August 9, 2018

How Physician Scheduling Software Can Save You Money on Staff Costs

2 min read

Written by: Jennifer Michelle  |  Share:

The vast majority of hospitals and medical practices still build their physician schedules manually. Some use a shared online spreadsheet and others work it out with Excel and paper – but, regardless, building physician schedules manually is guaranteed to cost your hospital a ton of money in staffing costs.

The reason why is simple: it takes an automated medical scheduling system to perfectly balance your clinical and facility needs. And, without that balance, your costs are going to be high: overtime costs, short-staffing costs, and the cost of paying a physician to do work that should be handled by administrative staff.

Luckily, you have a better option: medical scheduling software.

Big savings #1: Less overtime

Building medical schedules manually takes hours and hours of work. It can take – literally – weeks to build the schedule for a large hospital by hand.

That means there are weeks going by when you don’t know what’s going on with your work balances. You don’t know if your nurses are in overtime. You don’t know if your CRNAs are being underutilized.

There’s no way you can know. Building your schedule manually takes so much time, you never know there’s an imbalance until it’s too late to do anything about it.

Yet, with the right physician scheduling software, you can know in real-time which of your staff is under hours and which is soon to be over.

You get the information now, when you need it – which means you can forecast before the hours have been worked and the imbalance gets translated into overtime payments.

Big savings #2: No locums

Of course, doctors working overtime isn’t the only fallout of building a schedule manually. The other risk, especially for large facilities with numerous clinicians, rooms, and facilities to schedule, is short-staffing.

In some hospitals, short-staffing is a chronic condition. The schedule is built painstakingly, but there are more details to keep track of than can be followed manually – and the inevitable result is understaffing.

No one can argue that short-staffing is a problem on the clinical side of running a practice – but it is also a problem on the financial side. That’s because when a facility is short-staffed, they hire locums – and locums don’t come cheap.

But, when you can enter your staff and caseload into scheduling software, short-staffing becomes a thing of the past. The system automatically flags understaffed areas and suggests options for filling them – without ever needing to call on a locum.

Big savings #3: Reduced administrative costs

There’s still another cost to building your schedule manually – one many practices never even realize, until they stop having to pay it.

That’s the cost of having physicians build your schedule, as opposed to administrative staff.

Due to the complexities of scheduling clinical availability and caseloads, many facilities believe they have to have a physician build their schedule. That means not only are they paying the much higher hourly cost of the physician over administrative staff, but they are also having an opportunity cost, in that their physician’s expertise is not being utilized with the patients.

When you use software designed for medical scheduling, you can program it with the rules and work patterns clinically relevant to your facility. From number of cardiac specialists on call to who is certified to work in the OR, you can specify down to the last detail what rules you want your facility to follow.

When the system keeps track of all that, your physician can put down the schedules and get back to focusing on the patients.

Medical Scheduling Software Saves Money

Building a schedule manually is an expensive habit – one most facilities simply can’t afford. With the introduction of software customized for medical scheduling, your hospital can see a steep decline in overtime costs, short-staffing, locum costs and administrative costs for building the schedule.