Medical and locum tenens groups often get compared but have distinct differences in their approach to patient care, the provider selection process, and care team integration. At Iris Telehealth, we’re a medical group facilitating telepsychiatry services to communities across the country. Our behavioral health providers work with patients and organizations to provide high-quality, value-based care. While there are unique differentiators between our approach and a locum’s approach, they are often confused.
Read on to learn more about locums, how their approach differs from a medical group solution, and how telepsychiatry can bring the best value to healthcare organizations across the U.S.
What does it mean to be a locums group?
Locums are typically used for part-time or short-term provider fills. Regionally, locums have niche groups that provide temporary work when organizations need an extra hand. For example, if a provider goes on maternity or disability leave, a locum’s group could provide a temporary fill for their position. Providers could be contracted anywhere from six to 12 months (if your organization needs a provider to serve a long-term position for your community, a locums group is probably not for you).
Locums may also be used when a healthcare organization doesn’t have adequate behavioral health support. Hospitals or health systems may work with locums groups to help supplement gaps like those left by the ongoing provider shortage. At the height of the pandemic, 85% of healthcare facilities utilized locum tenens.
While locums typically provide short-term solutions, medical groups like Iris have the staying power to make a meaningful impact on the healthcare organizations they serve.
Three distinct differences between locums and telepsych partners
Even though locums may serve as a convenient solution, achieving long-term stability can be challenging for their partners. Long-term stability takes shape in several ways – including cost, collaboration, and continuity of care. Although a challenge for locums, long-term stability is where a solution like a dedicated telepsychiatry partner shines. Let’s take a closer look at how these two approaches compare.
Cost: Locums come with a higher hourly rate for a short-term fill. Higher costs can prove difficult for organizations for obvious reasons like expense, but the extra lift of licensing and credentialing each new provider can also become tedious. With locums, your team would also have to run point on any background checks, paperwork, and reference checks that must take place.
At Iris, we manage all costs associated with recruiting, supporting, and supervising. Additionally, we handle all the licensing and credentialing to help make the implementation process as smooth as possible. By tailoring market rates, finding the best solution for your organization’s challenges, and strategizing to find the most cost-effective solution, we create an implementation process that works for everyone
Collaboration: Integration is an essential part of our approach to care. Iris providers become a seamless part of your care team, building trust and rapport with your patients and your organization. Securing this trust between providers in the same health networks creates comfort and reliability.
For locum’s, without a long-term provider solution, it’s difficult for an organization’s providers to feel like the locum’s providers are part of the team, and can make it challenging to build concrete workflows.
Continuity of care: The beauty of securing a long-term provider fit is the relationship that can build between patients and providers. When patients can see the same provider consistently, the patient experience is better. But, when organizations have high provider turnover rates, patients have to continually re-tell their stories – which can negatively impact engagement. This turnover can create distrust, increase no-show rates, and even cause a patient to convert to a clinic that provides a long-term solution.
With these components at play, working with a provider who can deliver on cost, integration, and continuity of care can be essential to your organization’s success.
The value of job matching
At Iris, job matching is an essential piece of the puzzle. When matching a provider with an organization, we take several things into consideration to ensure the match is right.
The Iris Match includes:
- Provider experience
- The mentality of the organization’s executive team
- Prescribing philosophies
- Personality match
- And much more
In contrast, most locums look at age, range, specialty, where they’re licensed, and run the standard checks – but the process stops there.
Locums can gloss over the critical details that help create stability and long-term job satisfaction. At Iris, we value clinician happiness, and we want our providers to feel good at their jobs. That’s why we take an extra step to get to know our providers, understand what they want, and learn how we can match them with an organization that meets their needs.
Additionally, our licensing and credentialing team allows us the flexibility to look outside of the state for providers who might have more pertinent experience for the position an organization is trying to fill.
Positive outcomes from a medical group approach
Partnership is a central component to a medical group’s approach to care. For Iris, it’s an essential part of who we are and what we value. From the beginning, our partners meet with key stakeholders at Iris who get to know what they’re looking for, their needs, understand their model, and understand what it takes to make a provider match successful. We’re also clinically driven and have clinical leaders that help educate our recruiters.
Based on this approach, we’ve been able to secure successful matches and drive positive outcomes for our partners, like Swope Health and Spectrum Healthcare. Together, we helped them achieve the following outcomes for their population:
- Secure the right provider match for their community
- Guarantee functioning telepsychiatry systems
- Seamless provider integration
- Increase their show rates
- And reduce their waiting list
We care about our partners and their patients. That’s why we take time to make thoughtful matches, like we did at Swope and Spectrum, to help expand care and drive better outcomes.
Where Iris fits in
At Iris, we work with you to create a long-term placement that facilitates continuity of care for your patients and care team. We provide support along the way to help with implementation and customized workflows and assist your care team with licensing and credentialing.
If you would like to talk more about how we can help your organization secure a long-term provider fit, contact us today.