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Is it time to replace your on call scheduling software

Posted on 4/10/2019 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles
Will replacing your current on-call scheduling software help improve your overall efficiency and improve patient care? If you're not sure if it's time to upgrade your physician scheduling program, you may want to ask yourself some questions.

1. Do you require greater automation for your ER department?

Often, software automation only builds a part of the schedule successfully and isn’t maintained as your practice grows. This can be an issue if you started with a 100 person practice and have evolved into a 190 person practice that has new rules around coverage and locations. If the rules aren't maintained in your emergency medicine scheduling system, you could end up with a situation where the automation is building on the wrong rules.

2. When you need to get a hold of your on-call staff fast, are you finding you're spending time searching schedules sifting through spreadsheets or on whiteboards to find the doctors you require?

On call shift scheduling should combine real-time shift calendars with on-call notification integration. It should allow you to keep track of a rotating schedule or a single day schedule using multiple calendar views. You should be able to set quotas to meet minimum staffing requirements based on how many employees you have, certification, role, skills and other demographic features. Your on-call scheduling software should help you manage your staff better while getting the right message to the right doctor when you need to.

3. Can your doctors swap schedules electronically?

A lot of programs have schedule swap capability built right in, but often they're just basic and only take requests for editing the schedule. Your physician scheduling software should consider the entire transaction. There are a few areas you should be watching for rule breaks to ensure you have the proper structure of compatibility. Take for example:

If you have one provider swap their on-call shift for another provider's weekend night shift, they will then likely require the following day off, but they could still work the following night.

You don't want providers swapping into conditions that are suboptimal or aren't allowed. For instance, you don't want a non-exempt doctor grabbing a shift that will move them into overtime and will move the other doctor into undertime.

Rules should take physician specialties into account. So, if you have a pediatric cardiac doctor requiring a shift covered, you'll want to ensure the doctor who picks the shift up is experienced in that specific medical specialty.

Bottom line, you don't want a program that simply accepts requests. You want every element of a shift and the implications of the post-shift to be considered.

4. Can your doctors make requests within the schedule directly?

Requests include open shifts requiring coverage, vacation and on-call shifts. Your providers should have the ability to choose on-call shifts when it's convenient with their personal schedule.

When upgrading to a new on-call scheduling system, you'll want to choose one that's capable of enforcing parameters and rules sensibly and appropriate to your needs.

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