Telehealth Plus Locum Tenens: A Winning Formula for Enhanced Patient Access During Healthcare Labor Shortages

In the face of an evolving healthcare landscape and challenges brought on by a labor shortage affecting the nation, healthcare organizations are increasingly seeking innovative strategies to not only cut costs but also maintain a high standard of patient care.

When considering this approach, the integration of telehealth solutions and a locum tenens workforce has emerged as a dynamic duo that significantly enhances patient access while positioning healthcare entities ahead of the competition. In this article, we delve into the symbiotic relationship between telehealth and locum tenens, showcasing real-world case studies that highlight the transformative power of contingent labor and telehealth.

Telehealth: Expanding Access to Specialized Care, and Bringing Care Close to Home


Telehealth has revolutionized the way healthcare is delivered, offering a lifeline to patients who have barriers to in-person consultations. One notable case study from demonstrates the effectiveness of a hybrid telehealth model in improving access to specialized care, particularly in the field of oncology—a medical specialty traditionally associated with in-person patient touchpoints. By seamlessly blending virtual consultations with traditional in-person visits, this model not only optimized resource allocation but also ensured that the patient base received expert care without the constraints of geographical limitations. This hybrid approach enables healthcare organizations to leverage the expertise of qualified specialists regardless of their physical location, providing patients with a level of care previously deemed unattainable.

The power of telehealth is further demonstrated by a case study wherein telehealth services were extended to multiple specialties including cardiology, infectious disease,  psychiatry, and nephrology. This initiative, supported by a telehealth program involving thirteen specialized physicians and spanning 22 separate locations across multiple states, exemplifies the viability of telehealth in bringing essential medical services directly where those needs exist. By transcending geographical boundaries, healthcare organizations can cater to a broader patient base, ensuring that even underserved regions receive the medical attention they require from. Rural locations are not the only ones suffering from lack of access; some of these programs took place in metropolitan areas that were not able to get highly specialized care on a consistent basis.

Locum Tenens Workforce: Flexibility and Quality Matchmaking Lead to Uninterrupted Care

Source: The Future of Work: Redefining the Role of Physicians in the Gig Economy


The locum tenens workforce has emerged as a vital pillar of flexibility in the healthcare sector. In a case study featuring a historic psychiatric facility facing workforce challenges, locum tenens professionals played a pivotal role in maintaining essential psychiatric care during a period of transition. This highlights the importance of locum tenens as a strategic solution for sustaining healthcare operations, especially in times of retirements, recruitment gaps, or unexpected staff shortages. 

In rural settings, where recruiting permanent healthcare professionals can be a daunting task, locum tenens staffing proves to be invaluable. Another case study showcasing one rural facility's success story emphasizes the role of locum tenens in quality matchmaking to ensure continued care. By seamlessly integrating locum tenens clinicians into night schedules, the facility's talent acquisition team was empowered to focus on filling permanent roles, ensuring uninterrupted care for the local community.

The Synergy of Telehealth and Locum Tenens

However, the real magic happens when telehealth and locum tenens are combined strategically. In a case study focused on restoring primary care services, an innovative hybrid model empowered by telehealth and locum tenens advanced practice providers (APPs) enabled a healthcare organization to serve multiple locations within their health system. This approach, driven by the symbiosis of virtual consultations and on-ground locum support, exemplifies the potency of these solutions in addressing complex challenges.

Crafting Tailored Staffing Strategies

As the perception of locum tenens as a mere "fill-in" solution gives way to its true value as a critical component of effective healthcare workforces, healthcare organizations must adopt a nuanced approach to staffing strategies that accounts for the versatility of contingent labor. The dynamic landscape of healthcare staffing demands customized solutions that acknowledge the individual realities of each healthcare organization and facility. This is where locum tenens providers excel. However, when telehealth and locum tenens are orchestrated harmoniously, they become a secret weapon for healthcare entities striving against the turmoil of retention and hiring obstacles. 

Telehealth factors strongly into the workforce solutions crafted by for a variety of hospitals, clinics, and group practices of various sizes. We know that, although healthcare organizations across the board are looking for ways to reduce operating costs while offering better care for their patients, no solution is one-size-fits-all. That’s why our telehealth team includes a clinical expert on staff to analyze and custom tailor telehealth and hybrid solutions that reflect the realities of each client. By embracing this synergy between telemedicine and a contingent workforce component, healthcare organizations can not only address labor shortages but also emerge as leaders in patient access and quality healthcare.

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