 2016, 94 percent of surveyed healthcare facility managers reported using locum tenens physicians within the past 12 months; 75 percent of those reported using locum tenens while looking for permanent doctors.
With efficiency and patient care as your goal, the last thing you need is for the search for locum tenens to be as time-consuming as the actual hiring process. It’s important, then, to ensure that you are using the best processes. Rather than resorting to traditional methods to hire locum tenens, it’s time for you to ally yourself with an appropriate vendor management system (VMS). This way, you’ll find reliable results come much faster.
The Old, Slow Way
Cast a net, and you’ll discover no shortage of locum tenens recruitment agencies. You may be tempted to start combing through them. You may even scramble to sign an exclusive deal with the first agency to deliver a good pitch.
Finding “the right” agency can take days or weeks — time that doesn’t typically exist in healthcare. The process of researching, communicating with, receiving, and reviewing pitches from, negotiating with, and paying agencies can be arduous. Not to mention credentialing, which 50 percent of physicians cite as a time-consuming drawback.
That’s why many hospitals tend to eagerly contract themselves immediately, rather than repeat the agency search process, only to lose more time. Many partnerships are matches made in heaven — but others are not. Hospitals should be able to ensure these contracts truly serve their best interests.