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Scheduling medical staff during a crisis such as a pandemic

Posted on 5/13/2020 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles

The evolving public healthcare crisis surrounding the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) brings up a lot of questions regarding how healthcare organizations can manage proper levels of staffing to provide sufficient care.

Maintaining adequate healthcare facility staffing is important to provide a safe work atmosphere for patient care and healthcare staff. Staffing shortages, increased hours, and expanded responsibilities will most likely occur with the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic due to healthcare provider exposures, sickness, or the need for taking care of family members. Your healthcare facility must be prepared for possible staffing shortages and have processes and plans in place for mitigating these, including offering the resources for assisting healthcare providers with stress and anxiety.

When you anticipate staff shortages you should collaborate with human resources, healthcare facilities, and occupational health services to use contingency capacity methods for planning and preparing to mitigate this issue. It’s key to:

Understand your staff's needs. Know your staff's shortages, expanded responsibilities, increased hours, burnout, and the minimum number of physicians you need to offer safe patient care and a safe work environment.

• Communicate with local organizations. This includes healthcare coalitions, state, federal, and local public health partners (i.e. response staff and public health emergency preparedness) for identifying additional healthcare providers (i.e. recruiting retired HCP, hiring additional HCP, using volunteers and students), when required.

• Regulate sleep/work schedules. It's important your physicians can perform their medical duties at the very best. For this to be possible, it's essential your doctors or entire healthcare staff get adequate sleep. You can work with charge nurses, medical directors, floor nurses or other leaders to set up and put to use a mandatory sleep/rest period for the team and each physician.

• Organize teams. This is usually three to five individuals, for ease of operations, and to put in place scaling up care as there is an increase in cases to offer high-quality patient care and for supporting each other for signs of being overworked, illness or injury. Some examples of teams that have made adjustments for this crisis are prone to positioning teams, intubation teams and extra cardiac code teams.

• Provide backup support. When in crisis situations, as we are currently in with the pandemic, having backup support is key. Healthcare staff could get ill on a moment's notice, and you’ll need to factor this into your healthcare staffing scheduling.
One way to implement these strategies is to use shift scheduling software. Physician scheduling software is a cloud-based application that allows you to benefit from innovative technology that provides certain features to streamline the scheduling process. This cutting-edge approach automates and simplifies the complexity of scheduling healthcare staff.

As a scheduling administrator, It saves you time and empowers your physicians while helping you optimize the emergency medicine scheduling process to fill more shifts, decrease labor costs, reduce burnout, and streamline communications. It helps you communicate via the web with your clinical staff in real-time.

By pairing physician scheduling software with your own contingency strategies, you can ensure you have an efficient staff schedule for crisis management. Your staff can use their mobile phones to clock in and out and receive notifications when they miss a time punch. They can swap shifts, make time-off requests, and show their availability to help automate the scheduling process. Scheduling software is easy to learn, easy to adopt, and affordable.

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