January 23, 2019

How Does Physician Scheduling Automation Help You Achieve Operational Excellence?

3 min read

Written by: Rich Miller  |  Share:

Physician Scheduling Automation is a key component in achieving operational excellence - improve upon your existing strategies to save time, effort, and money

Physician scheduling automation is really about analyzing schedules, effort, and time, but also looking at points of care. So, it is as much about analyzing the places that you’re working as understanding the people who are doing the work. This allows your practice to better coordinate everything from room utilization to cost-saving strategies to informing residents that their attending is out for the day.

 

Replace manual effort and hours with automation

Overtime and physician burnout are big problems in the healthcare industry. But if there’s no scheduling data and you don’t know where to look, how can you fix the problem? Along with automating your scheduling management, collecting data and reporting on it should be a key aspect of your system. The data should include all schedules for physicians, residents, and medical students, including clinical and nonclinical appointments.

Scheduling automation helps with five key points in achieving operational excellence: having one reliable source of truth, reducing administrative burden, increasing discipline around staffing, keeping an eye on costs, and using scheduling data to your advantage.

 

Always Available One Source of Truth

Having one source of truth for physician scheduling speaks to the ability for everyone to see exactly where physicians, residents, and medical students are from moment to moment with up to date and accurate information. Physician scheduling automation helps eliminate scheduling confusion and increases productive communication across and between organizations. Scheduling systems should work across platforms and on mobile devices, helping reflect the true clinical structure of the schedule.

 

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Reduce Administrative Burden

Reducing administrative burden is one of the primary benefits of physician scheduling automation. When building schedules, your rules, and policies are reflected and enforced automatically so you’re not spending time manually inputting this information. Finding a system that enables self-scheduling will help distribute the effort across a team, instead of relying on a few individuals to handle all updates. Integrating time, attendance, and wages into one source for physician scheduling automation is key in cutting down administrative time and effort.

 

Get Disciplined Around Staffing

Creating a staffing plan and hammering out all the different elements surrounding that is the first step in getting disciplined around staffing. Along with formulating, documenting, and executing your plan, your physician scheduling system should help with tasks like tracking effort, hours, and keeping people on track for their share of it. Using data generated by physician scheduling will validate its effectiveness and help you get your teams to want to integrate it.

 

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Keep an Eye on Costs

Cost is the most direct way to maximize ROI. What can you do to really understand budgeting and costs and help save money? You should look at the overall picture and the details to determine how resources can be used most effectively. Some of the key points are recognizing overtime before it’s inevitable, truly understanding clinical demand, tracking where you are applying effort, and using wage data to track cost by clinical area, team, and cost center. When you benchmark this year over year, your picture will become more complete and you will be able to accurately pinpoint the best places to reduce costs based on trends in your data..

 

Start Using Data to Your Advantage

Many hospitals and practices still use spreadsheets for all their scheduling, but spreadsheets don’t produce data that is readily usable for reporting and analytics; more often than not the data is unstructured and denormalized. You can’t report out of it without large amounts of manual effort to clean up, restructure and process your data. There are simpler ways of tracking information and getting data. If you build and keep your schedule in an automated system, every time you put something into the system, you get data immediately out of the back end that you can report on.

 

Summary

Physician scheduling automation should move you towards clinical capacity optimization and drive your organization’s understanding of itself. This is all about doing demand analysis, building a clinical resource strategy, operationalizing the clinical effort, and doing a performance analysis using insights and analytics; then repeating the process. This creates a continuous cycle of improvement and paves the road to operational excellence.

 

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Topics: Physician Scheduling, Operational Excellence