Lucidity is a new online service, unveiled during the weekend, that bridges clinical practices with physicians that are interested in locums. As some of you might know, getting locum help is cumbersome and quite expensive. According to Rob Scott, MD, MBA, a former ER physician who’s been developing Lucidity with a group of investors for the last two years, locum agencies charge up to 30% markup for finding locums. Dr. Scott tells Medgadget that the figure comes from SEC fillings by publicly traded companies such as AMN Healthcare Services. It’s physicians who are losers in the current scheme of things: this premium money is paid by physicians’ groups that seek the help of other physicians.
Medgadget was given an early opportunity to check out the Lucidity service, and we were quite impressed. Dr. Scott and his team designed what we think is a seamless intelligent service that eliminates many hassles of traditional locum tenens agencies.
The Lucidity system allows physicians to bargain for rates and specify desired working days or weeks, while location can be selected on the radar (i.e. within 100 miles or in a specific state). Thus, the physician can choose the place, time, and demand their own rates. On the other hand, the practice can post the needed times and negotiate with physicians directly on rates, with offer/counter offer period being limited to three days. Furthermore, Lucidity is designed to allow clinicians to negotiate variable rates for different shifts. According to the company, its service could attract a whole new set of clinicians: not only those who make their living from locums, but also those who are interested in an occasional gig, for example over the weekend or during vacation, without dealing with traditional locum agencies. So, no more agents who pester you with this or that unique opportunity.
The signup for physicians and groups is easy: the service independently verifies medical credentials of every physician and the paperwork is done online within a system (think Docusign for credentials packet, etc) or, upon request, the paperwork could be received offline for filing. (Dr. Scott tells Medgadget that Lucidity has 24×7 support for all issues related to its service and its physicians). Clinicians can use their own malpractice insurance, and if not, Lucidity will provide one.
How much does the service cost? For locum physicians, the service is free. They get the rate they’ve negotiated. For clinical groups and hospitals and centers, according to Dr. Scott, the fee is a negotiable “credit card model”: there is a fee for every transaction and a percentage is charged on top. He tells Medgadget the percentage is a “single digit to low double digit,” depending on the need and location. To our ears, sounds better than the current 30% premium.
All in all, the Lucidity team put a lot of smart thinking into its service. It’s certainly not the first website to offer direct locum opportunities – Nomad Health, a service co-founded by Kevin Ryan, founder of Business Insider and Gilt Groupe, comes to mind as a potential competitor. But with the competition growing, we hope the beneficiaries will be doctors and doctors’ groups.