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Employer Resources / Locum Tenens / 3 Tips for a Strong Locum Tenens Strategy at Your Hospital

Ensuring your healthcare facility is staffed with highly professional, quality-driven individuals can be daunting. Working with locum tenens providers has proven to be a beneficial solution for many hospitals and health systems; however, recent trends suggest that healthcare executives would like to reduce their reliance on these premium providers. Despite their desire, using locum tenens to supplement core staffing in times of increased demand is undoubtedly part of every healthcare executive's workforce strategy, as "Eighty-five percent of healthcare facilities have used locum tenens in the past year to fill gaps caused by a shortage of physicians.

By understanding how to manage locum tenes arrangements, hospitals and health systems can more effectively use and benefit from them. This blog post will review three best practices for executing an effective locums strategy at your healthcare organization.

Leverage workforce analytics to establish the right balance of locum tenens, per diem, and permanent clinical labor.

Workforce analysis is an integral component of effective healthcare operations. Balancing locum tenens, per diem, and permanent staff is crucial in managing your clinical labor needs. By leveraging workforce analytics, you gain insights into the utilization patterns of your team, examine the cost-effectiveness of each labor type, and determine the optimal mix of locum tenes, per diem, and permanent clinicians. 

Furthermore, you can layer patient population data in your workforce planning strategy, analyzing patterns in patient demand for different healthcare services to prepare for increased utilization. A data-driven approach to healthcare workforce management gives hospitals and health systems flexibility while protecting their operational and financial stability. Leveraging workforce analytics empowers healthcare organizations to optimize their workforce and consistently improve patient outcomes.

Establish clear guidelines and expectations for locum tenens healthcare providers before they begin.

As a healthcare facility, it's crucial to establish clear guidelines and expectations for locum tenens healthcare providers before they begin. One of the critical considerations is credentialing and compliance, ensuring that all required certifications and licenses are in place before the provider starts working. Verification also plays a significant role in this process, ensuring that the locum tenens professional has the necessary experience in the relevant domains. Additionally, setting clear pay rates and payment schedules for your contract providers can help prevent confusion or disputes regarding payroll and timesheets once the provider starts their contract.

Once these details are sorted, a transparent and standardized onboarding process that familiarizes the provider with your organization's policies, procedures, and culture will create a smooth experience for the contract provider, your current staff, and your patients. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your locum tenens healthcare providers are set up for success and provide quality patient care.

Develop relationships with locum tenens healthcare providers to make them feel welcome and supported.

For successful partnerships with locum tenens providers, embracing total workforce management is essential. Seeing your locum tenens and other temporary clinical staff as a valued part of your workforce increases their engagement, helps the entire organization see their impact, and improves communication and transparency.

Furthermore, many hospitals and health systems have implemented human experience management (HXM) strategies that embrace their employees for more than their skill set and experience. Building community and support will make your locums feel welcome, comfortable, and respected. This will nurture a deeper connection between the provider, your hospital, and the community, ultimately leading to higher-quality patient care.

Final Thoughts

Despite hospitals and health systems wanting to reduce their use of locum tenens providers, they remain an integral part of the healthcare workforce. Therefore, organizations must prioritize effectively managing locums arrangements to make the most of them without resulting in huge costs or unreliable assignments. By embracing workforce analytics, setting clear guidelines and expectations, and welcoming them as a part of your organization, any healthcare organization can have cooperative, effective, and quality relationships with locums tenes providers. 

With DirectShifts' wealth of experience managing dynamic hospital staffing models, you can access all these capabilities while quickly filling open shifts with qualified clinicians. We can help you enact efficiencies in today's intensifying environment so you can focus on what matters most: patient care.

Jake Behnke
Post by Jake Behnke
May 31, 2023


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