August 9, 2018

Does Your Medical Staff Scheduling Software Give You a Headache?

2 min read

Written by: Jennifer Michelle  |  Share:

Making sure every provider is in the right room with the right case for the right procedure is a huge responsibility – and, the bigger your department, the more of a hassle building your schedules can be.

Just think what you have to do every time a new request comes in.

For a provider to get a day off or swap shifts, you have to go through the whole scheduling procedure again. You have to make sure they have the available vacation credits for a day off, or the necessary credentials to handle a specific shift. You have to verify that all rooms and cases are still staffed correctly in their absence, and that any supervisory requirements are upheld. And, if you are scheduling for an academic medical center, you can double that work load, since you’ll also have to handle rotation scheduling.

Even worse, in many health care centers, scheduling is completely separate from payroll. If that’s your situation, you will likely spend hours building your schedule, only to immediately have to reconstruct it on a biweekly basis, in order to incorporate into your payroll system.

Add to that no easy way to keep track of time and attendance, and no fast way to update people about schedule changes, and you can see how medical staff scheduling can be a real headache.

Excel Is Not Medical Staff Scheduling Software

Despite all this complexity – and despite the high stakes of maintaining excellent patient care – Excel is still the most commonly used tool to build medical schedules.

And right there is the cause of the headaches.

Excel is simply not designed to handle the needs of medical staff scheduling. It was a game-changer when it was first introduced, and it was the best thing health care centers could then imagine for building their schedules.

But that was a long time ago.

Now, compared to the sophisticated medical staff scheduling software available today, Excel runs a poor second. Incredibly laborious to use, it requires impossible attention to detail and has no easy way to verify it is doing what you want. Worse, it is completely unable to prevent you from mistakenly scheduling someone to the wrong case or leaving a shift understaffed.

What Real Medical Staff Scheduling Software Can Do

The proper software will lighten your workload tremendously. Here are the features you want to look for:

  • Rules and policies enforced automatically.
    You want an easy-to-understand interface, so you can delineate every aspect of your rules and policies, no matter how detailed. What’s more, you want a system that will prevent anyone from being assigned to a case incorrectly.
  • Providers guided to request days most likely to be approved.
    Rather than engaging in time-consuming back-and-forth over vacation requests, you need people to be able to see quickly which days are likely to be approved. A simple color-coded calendar that takes into account the individual’s vacation credits, as well as clinical availability needs, is essential.
  • Time & attendance tracked.
    Touchpad kiosks should be available with your software, in order to make tracking time easy. The software should be able to handle any number of shifts or unusual work patterns.
  • Business intelligence reports at your fingertips.
    Rather than guessing at staffing levels, your software needs to be provide you with accurate data. That way, you’ll be able to forecast your staffing precisely, which is critical to reducing overtime costs.
  • Instant schedule updates via mobile device.
    Posting paper schedules is an ineffective way to notify people of schedule changes. You need a software that updates everyone in real-time, via their phone or mobile device.
  • Data export to payroll.
    Get software that can export your staffing information seamlessly into your payroll.

The Right Tool Saves Time and Money

Today’s medical staff scheduling software has raised the bar. Instead of merely keeping lists, it can help on a higher level – showing where staffing choices are costing you money, and preventing mistaken case assignments. See what a difference medical staff scheduling software can make to your health center.