Balancing call shifts is one of the trickiest aspects of managing a medical practice. Conflicts regarding number of shifts worked, difficulty of each shift and perceptions about who is working which shift can all create extra hassle when building the call schedules - and, worse, have a negative impact on employee morale.
Call Schedules and Stress Levels
To counteract the difficulties associated with building call schedules, it is essential to consider the varying stress levels associated with each call.
Every provider knows that all call shifts are not created equal. The most obvious difference is whether you get to be on call from home, or whether you need to spend the night in the hospital. The next striking issue is the day upon which call falls. Thursday night call is favored, as you get to take post-call on Friday and slide into the weekend. Saturday night call, clearly, is less favorable, since it ruins the weekend.
Assigning Stress Points to Call Schedules
By assigning stress points to each call, you give your practice a way to compare stress levels across your workforce. Of course, this requires sophisticated healthcare business intelligence software; Excel won't cut it.
Yet the payoff is worth it. You will be able to precisely define the stress level of each call, as well as the expected call FTE for each provider. This allows you to balance call schedule stress, while making sure each of your provider employment agreements is being maintained.
Analyzing Stress Point Data on Call Schedules
Once you have assigned the stress points, the most critical function you need is the ability to view your data in an easy-to-interpret manner. Ideally, you wish to be able to view reports of stress points, as well as call points.
Stress point reports should show you the overall stress point by provider and assignment. This is critical to understanding where the stress level is for each provider and for comparing across your workforce. You need to be able to see stress levels per call shift, as well as any other assignment worked.
From there, you need a report that shows you call points. Call points take into account the expected FTE of each provider for call shifts, giving full transparency regarding who is working how much call in comparison with their target requirement.
Call scheduling is easier with stress points.
Balancing call schedules does not need to create tension in your practice. With the proper business intelligence, you can guarantee fair call schedules and manage the stress level worked for each provider.