Cardiology is the second busiest specialty for physician moonlighters at Moonlighting Solutions (second only to hospitalists). The growing demand for cardiovascular care, coupled with shortages of cardiologists, creates many staffing and call coverage challenges for cardiology service lines and healthcare leaders across the country, especially in areas where the physician shortages and care demands are most extreme.
MedAxiom's most recent Cardiovascular Provider Compensation Survey reveals that today, there are more cardiologists over the age of 60 than ever before. The aging physician population increases retirement rates, turnover, and decreases productivity of some more experienced physicians as they wind down their practices and slow down their call coverage volume when approaching retirement.
In light of all these demands and challenges, wouldn't it be great to be able to offer your staff physicians a better quality of life and allow them to slow down their call coverage, without impacting productivity levels or patient care? This is where moonlighting can make a positive impact and help resolve a number of cardiology staffing challenges and meet increased demand for patient care.
Implementing a team of part-time, long-term physician moonlighters into your cardiology service line can alleviate many coverage gaps and scheduling challenges, as well as potentially help prevent or reduce physician burn-out by providing physicians with more nights and weekends off on a consistent basis.
Giving your staff physicians just one or two additional weekends off during the month for example, and/or nights off, allows staff physicians to rest and recharge, and to enjoy a more conducive work-life balance. In turn, physicians will likely be happier, less likely to burn-out, and in turn will be able to provide a higher quality of care more consistently.
Onsite moonlighters also allow aging physicians to slow down their call rotation duties, without impacting their physician colleagues or patients. A heavy call rotation increases attrition and makes recruitment of FTE cardiologists more difficult.
Providing coverage for STEMI call is another area of cardiovascular care whereby implementing moonlighters can make a relatively quick and significant impact to the service line. Utilizing moonlighters to assist staff physicians in the STEMI call rotation increases productivity and improves care. This makes life much easier for your staff cardiologists. Due to the often demanding nature of call duties for interventional cardiologists, combined with widespread shortages of these physicians, implementing physician moonlighters can help systems manage their cath lab volumes without the expense of hiring additional FTE cardiologists. Moonlighting coverage can prevent loss of patient volume caused by avoidable patient referrals out to other systems for cardiology care.
Providing remote care via telehealth technology int he cardiology department can help fill in coverage gaps during a physician shortage or help manage a surge in patient volume. Telemedicine allows you to extend cardiologists' reach to rural populations and/or medical underserved patient populations.
Virtual specialty clinics are a valuable telehealth resource for providing specialty care when a cardiologist is not available to be on-site. Virtual specialty clinic patients simply schedule visits with a remote cardiologist as if he or she is on-staff and on-site. When it’s time for the appointment, the patient goes to the designated office (a primary care practice, or other office space within your system) where tests can be conducted by clinicians at the office and communicated to the virtual cardiologist scheduled for appointments for that day.
Many patients treated by virtual moonlighters have never been treated by a specialist before. Not only does this benefit the patient population, it benefits the health system. Most physicians report that providing virtual care to medically underserved populations is extremely rewarding. They also like that they can provide this invaluable care without traveling or relocating.
Remote reading of cardiology test results (such as ECHOs and EKGs) is another way that virtual care can supplement your cardiology department and help support your full-time cardiologists.
We are proud to be an industry partner of MedAxiom. If you are a member of MedAxiom, you may be eligible for special incentives when you contract with us for any new moonlighting service lines with Moonlighting Solutions.
In addition to cardiology and hospital medicine, we provide physician moonlighters in almost any specialty. Our other top specialties are primary care, pulmonology/critical care, neurology, and psychiatry.
Contact Mike Guenther today and be sure to mention MedAxiom and this article, to discuss your coverage needs. Our team will consult with you to create a customized staffing plan that meets the unique challenges of your department.
Email: mike [dot] guenther [at] moonlightingsolutions [dot] com or submit a request for information online.