Short term locum tenens for rural practice: a trial of a Japanese medical school

Aust J Rural Health. 2002 Apr;10(2):80-6.


This study investigated locum tenens dispatch to rural practices organised by a medical school. Locum tenens has not been studied previously in rural general practice, and little has been reported about locum dispatch from an academic institution. Since 1990, Jichi Medical School (JMS) has sent faculty members as locum tenens to rural practices where its graduates have been working. The details of all locum dispatches between 1990 and 1996 were reviewed and analyzed. Locum dispatches were performed 486 times for a total of 1233 days from April 1990 to March 1996. Locum relief was supplied to 15 group practices and 42 solo practices which are located throughout most of Japan. Most locum reliefs (98.1%) were short and less than one week. There was a wide variety of reasons for requesting a locum, ranging from official to personal. The three main reasons were practice support (30.5%), continuing medical education (13.8%) and physician absence (13.8%). These reasons were different between solo and group practices. Solo practices had a more diverse range of inquiries than group practices. In group practices, practice support amounted to over half of the inquiry reasons. Rural practices face a wide range of circumstances which necessitate locum dispatch. Organised locum dispatch by a medical school can provide practical support of rural practices through locum tenens dispatch.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Medically Underserved Area
  • Physicians / supply & distribution*
  • Rural Health / standards*
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Time Factors