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The importance of hospitalist scheduling software during a pandemic

Posted on 6/3/2020 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that as of April 8, 2020, at least 209 countries have the presence of COVID-19, and it's spread to all continents other than Antarctica. As this number of COVID cases increases in the U.S., it's hoped some questions can be answered in terms of the virus, including how to schedule physicians effectively using hospitalist scheduling software. Here are a few reasons why physician scheduling software is important during a pandemic for not only scheduling ER doctors, but also nurses and hospitalists.

1. Eliminates Confusion

While you can easily use a spreadsheet or pen and paper to create schedules for developing 7-on/7-off hospitalist schedules, methods like these are not practical. Accommodating flexible schedule requests have become priority, but manual changes and modifications can lead to error and a widespread of misinformation, causing doctors to unknowingly skip scheduled shifts and show up for unscheduled shifts.

Shift scheduling software helps prevent mistakes and confusion by allowing you to make online changes and by providing your physicians, nurses, and hospitalists access to their schedules in real-time within and outside your facility on any device (phone, tablet or computer) connected to the internet. Scheduling changes can also be made and viewed in real time.

2. Helps With Sleep/Work Schedules

The last thing you want is your physicians becoming:

• Deprived of sleep
• Overworked
• Immune compromised
• Demoralized
• Burned out

If things like this occur, it can lead to:

• Mistakes
• Dosing errors
• Unnecessary needle sticks
• Sick workers
• A total breakdown of your hospital system
• Patient care suffering and even potential fatalities

When your physicians obtain adequate sleep and rest time, it will benefit not only your doctors, but also you, co-workers, patients, their families, and anyone else within and outside your facility.

You should create and implement mandatory rest and sleep periods for all your doctors and team. In an emergency medicine scheduling scenario, you should follow the recommended strategy of work time for patient care and minimum advised hours of sequestered and uninterrupted sleep and rest.

3. Assists in Organizing Teams

You should also have teams in place, preferably a team of three to five individuals, for facilitating scaled up care and ease of operations as the number of patient cases inevitably increases. This will ensure you can provide all of your patients with high-quality care, and allow your hospitalists, nurses, and physicians to support each other for signs of injury, illness, or being overworked. Some team examples for a pandemic crisis may include extra cardiac code teams, prone positioning teams, and intubation teams.

How widely COVID-19 has spread in the United States is still unknown because of probable testing shortfalls. Even so, around the country, hospital medicine leaders are preparing their programs and hospitals for a current surge of infected patients, second wave, and potential virus resurgence in the fall and winter. Automated web-based hospitalist scheduling software can help.

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