Healthcare administrators and locum tenens physicians share the same goal: getting doctors to work as quickly as possible with the least amount of hassle. Hospital administration has a vital role to play in this process, and one that is not is onerous as you might think. By standardizing and streamlining the onboarding process, hospitals and healthcare facilities can set up their new locum doctor for success.
1. Provide rapid and high-impact locum tenens orientation.
Throughout their education, physicians have had to rapidly acquire information (ask one sometime about the “see one, do one, teach one” model of learning). As a result, orientation does not need to be a time-intensive process. On the first day, locum tenens need to know where to park, where to report, and where key departments are. Key departments include the emergency department, radiology, intensive care units, and perhaps the clinical laboratory. Someone at the facility should be tasked with introducing the locum tenens provider to colleagues, nursing staff, and social workers in their immediate work area. Unless the locum tenens is required to respond to codes, a detailed map of the entire complex will suffice instead of a formal tour (although this can be helpful if time allows).
2. Streamline credentialing and IT access.
Systems research has revealed that one of the key choke points to onboarding locum tenens physicians is the credentialing process. Locum tenens physicians (and even new permanent physicians) spend considerable amount of time obtaining IDs and IT credentials and passwords required to do their jobs. To speed things along, hospital administrators can ensure that as much of the credentialing process is done before the locum tenens physician arrives on site. Ideally, the credentialing process should be as easy as taking a picture for an ID badge—key codes and all relevant logins and initial passwords, and pagers should be included in the locum tenens’ orientation packet.
While you may think assigning an IT professional to teach the locum tenens physician the ins and outs of your local EMR is helpful, in general, it’s not. The EMR orientation provided by the IT staff is usually too detailed and slow moving for most locum tenens physicians. Instead, colleagues on a particular service should be encouraged (told) to give the locum tenens physician a quick primer on the system. This primer should focus on the screens that are important for the physician’s work including how to write orders and electronic prescriptions, write/dictate notes, and access lab and radiology results. Staff physicians are usually happy to help, and the process is faster and less frustrating if the IT department is not directly involved.
3. Prepare an extensive but concise orientation packet.
Hospital administrators do not need to spend days on end orienting a locum tenens physician for that locum tenens to be successful. However, it is important to create a comprehensive and somewhat personalized orientation packet for each locum tenens physician. The locum tenens must have a set of resources available to reference when questions inevitably arise.
At a minimum, a locum tenens welcome packet should include:
- A detailed map of the complex, including places to park and get food
- A map of the area surrounding the hospital/healthcare facility
- Personalized credentials and IT logins
- A concise, pocket-sized hospital directory with numbers for all departments, units, and facilities
- “Cheat sheets” for key automated services such as dictation, paging, EMR, physician orders, etc.
Hospital administrators can set up their new locum tenens for success by following these three simple tips. They will be able to get the locum tenens physician working on the floor faster, saving time and frustration for everyone involved.
If you would like to learn more about the onboarding process for locum tenens physicians or have questions about hiring a locum tenens professional, contact the locum tenens experienced team at NEXTlocums.