Locum Tenens + Telehealth: Expanding Care & Increasing Physician Satisfaction

Before the pandemic, telehealth made up less than 1 percent of visits across all specialties. COVID-19 accelerated demand for these services, immediately increasing in 2020 to 8 percent of primary care visits and 3 percent of specialty care visits. 

A Low-Cost, High Service Solution

While many organizations have committed to offering telehealth as an option to their patients, the long-term uncertainty of reimbursement levels has other healthcare providers hesitant about investing in the technological and clinical infrastructure needed to maintain telehealth programs. 

However, with the right solutions and talent partner, telehealth is a low-cost, highly productive option of delivering care that is the perfect complement to traditional settings. 

Benefits of telehealth include:

  • Enhancing Patient Access: Increases patient access, especially for remote facilities that lack direct access to specific physicians or specialists 
  • Expanded Services: Ability to offer additional services and points of contact
  • Managing At-Risk & Chronic Care Populations: Enables organizations to conveniently provide ongoing management of chronic care patient populations, reducing readmissions and ER visits
  • Better Communication: With 350 languages spoken and one in five people speaking a language other than English in homes in the United States, telehealth integrated with language services helps caregivers ensure understanding of diagnoses and care instructions while increasing inclusion

Managing In-Person and Telehealth During a Physician Shortage

With a shortage of physicians across the country, many organizations are turning to experienced locum tenens providers -- physicians and advanced practitioners -- to staff telehealth roles in specialties such as internal medicine, primary care, radiology, behavioral health and cardiology.

Organizations are drawn to these professionals because of the flexibility to work full-time or part-time – for a range of a few days to up to six months or more – in all major clinical specialties. Additionally, locum tenens and advanced practice providers are willing to fill shifts an organization’s employed physicians typically prefer not to carry, such as after-hours coverage, which help to reduce burn-out and improve satisfaction levels. An Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality funded project found that more than half of primary care physicians report feeling stressed because of time pressures and other work conditions.

Proven Quality Care

According to Staff Care’s 2020 Survey of Temporary Physician Staffing Trends, 73% of healthcare leaders reported the main benefit locum tenens providers deliver is continual quality treatment of patients. Recent studies from the Journal of General Internal Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association support that patients can expect to receive the same quality of care whether they are interacting. with a staff physician or a locum tenens provider.

With locum tenens physicians and advanced practice providers providing the backbone of your telehealth and virtual care offerings, you can remove the physical barriers between patients and care providers, resulting in greater access to care, increasing touchpoints, and improving patient satisfaction and outcomes while reducing rehospitalizations and stress on your employed physicians.

Learn more about how AMN Healthcare locum tenens telehealth providers can help you better serve your community.

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