In the News: Mar 5–12

Locum Tenens Usage Addresses Physician Shortage

A recent FierceHealthcare article discusses how 85% of health care facilities have been utilizing locum tenens to alleviate pressures caused by physician shortages and evolving care delivery models in recent years. Primarily, these services are used until a permanent physician is found to minimize physician turnover gaps. Demand exists not only for specialists and primary care physicians, but also for nurse practitioners and physician assistants. And as demand continues to outpace supply—and the aging population combined with an aging physician workforce increases demand for more specialists—workforce shortages will continue.

Over the years, an employed physician model has begun to replace traditional physician practice ownership, allowing for physicians to more easily and readily change jobs, ultimately contributing to temporary openings. In addition, this new type of employment model allows employed physicians to focus on preferred patient-focused activities and spend less time on administrative tasks.

To learn more about the dynamic changes occurring in the workforce, please read the Sg2 report Strategic Workforce Planning: Finding Focus, which offers a stepwise methodology to arrive at a valid, actionable assessment of physician need and optimal deployment.

New Partnership Enables Social Service Referrals

Another FierceHealthcare article highlights Lyft’s new collaboration with Unite Us, a social determinants of health technology company. Through the Unite Us platform, coordinated care networks connect health providers and social services, allowing providers to make referrals for social services and order on-demand rides for patients.

The platform also tracks outcomes across communities, helping companies capture the impact they are making in improving access to health and social care. With a focus on the Medicaid population, Lyft continues to address more insecurities related to transportation.

Sixty percent of health outcomes are tied to social determinants of health, and the need to address patients’ behavioral and social needs is critical. To learn more about how other health systems have partnered with community organizations to manage people’s health beyond the walls of traditional care settings, please read the Sg2 Expert Insight Improving the SDOH System of CARE: Lessons From Safety Net Providers.

New Voice Technology for Medication Adherence

A FierceHealthcare article highlights Amazon Alexa’s new feature that allows users to inquire about prescription drugs. This new element is intended to enhance the medication reminder feature rolled out in November 2019 that aims to assist users with managing their medications.

Users can now request and access drug information from any Alexa-enabled device, including—through a partnership with First Databank—recent content on drug interactions, side effects, precautions and the drug’s class. This feature is not meant to replace users’ pharmacy or medical teams, but rather to further inform users, with the idea that more knowledgeable consumers will lead to improved medication adherence and, therefore, better patient outcomes.

Amazon, Microsoft and Google are all making strides in various areas of health care, with this latest Alexa feature being focused on medication management. However, there is more to medication adherence strategies than just reminders. To learn more about creating a medication adherence program with the use of technology, read our recently published Sg2 FAQ Technology and Medication Management.

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