Locums Digest 2: Locum Tenens Telemedicine Trends & 2020 Staffing Outlook

Locums Digest is Locumpedia’s roundup of hot topics, top stories, and social media posts of interest to the locum tenens and medical communities. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive Locums Digest before it’s published here.

Locum Tenens Industry Invests in Telemedicine

Healthcare industry data show that broader adoption of telehealth was already well underway before COVID-19 hit. According to results of a recent survey from Merritt Hawkins and the Physicians Foundation, almost half of physicians (48 percent) were treating patients through telemedicine in 2019, up from 18 percent in 2018.

Meanwhile, Staff Care’s 2020 Survey of Physician Staffing Trends, that six percent of responding healthcare facility executives or managers envisioned utilizing locum tenens providers to deliver telemedicine services in 2019. While that’s a low percentage, it represents a five-percent increase over the past five years.

Consistent with this trend, LocumTenens.com added telemedicine to its service offerings several years ago. Along with cost-effectiveness, the company cited advantages of telemedicine including better work-life balance for clinicians and increased patient access to care.

On April 29 the healthcare staffing firm announced a partnership with ViTelNet that will “bring a new dimension to LocumTenens.com’s telehealth services by using ViTel Net’s vCareCommand™ cloud platform.”

“LocumTenens.com clinicians provide fractional coverage or fill staffing voids for health systems, allowing patients access to healthcare providers wherever, whenever needed,” according to the companies’ joint news release. In addition, ViTelNet “configured its integrated solution to LocumTenen.com’s workflow specifications” to offer a seamless virtual-visit solution.

The Healthcare Staffing Story

Healthcare Best Segment for US Staffing Revenue

“As expected, healthcare led US staffing segment revenue growth in March, according to the special-edition US Staffing Industry Pulse Survey Report released by SIA [on May 13]. Firms that primarily serve the healthcare industry reported median year-over-year revenue growth of 5%; this includes median increases of twenty-five percent in travel nursing, eleven percent in allied healthcare, and nine percent in locum tenens.

“The sample size of participants in the Pulse survey is not sufficient to assume that the whole segment markets are growing at these rates, but rather reflects the set of staffing firms that participated in the survey.

“SIA’s Pulse Survey is normally conducted bimonthly, but due to global events, it is currently held monthly. This survey was conducted in April 2020 and is based on data submitted by 139 staffing companies.”

Survey: High anxiety & desire to work driving physicians, PAs, NPs

CHG Healthcare: “We surveyed more than 1,200 physicians, PAs, and NPs to get their thoughts on anxiety levels, workload, and COVID-19 restrictions. Here are the results: “Survey Report: High Anxiety and Desire to Work Driving Physicians, PAs and NPs,” May 7, 2020. Some highlights:

  • “Seventy-two percent (72%) report having slightly or significantly more anxiety since the pandemic began, while only 59% have treated a COVID-19 patient or a patient with COVID-19 symptoms.”
  • Forty-five percent (45%) reported being “very concerned” to “extremely concerned” about infecting their families with COVID-19.
  • Among respondents, half were employed full-time, 20 percent were working locum tenens, 10 percent were employed part-time, and 13 percent were recently laid off or furloughed.

CDC Tracks COVID-19 Cases Among Healthcare Providers 

MedPage Today reports, “More than 62,000 physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers in the U.S. have been infected with COVID-19 and at least 291 have died.” The CDC collected  data from 1,365,370 people, although only 21% (288,658) were identified as healthcare personnel. Among the 63,136 healthcare worker cases, death status was available for 57% (36,043).

New Report Forecasts Global Temporary Healthcare Staffing Demand

Now available from DataIntelo: “Global Temporary Healthcare Staffing Market Report, History and Forecast 2019-2026, Breakdown Data by Companies, Key Regions, Types and Application” (Report ID: 61638). 

“This report studies the Temporary Healthcare Staffing market size by players, regions, product types and end industries, history data 2014-2018 and forecast data 2019-2026; This report also studies the global market competition landscape, market drivers and trends, opportunities and challenges, risks and entry barriers, sales channels, distributors and Porter’s Five Forces Analysis.”  

Cost:

  • Mini report detailing COVID-19’s impact on the market – $399
  • Single user – $2,900
  • Multi user – $4,200
  • Corporate user – $5,500

 

Tools to Try

  • AMA Quick Guide to Telemedicine in Practice – “In an effort to keep our health care workers and patients safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Medical Association has designed resources to support physicians and practices” in implementing telemedicine, so they can continue to provide care to those who need it most. Among these is the Telehealth Implementation Playbook, which walks physicians through a 12-step process to implement real-time audio and visual visits…” (Updated April 23, 2020)
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Offers Clinician On-Call Center – This 24-hour hotline features trained CDC clinicians standing by to answer COVID-19 questions from healthcare personnel on a wide range of topics including diagnostic challenges, clinical management, and infection prevention and control. To reach this service, call 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) and ask for the Clinician On-Call Center.