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As the heartbeat of temporary healthcare staffing, locum tenens cardiologists are integral in addressing America’s cardiology provider gaps and the needs amidst ongoing physician shortages. The American Association of Medical Colleges reported an expected deficit of 3,800 to 13,400 physicians in medical specialties like cardiology by 2034. 

Locum tenens has emerged as a potential solution to physician shortages in various medical specialties. There are many reasons why a cardiologist would pursue locum tenens, like better work-life balance, the opportunity to supplement a full-time income, or a more flexible schedule. As the interest in locum tenens cardiology grows, we can anticipate some trends to emerge, propelled by the evolving healthcare landscapes. 

In the article below, we’ve highlighted five trends we expect to see for locum tenens cardiologists in 2024. 

1. Rising Demand in Rural Areas

There have been persistent shortages of specialists in rural areas. Transportation issues, including lack of vehicle access and long travel distances for patients, may also contribute to poor access to care. Hospitals in rural areas are often critical access hospitals, and these smaller facilities have less capacity for intensive care or rehabilitation services. Locum tenens cardiologists can be a vital solution to step in and bridge the gap to care. In 2024, we expect an uptick in demand for these traveling specialists as rural hospitals lean heavily on locum tenens to provide uninterrupted cardiology services to underserved populations.

2. Telecardiology Integration

Telehealth use has surged since the COVID-19 pandemic. The following year, we expect to see more facilities incorporate telecardiology into their practices, offering remote consultations and follow-ups. The introduction of telecardiology and the use of locum tenens cardiologists can help expand a facility’s reach and the efficiency of their care delivery while helping provide critical assistance for underserved areas with severe shortages of cardiology providers.

3. Focus on Subspecialization

Heart disease is still one of the leading causes of death globally, and the need for subspecialized care is paramount. Locum tenens cardiologists can provide expertise in electrophysiology and heart failure to help address complex cases and step into facilities that might not otherwise be able to provide this level of care. 

4. Value-Based Care Initiatives

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has pushed for value-based care, which would undoubtedly influence locum tenens cardiologists. Value-based care models provide greater flexibility in reimbursed services, supporting care teams and allowing clinicians to provide clinical and social services not traditionally reimbursed that can help maintain and restore heart health in particular individuals. In 2024, locum tenens cardiologists will play a crucial role in meeting quality benchmarks and reducing readmissions, aligning their services with the value-based care models that healthcare facilities are adopting.

5. Flexible Workforce Solutions

As healthcare facilities grapple with staffing shortages and increasing levels of burnout, more and more physicians have opted to leave the healthcare field altogether. Locum tenens cardiologists are a pivotal piece of the puzzle, providing flexible workforce solutions for facilities to help mitigate staff burnout and ensure that patient care does not suffer because of these persistent staffing challenges.

A Trusted Locum Partner in Addressing Cardiology Shortages

Locum tenens cardiologists will likely play an even more significant role in the healthcare ecosystem in 2024. The dynamic nature of the healthcare workforce underlines the importance of locum tenens in maintaining high-quality cardiology services across America. As healthcare continues to evolve, locum tenens cardiologists will undoubtedly help shape the future of cardiac care.

By embracing locum tenens as part of a solution to cardiology shortages, an agency like Covelo Direct can work towards enhancing healthcare access for all. With more than 40 years of combined locum tenens experience, our expert team helps connect top-tier providers with our curated network of quality healthcare facilities nationwide. 

If you’re interested in pursuing locum tenens, check out how this career transition can benefit you, and check out some of the top jobs in your area.