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The rise of technology in intensive care scheduling

Posted on 9/4/2014 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles
The ICU is the place where critical care of patients takes place in hospitals. With Baby Boomers coming of age, there are likely to be increasing demands placed on the highly trained, specialized, and dedicated team of workers who make this unit such a healing force for patients.

Current estimates, according to The Hospitalist, are that within the next 20 or 30 years the ICU in your hospital will look and operate completely differently in order to handle the sharp rise of demand by critically ill patients and elder population, along with a reduced supply of critical care staff.

The Criticality of Intensive Care Scheduling

Among the specialty staffing for an efficiently run intensive care unit are nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, clinical specialists, pharmacists, interns, nurse practitioners, PAs, dieticians, physical therapists, and more.

The staffing needs are enough to make your head spin. It’s even more challenging when you try to create a schedule that takes into accounts hours of availability, vacation days, on-call hours, practice hours, school hours, union requirements, AGME regulations, accreditation requirements, schedule changes, and overtime hours.

This goes far beyond physician scheduling and emergency medicine scheduling. Shift scheduling in an ICU doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room. The people who come in need critical care and monitoring along with specialized care to treat a wide range of injuries, trauma, organ failure, diseases, and more. It's often a matter of life and death. Shifts must be adequately staffed to meet demand each and every shift.

It almost seems like too much for one person to handle. In fact, it probably takes one person several days of work just to get the initial schedule worked out. Then it causes countless interruptions to the flow of work in order to make corrections, plan schedule changes, and deal with on-call dilemmas as they arise.

How Can Technology Help?

Today’s shift scheduling software takes the guesswork out of physician scheduling and more in busy ICUs. This technology will prove invaluable because you can input your own scheduling and on-call needs, shift preferences, practice hours, vacation days, and more. No person is needed to correlate all the data and make it work. Other technological advances make monitoring patient vital signs easier and remotely.

Electronic records help various departments correlate information about patient care. At the rate health information technology, as a field, is growing, within the next 20 years, much of the process will be automated leaving ICU professionals to lend their support, supervision, and responses to emergencies.

Even with all the advances in technology, there will always be a need for compassionate care in critical care units. The human factor is something that machinery and automation simply cannot replace.

Which is why you need to explore the potential benefits of scheduling software and programs for all of your intensive care unit scheduling needs today – so you can streamline the scheduling process and invest more time in critical patient care instead of planning schedules.

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