With the growth of healthcare consumerism, informed hospitals and health systems are focusing on the often-overlooked nonclinical factors that consumers say play a significant role in patient satisfaction.
Healthgrades and Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) analyzed almost 7 million patient reviews and comments by Healthgrades visitors. They found that, while clinical outcomes were important to consumers, 52% of comments focused on at least one of these non-clinical factors:
• Bedside manner
Consumers say that they want to form true connections with their medical providers, the kind that extend beyond just diagnosis and treatment. They want to feel heard and valued. They want physicians to spend adequate time with them. Healthgrades users consistently referenced how a provider made them feel.
As a healthcare facility, how do you support your physicians to enable these positive experiences that consumers value?
Growing physician shortages and high rates of physician burnout can make this challenging. The locums tenens industry can help facilities improve in some key non-clinical areas, increasing patient satisfaction.
How can locums help?
Increase physician time with patients
The most important factor patients referenced in reviews was the time that a provider spends with them. Employing locum tenens physicians or advanced practice providers can free up more clinical time, allowing your providers to spend adequate time with each patient. While physicians can’t always control their appointment schedule, bringing locums providers onto a short-staffed team can keep patients from feeling rushed during an appointment.
Reduce physician burnout
Numerous studies have shown that physician burnout results in substantial professional and institutional problems. Physicians suffering from burnout often depersonalize their patients, leading to poor bedside manner, lack of compassion, and difficulty connecting with patients. Patients treated by burnt-out physicians are substantially less satisfied than patients treated by healthy peers.
Locum tenens providers can immediately reduce the workload on staff physicians and oftentimes accept less desirable rotations or call shifts, relieving existing staff.
Locum tenens providers can also step in to fully cover for a physician who needs a vacation, but has been unable to take one due to coverage needs.
Better utilize teamed care
The study shows that reviewers frequently reference their interactions with other healthcare team members, including NPs, PAs, and office staff. In many cases, patients spend as much time with advanced practice professionals as they do with the physician during their appointment. These important contributors are the Influencers in Chief of the practice.
Using traveling NP and PA advanced practice professionals to augment your staff can allow for new perspectives, fresh and energized interactions with patients, and a strong approach to teamed care.
If you’d like to learn more about staffing locum tenens at your healthcare facility, reach out to the experienced team at NEXTLocums today to request coverage.