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As the gig economy surges, on-demand workers are popping up in wider variety of industries. Trends indicate that the proportion of the U.S. workforce engaging in some form of gig arrangement will continue to increase, rising from the over one-third who are already participating. It is therefore no wonder that one of the largest slices of the nation’s economy – healthcare – is attracting more gig workers. In fact, this concept is not entirely new. Many healthcare employers have historically offered gig-like classifications and systems to help them retain a cadre of employed nurses and other professionals. Questions remain about the extent to which actual gig relationships can be effective in this vast industry. 

Fisher Phillips attorney Jacklyn Wrigley just authored an article for the firm’s Healthcare Update newsletter entitled, “Healthcare And The Gig Economy: A Marriage Of Risk And Reward.” The article discusses the benefits that a healthcare entity can receive by tapping into the gig economy to help with the delivery and administration of its services. “Ultimately, the gig economy can make healthcare staffing easier and more flexible for both the employers and the professionals they hire,” she writes. “Healthcare institutions can hire temporary workers when they are needed, and professionals can find the opportunities that best suit their needs.”

Several years ago, many people were leery of the thought of ordering personal drivers through a mobile app and getting into a car of a complete stranger. However, over time, the idea of ride-sharing through Uber or Lyft has become commonplace as the experience has proven to be safe and cost-effective.  

Roughly 3,500 miles on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the British government is contemplating an idea which will marry the national healthcare industry with the gig economy. Such an idea could send a ripple toward the United States if it bears success.

The United States is expected to see a shortage of 40,000 to 104,000 physicians by 2030. Due to this anticipated need for primary care physicians, freelance work among the healthcare industry is becoming increasingly popular. For the longest time, temporary positions could only be obtained through brokers and agencies. But dealing with these middlemen proved to be more trouble than it was worth. For physicians, it was a lengthy and time-consuming process; for healthcare providers, it was a costly endeavor just to find interested workers.

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