Why Locum Providers are the Future of Healthcare

Mar 26

Healthcare clinics and hospitals are all too familiar with the current nurse and physician shortage. Despite the desperate need for qualified healthcare professionals, many clinics and hospitals spend their time hunting to fill permanent roles, to the detriment of their patients and administration.

As a result, employing locum tenens physicians has become more widespread in hospitals and clinics. However, many companies remain hesitant to hire locum physicians, citing the high costs associated with hiring locum providers.

However, this isn’t necessarily the case.

When considering your hiring needs, you need to weigh the cost of employing a locum physician versus not having providers to fill your open positions and see your patients.

The Cost of Permanent Physicians

Often, filling a permanent physician position takes an average of 239 days, and each placement costs anywhere between $30,000 and $90,000 per role. By contrast, a locum physician placement costs only about $3,500 (although companies must also consider malpractice and licensing fees).

Even so, choosing to employ locum physicians can actually be better for your company, which is why we believe that locum tenens will be the future of healthcare recruiting.

Here’s why.

Practically speaking, the average physician brings in $1.4 million in revenue each year, meaning that every day without a physician seeing patients is a loss of over $5,000 per day. Not having any physician in a role could mean missing out of millions of dollars that could be used to hire more personnel, invest in new facilities and technology, and more.

In addition to revenue, companies must also consider other factors influencing permanent physician roles. If a company is short on physicians, it means that the physicians they have will have to work more shifts and longer hours, resulting in burnout and high turnover. Adding locum providers to cover some hours will ease the burden on permanent staff, which will in turn influence employee happiness and overall satisfaction. In fact, many locum physicians can eventually become permanent employees, which also allows you to fill open positions without any gaps.

Locum Jobs vs. Permanent Positions

By filling a permanent role with a locum physician, you’ll be able to bring in more patients who are able to get the care they need, when they need it. You’ll be able to easily expand your hospital or clinic, and will also be able to build your reputation as a result.

Ultimately, hospitals and clinics must evaluate whether “saving money” by choosing not to employ a locum physician is worth the loss of revenue, the reduced number of patients seen, and the dissatisfaction of their permanent physicians.

Using a locum physician also cuts down on the time hiring managers need to spend on finding qualified talent, especially when you work with a reputable healthcare recruiting company. Rather than spending nearly a year interviewing and credentialing physicians, you’ll have a qualified professional who will come in ready to work, and who will have an active license and updated credentials.

However, it’s worth mentioning that all healthcare recruiting companies for locum physicians aren’t created equal. Each agency charges different fees for placements, meaning you’ll need to evaluate the company carefully before making the decision to hire through them. Often, a when evaluating agency fees, the cost of employing a locum physician can actually be fairly comparable to employing a permanent physician, but the process will be faster.

Employing locum physicians is not only more cost-effective in the long run, it will also allow you to build a more sustainable facility and patient network, and also improve patient outcomes.

Learn how you can partner with Relode to fill your open jobs and schedule a demo today!

Joe Christopher, Co-Founder and CTO
Greg Kurmadas, President of Locums