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Shift scheduling strategies during a pandemic

Posted on 5/20/2020 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles
The growing public healthcare crisis that surrounds the COVID-19 spread raises a lot of questions about how healthcare facilities will be able to appropriate health care. It's crucial to plan for pandemic influenza to ensure a healthcare response that's sustainable.

The pandemic infectious disease threat quietly lurks beneath every hospital's surface operations as well as throughout society, according to Emergency Medicine Reports. An inefficient supply of staff is the biggest risk to a hospital during an infectious disease pandemic. And, when a pandemic does occur, all healthcare staffing is at risk.

The contingency staff plan takes alternative strategies into consideration for work shift scheduling to enable longer hour shifts without physician burnout. Therefore, it's important you have an effective physician scheduling system in place. Well-balanced emergency medicine staffing is crucial to ensure a productive and safe work environment, particularly in times like the COVID-19 pandemic where patients' needs are greater than ever and hospital resources are stretched thin.

Hospitals should put a focus on certain priorities for maintaining adequate care capabilities and staffing during a pandemic like the COVID-19 crisis. Some priorities are:

    • Limiting COVID-19 spread within the hospital to ensure patients and healthcare workers are protected
    • Planning for surge capacity based on the projections of the CDC for each hospital and the region
    • Allocating healthcare resources in an ethical, organized, and rational way to benefit the greatest number of individuals
    • Finding ways of augmenting, maintaining and stretching the hospital workforce

Another way of ensuring an efficient emergency medicine scheduling system is by implementing scheduling software. Some of the many benefits of scheduling software include the following:

1. Enhanced Work-Life Balance

It's critical to increase nurses' and physician autonomy in their scheduling implementation to help them balance their work-life schedule effectively. Sadly, it is all too common for management teams to schedule manually, and this provides very little flexibility for nurses or physicians to make schedule changes to balance out their work and personal life, and this could lead to employee burnout

2. Streamlined Communications

When nurses and doctors file personal requests, it's not always transparent. They don't always know if the scheduling administrator received their request or if there's a delay in processing them. Shift scheduling software can automate this process making it transparent and effective.

3. Last-Minute Change Responsiveness

When you can increase doctors' ability to autonomously manage their work schedule using self-service resources, it enables better response to last-minute changes. Since doctors are involved in their schedule, they won't need to wait for manual management approval before they can make changes and this helps save time and avoid conflicts in the schedule.

Shift scheduling strategies are important to implement not just during a pandemic, but all the time. This helps ensure a streamlined approach to the scheduling process, not only enabling your hospital or clinic to run, more efficiently but allowing you to offer better patient care.

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