In an article for Executive Insight, entitled The ROI of Using Excel, Rich Miller, Chief Strategy Officer & Founder of OpenTempo, shined a light on the hidden costs of using Excel for scheduling doctors and nurses.
Breaking out his calculator app, Miller shows exactly how much that "free" spreadsheet software actually costs healthcare organizations. Looking at both doctor scheduling and nurse scheduling, he takes into account the:
- # of providers to be scheduled
- # of schedules built each year
- Time required to build each schedule
- Person required to build the schedule
- The impact of the scheduling method on overtime costs and patient care
Miller begins by taking a look at who is required to create the schedules. As Excel lacks an error-checking mechanism, a senior physician or nurse is needed to build and review the schedules. Clearly, the cost of their time is greater than the time cost of an administrative assistant using workforce optimization software.
Moreover, because Excel is not an automated software, the entire process takes longer than it needs to. To show the difference, he looks at the impact of a schedule for 100 doctors and a schedule for 25 doctors, as well as nurse schedules for 500 or 75 nurses.
For the 100 doctor schedule, Excel would come to $171,000 per year in physician time, but only $2,175 when using workforce optimization software.
Striking as those figures are, they do not even include the opportunity costs of having senior providers devoting a large percentage of their time to doing the schedules.
And then there are overtime costs.
For nurses and techs, overtime costs can add up fast - and Excel has no way to alert you when they are climbing. Miller explains how software can integrate with payroll systems to track overtime hours, in real-time, so medical practices can easily see who is going into overtime and who has not yet worked their full hours.
OpenTempo provides complimentary Return on Investment calculations for healthcare professionals looking to see exactly how much their Excel scheduling is costing them. Click here to arrange for a tailored ROI calculation for your practice, along with a demo of OpenTempo.