March 21, 2019

What is the Value of a Single Physician Scheduling Solution for a Health System?

3 min read

Written by: Rich Miller  |  Share:

How can having one reliable source of truth bring benefit to your health system?

As your health system grows and becomes more complex, a single physician scheduling system will help put you on the road to operational excellence.

Because health systems are large, complex organizations they often have multiple scheduling systems and solutions. Implementing system-wide, automated scheduling practices will improve cross-department reporting, ensure call schedules are accurate, reduce the number of vendors and systems to learn, and resolve staffing issues.

 

On-Call Scheduling

The quality of schedule information in the on-call system is often lacking because the on-call system is dependent on data entry or integration from all of the departments where the actual schedules for each physician live. When everyone is using the same system and scheduling rules are automated, you remove the weak links of human error and systems integration. The quality of your on-call system and schedule can improve dramatically.

 

Altruism with Reciprocity

When surgery is scheduled, the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and perioperative nurse will all be able to look on one system to see who else is on their surgical team. There is altruism with reciprocity in how this functions. If every department updates their schedules and uses the system, you’ll all share the benefit of being mutually aware. A clear picture will form of where and when everyone is working and what kind of work they are doing.

 

Cost savings

Historically, health systems have many different methods for physician scheduling across their departments. This results in multiple vendor contracts and integration points into the on-call, EHR and other systems. By choosing to implement a single scheduling system for the enterprise, organizations are able to realize volume and partner licensing discounts and they reduce the number of costly system integrations.  Cost savings can also be recognized in employee training and system management redundancy. Eliminating double data entry and complex integrations can help a large health system run more smoothly and reduce overall costs.

 

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Cross-Department Reporting

There are a number of benefits to scheduling with consistency across the organization:

  • Having a system-wide schedule allows you to reflect on shared definitions across the hospital. This is a great opportunity for understand the organization as a whole.
  • Combining data across departments provides a picture of the entire organization
  • Semantical consistency with how your schedule assignments are described allows for cross-domain analysis.

Departments within one system can have vastly different definitions that could affect how different types of work are reported, i.e. an admin day could be working on research or catching up on paperwork. Semantically consistent definitions will ensure that every physician and staff member means the same thing when referring to different types of work. Having these consistent definitions and descriptions of work will have intrinsic value and benefits down the road by creating a system-wide language.

 

Having one set of definitions makes it easier to report on and compare data from across departments because you know for certain what work was being completed by each person. This allows you to fairly and accurately examine how your departments and practices are functioning in comparison to each other.

 

Strong, Centralized System

Health systems are integrating multiple facilities and physician practices into their enterprise at an accelerating pace. Having a strong, centralized scheduling system to manage all physician schedules will allow you to add new points of care and effectively manage the people staffing those points of care with ease. You’ll be able to float physicians through the health system based on gaps in care because you can view one standardized schedule for the entire health system, instead of manually mapping where you need coverage.

As your health system grows, you’ll want your platform to be able to grow and evolve with it. Having one system for everyone to learn and utilize will create a strong, interlocking health system.

 

Summary

Having one source of truth across a large health system will reward you with comprehensive schedules, less complication with integration between scheduling systems, large amounts of useful data, reduced costs, and a centralized platform. Implementing a software system that can be your reliable source of truth will push your health system further along on the road to operational excellence to make your organization more effective and efficient.

 

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Topics: Operational Excellence