Survey: More Locum Doctors Set to Become Available in Near Future

Survey: More Locum Doctors Expected to Become Available in Near Future

A new survey from The Physicians Foundation and Merritt Hawkins — a leading physician recruitment firm and, like Staff Care, a fellow company of AMN Healthcare — offers a wealth of data relevant to today's healthcare employers, including this nugget: More locum doctors will likely be available in the years to come, as a larger number of physicians indicate they'll be pursuing locum tenens work in the years to come.

Entitled the "Survey of America’s Physicians: Practice Patterns and Perspectives," the survey is the latest edition of a bi-annual effort by the two organizations, which contacted 17,236 actively working doctors to compile this information. Among a wide range of other findings, the survey found that "11.5% of physicians plan to work as locum tenens in the next one to three years," as Staffing Industry Analysts explains in its summary of the findings. "That’s up from a similar survey in 2014 when only 9.1% of physicians said the same."

Among doctors aged 45 and younger, 12.8% said they "planned to work as a locum tenens in the next one to three years. That compares to 10.8% of physicians 46 and older who said the same."

"Also, a greater percentage of male physicians, 12.3%, than female physicians, 9.7%, said they planned to work as locum tenens," the SIA report adds. "And 12.4% of primary care physicians said they planned to work as locum tenens compared to 11.0% of specialists."

Increase in Locum Doctors Result of Evolving Practice Styles

So, what's creating the increase of locum doctors in the healthcare workforce? A number of factors, explains the report.

"Practice styles also are evolving," the original survey states. "Though physicians continue to practice traditional, full-time, inpatient and outpatient medicine, many doctors are choosing alternative practice styles, such as part-time practice, inpatient only positions, administrative-only positions, and temporary (locum tenens) work."

On top of that, the survey, billed as "one of the largest physician surveys ever completed in the United States," reflects "a portrait of an evolving physician workforce whose practice styles and attitudes are changing," survey authors note.

Enormously wide-ranging, the Survey of America’s Physicians: Practice Patterns and Perspectives" includes information that goes far beyond estimates of future locum doctors. Other data of immediate use to healthcare employers includes:

  • 80% of doctors are overextended or are at capacity, lacking time to see more patients
  • 48% of doctors say their time with patients "is always or often limited"
  • 46.8% of surveyed doctors are planning to "accelerate their retirement plans"
  • 27% of doctors either don't see Medicare patients, or limit the amount
  • 36% either don't see or limit the number of Medicaid patients

To access this information firsthand, you can request your complimentary copy of the Survey of America’s Physicians: Practice Patterns and Perspectives at the Merritt Hawkins website.

If you're seeking locum doctors to supplement your healthcare team, we invite you to fill out a staffing request form here, or contact us directly here.

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