By Debra Wood, RN, contributor May 14, 2021
New research shows
multiple benefits with locum hospitalist services
medicine patients receiving care from locum tenens hospitalists had shorter
stays and lower hospital costs without increasing readmissions or mortality,
according to a study published January 2021 in Journal
of General Internal Medicine.
directors often have concerns locums are not familiar with the workflow in
their hospitals and don’t provide good care, so we looked into that,” said lead author Moaath K. Mustafa Ali, MD,
MPH, at the University of Toledo/Promedica Toledo Hospital, Toledo, Ohio, and the
Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore,
“It was totally the opposite,” Ali continued.
Locum physicians “provide hospitals cost savings without an increased risk of
readmission or death.”
Learn more: What is locum tenens?
Locum tenens deliver quality care
and colleagues conducted the research after finding no prospective studies
comparing outcomes in patients treated by employed hospitalists and locum
hospitalists. The researchers also compared results for teaching internal
medicine services and nonteaching hospitalists and found shorter stays with the
study included 1,273 adult admissions, with a mean patient age of 61 years.
Fifty-two percent were women. The study period occurred pre-pandemic, from
February to April 2019, and took place at the 800-bed Promedica Toledo hospital,
a tertiary facility in Ohio, serving urban and suburban communities.
Patients treated exclusively by a locum hospitalist
had a 1.2-day shorter length of stay, with an average hospital cost savings of
$1,339 per patient.
The researchers suggested that one reason for the
outcome is the high professional standards to which locum tenens physicians are
Also, Ali said, locum physicians want to leave a
“There is a lot of competition,” Ali said. “They
get rated by the medical directors. They want to do a good job, so they get
called back.”Because of the cost savings and shorter stays with
locum tenens hospitalists, the researchers conclude that “it might be
inaccurate to label locum physician care as ‘expensive.’”
Locum tenens solve issues around changes in demand
50,000 hospitalists practice in the United States, most commonly in internal
medicine. A growing demand exists for locum tenens physicians, especially
during the COVID-19 pandemic, when hospitals were short staffed, Ali said.
bringing in locums, he said, employed hospitalists do not need to see as many
patients. That’s particularly important when dealing with a surge in patients.
For instance, in many areas of Florida, hospital censuses increase when
“snowbirds” are in state.
are efficient,” Ali said. “If you need someone, it is better to bring in a
85 percent of U.S. healthcare facility managers had relied on locum tenens
physicians in 2019 and 25 percent had used locum hospitalists, according to the
Staff Care’s 2020 Survey of Temporary Physician
Staffing Trends. Hospitalists were the second highest in demand, after primary
Locum tenens hospitalists can also reap benefits
If you are a physician who has thought about
working locum tenens assignments. Staff Care has dozens of locum hospitalist positions available across the United
States. Opportunities include working with adults or children, in large or
smaller facilities, and day-shift or nocturnist positions. Some positions are
“crisis response” placements.
While most positions are full-time, locum tenens
physicians often can work part-time, in addition to their permanent employment,
picking up some extra money to pay off medical school debt or take a nice
vacation. Locum positions can help providers gain valuable experience, and
full-time travel assignment include paid housing and travel expenses, among
Employers, typically, are seeking locum
tenens physicians with experience and board certification or eligibility.
recent Journal of General Internal
Medicine study affirms the good care that locum tenens hospitalists
provide. Physicians working locums tenens can take pride in their care and
hospitals can rest assured hiring a locum hospitalist will deliver good care to
locum hospitalist jobs across the U.S.
Employers: Accelerate your
hospital’s recovery from COVID-19 with new staffing solutions.
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