Running an academic medical center is not like running an IDN or a private practice. Along with the priority of patient care, you must also provide your residents with a wide range of experience, covering everything from procedures to cases.
As a result, your call schedule is more complicated. In addition to the essential case and room assignments, you also need to make sure each resident is properly supervised and that they have completed the necessary rotations prior to being able to work on certain cases.
Your Call Schedule Software Should Understand That
When reviewing your call schedule software, there are certain functions that you, as an academic medical center will need, such as:
- Prerequisite Tracking
Your call schedule software needs to be able to keep track of where each resident is in their rotation, and what prerequisites they have to complete for each one. Moreover, as a basic patient safety precaution, your software must be able to block assignments of a resident to a case if they have not yet completed the required prerequisites.
- Hours by Procedure
Residents don’t become proficient at a procedure simply by doing it once – they need repetition. That’s why it’s essential that your call schedule software be able to track how many hours each of your residents spends on each procedure. By tracking this, you will also be able to gauge when they are most likely ready to perform the procedure without supervision.
- Hours by Case
As with procedures, residents gain experience the more they work on different cases. Your call schedule software needs to be able to show you exactly how many hours your residents have spent on different cases.
- Clinical and Academic Ratios
Academic medical centers need to do more than track resident rotations; they also need to make sure their attendings are getting the necessary research time. Whether stipulated by grant or by employment contract, most of your attendings need to divide their time between clinical work and academic research. Therefore, your call schedule software must be able to track attending time, and schedule them so that they maintain the correct ratio of clinical work vs. research.
Call Schedule Software Means More than Excel
It is still very common for academic medical centers (even very large ones) to build their call schedules using Excel. However, using Excel in this manner is a very laborious method for tracking prerequisites, hours by procedures, hours by case, and clinical/academic ratios. Making Excel send up a red flag when a resident lacking the proper rotations is assigned to a case is even harder.
The right call schedule software for academic medical centers should present a clear user interface that lets you quickly and easily assign and track your residency requirements. It should send up red flags – in fact, it should block – anything you have indicated is a violation of your prerequisites and supervisory rules. Better still, it should allow you to call up a range of business intelligence reports, so you can accurately measure the progress of your residents.
Take an honest look at the tool you currently use to build your call schedules. If it doesn’t perform these functions – or if the process for doing so is highly labor intensive – check out OpenTempo’s call schedule software.