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Perspectives on the locum tenens industry

In the Interim: Exploring Digital Health Advances, Consequences of Hospital Acquisitions, CMS Grants Additional Residency Slots, Telehealth Trends & More

“In the Interim” is a snapshot of the latest and most relevant news in the locum tenens industry. No repeats, less scrolling, more knowledge. Check out the articles we found most interesting for December’s roundup.

Locum Tenens Physician News: December 2021

1. Digital Health Predictions for 2022: Looking to a Brighter Future

With the COVID surge nearing record levels, health systems have adapted to accommodate numerous challenges. Amid an ongoing physician shortage, hospitals have mobilized testing and vaccination programs; rolled out robust telehealth solutions; and embraced data-driven decision making.

Dr. Charles Alessi, Chief Clinical Officer at HIMSS explores four areas of digital health predicted to increase the health and productivity of hospitals and health systems around the globe—even in a post-pandemic world.

(Healthcare IT News, December 7, 2021)

2. Physician Income Declines When Hospitals Acquire Practices, Study Shows

Corporate entities acquired almost 18,000 more practices during the last half of 2020, an almost 32% increase from years prior. The pandemic accelerated many of these buyouts, but physician compensation has dropped by 0.8% as a result. Dive deeper into the numbers, which reveal much more than just a negative monetary impact on physicians.

(Healthcare Finance, December 9, 2021)

3. Clinician Burnout is on the Rise—and EHRs Aren’t Always to Blame

Burnout was a pressing issue prior to the pandemic. With each new variant and climbing hospitalizations, burnout reaches an all-time high. It is no surprise that physicians report COVID-19 as a source of burnout – chaotic environments and uncontrollable workloads are just a few of the detrimental impacts they face each day. This new report from the KLAS Research Arch Collaborative explores the impact of COVID-19 on the well-being of all clinical staff. The percentage of nurses who are likely to leave within two years has increased from about 20% to about 25% just in the last six months.

(Healthcare IT News, December 9, 2021)

4. Why I Devoted My Life to Preventing Heart Disease in Women

Dr. Claire Donley pens a very personal article regarding how her mother’s loss inspired her decision to practice medicine. She reflects on her mother’s poor health and the fact that she suffered a heart attack at 59 years of age.

Dr. Donley writes to her mother, “I want you to know I am devoting my life as a doctor to preventing heart disease in women over 50—so nobody else loses a wonderful woman like you.” She continues with powerful words: “I help women heal from the emotional, spiritual, and physical causes of heart pain so no other child will have to bury the vibrant, loving mother from a heart attack. I’ve been told by women that I’ve already saved their lives. Your loss fuels my passion to save families.”

(KevinMD, December 10, 2021)

5. Patients Still Approve of Telehealth, but its Popularity Has Waned, Survey Finds

As the world slowed and elective surgeries were canceled, telehealth surged in popularity out of necessity. However, a recent Rock Health report shows that patients are about 10% less satisfied with virtual care than in-person interactions.

Physicians are also less satisfied with telehealth. In the last year, they report being 6% less satisfied with a virtual care model. However, almost 75% still expect to use telehealth in the future. Rock Health hypothesizes the need for personalization to maximize the effectiveness of the care model.

(Healthcare Finance, December 14, 2021)

6. White House Aims to Improve Government’s Healthcare ‘Customer Service’

A recent executive order signed by President Biden strives to improve “customer service” by improving telehealth access, maternity care for Medicaid beneficiaries, and healthcare services at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(Medpage Today, December 13, 2021) 

7. One Morning and I’d Lost My Identity as a Doctor

Mohamed Khalif, MBBS, a foreign-trained physician, created a nonprofit organization named the Washington Academy for International Medical Graduates (WAIMG) to help other international medical graduates (IMGs) overcome barriers to practicing medicine in the United States.

The group has passed legislation uniting medical schools and residency programs to discuss strategies to lift barriers for IMGs; funding an IMG assistance program; and establishing the  IMG Clinical Experience License, allowing doctors to practice under a physician until they are matched into residency.

(Medpage Today, December 16, 2021)

8. CMS is Adding 1,000 New Physician Residency Slots Over 10 Years to Address Labor Shortage

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that they are distributing 1,000 new residency slots for rural and underserved communities in 200-slot increments over five years. Since doctors are likely to practice where they complete their residencies, this initiative hopes to combat rural hospital labor shortages. The first 200-slot increment will be announced by January 31, 2023, and they become effective by July of the same year.

(Healthcare Finance, December 19, 2021)

9. Advances in Telemedicine Are on the Way in 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic forced almost immediate mainstreaming of telehealth. The healthcare landscape shifted in response, telemedicine reimbursement and licensure regulations simultaneously loosening to accommodate the needs.

Hospitals, physicians, and patients are all wondering what 2022 has in store. What will virtual care and technology look like as we transition from a Band-Aid fix to a more permanent delivery of care model. Dr. Ian Tong, chief medical officer at Included Health, offers his predictions for the future of telehealth and its integration with our current healthcare landscape.

(Healthcare IT News, December 20, 2021)


That’s it for this month’s edition of In the Interim. Stay tuned for next month’s roundup of newsworthy articles for locum tenens providers. To stay in the loop on future news, follow us on LinkedIn and sign up for our monthly email newsletter for monthly news and job search tips.