How Locum Tenens Can Help Address – and Improve – Social Determinants of Health

Many underserved communities have economic and social conditions that adversely affect their ability to access the types of healthcare they need when they need it.  

Using locum tenens professionals at your facility can help lessen the gaps in healthcare access, helping your hospital/healthcare center address the social determinants of health if used in community outreach rural/inner city medicine and more.  

Nearly 20 percent of U.S. residents live in rural areas. These regions also are becoming more diverse.  

Yet the health disparities between urban area and their rural counterparts is wide…and expanding: the disparities “tripled between 1999 and 2019, with rural residents experiencing higher rates of heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer, stroke, unintentional injury, and suicide; and higher risk of maternal morbidity and mortality. Access to quality healthcare is at the heart of these issues.” 

Locum tenens professionals can help

Many residents of rural areas struggle with what are called the “social determinants of health.” They often have lower incomes than suburban or urban residents, less education, struggle with access to transportation, and often live in sub-par housing. 

All of the above can impede rural residents’ access to quality healthcare. 

Employing locum tenens healthcare pros in rural hospitals and medical facilities can help provide continuity of care not only in a more “formal” healthcare setting (such as a doctor’s office), but also via telehealth, pop-up medical/vaccination clinics, and more.  

Locums also are great assets for community outreach efforts. They can educate residents on how best to take control of their health. Health fairs, the above-mentioned screenings/clinics and other educational programs can help raise awareness and provide preventative care tips and chronic disease management strategies. 

Locums also can be terrific assets for inner-city hospitals

Inner-city residents also often have a hard time accessing healthcare services. As a National Library of Medicine article put it in 2021: 

Inner cities are characterized by inter-generational poverty, limited educational opportunities, poor health, and high levels of segregation. …. Inner-city environments are consistent with definitions of disasters causing a level of suffering that exceeds the capacity of the affected community.” 

Healthcare facilities using locums in these areas can help ensure patients receive appropriate and timely care, helping them receive the type of comprehensive healthcare wealthier residents – who often live just a few miles away – receive. 

Locum tenens healthcare pros truly can make a critical and tangible positive difference in these underserved areas by providing essential healthcare services, participating in community outreach efforts and taking some of the burden from overwhelmed full-time healthcare professionals.  

Using locums in these “critical-need” areas likely will become an increasingly important strategy for the healthcare facilities that serve these populations. 

Learn more about how SUMO Staffing and the locum tenens healthcare pros we provide can help both your patients and your full-time staff.