When a schoolteacher is sick, the administration calls in a substitute as a temporary replacement. When a hospital or medical faciity needs a substitute physician, they call for a locum tenens doctor or physician's assistant. Locum tenens is from the Latin for "to hold the place of" and refers to any doctor who is called in to work on a temporary basis. The need for locum tenens physicians hasn't been so much a steady rise as an explosion. Since 2002, the number of U.S. physicians working as locum tenens had nearly doubled from 26,000 to 48,000 in 2016 or 5% of the physician workforce. When it comes to stroke physicians, the need is even more dire because of the necessity of immediate care for stroke patients. There are clearly benefits to hiring locum tenens stroke physicians and here are some of the most common.
Covers Gaps in Care
The most obvious benefit to hiring locum tenens is that the physician can cover gaps in patient care that might arise from illness, career turnover, or vacation time. There is currently a shortage in health care providers. A nationwide survey of health care facilities revealed that there may be a shortage of 125,000 providers in the U.S. by 2025. Locum tenens doctors can help fill those gaps. Additionally, doctors are known for working long and punishing hours but too much of that difficult schedule can burn a person out. It's important that physicians have regular vacation time to rest and recuperate. But there is no vacation time for patients, especially stroke patients. A patient experiencing a stroke has a three-hour window from the onset of symptoms to the time they can receive an effective stroke-preventing treatment called Alteplase IV r-tPA or TPA. Hiring locum tenens stroke doctors can ensure that care is there when it's needed.
Improves Patient Satisfaction
The natural consequence of covering gaps in patient care is that patients are more satisfied with the level of care they're receiving at their health institution. It also ensures that the doctors serving those patients are better rested and well equipped to handle their workload, which in-turn also improves patient satisfaction. According to a Medicare evaluation, the most important factor in a patient's satisfaction with their physician isn't the physician's full-time or temporary work status or even the physician's knowledge of his or her field, it's attitude. If the patient feels like that doctor is working hard to take care of them, they are more satisfied.