Right-Size Your Hospital Physician Scheduling Software
While the goals are simple – better patient outcomes and lower costs – hospital healthcare delivery has never been more complex. Regulation-driven reimbursement models mean more committees, more key performance indicators, and more stakeholders. Before long, this “mantra of more” permeates organizational culture. But more isn’t always better – especially when it comes to physician scheduling software.
Why Software? Why Now?
Hospitals often launch a discussion about scheduling software when physicians complain about receiving middle-of-the-night calls when they’re not on duty or when the emergency department reports that it’s scrambling because specialists aren’t easily reachable. Physician dissatisfaction and burnout increase, while errors undermine employee confidence in the schedules.
The Needs Assessment
In most organizations, software purchasing begins with a needs assessment. In studying physician scheduling workflow, the purchasing team may be shocked that schedulers are employing 20th century tools – think spreadsheets or pencil-and-paper – to create the linchpin of timely patient care. Their determination will likely be that automating physician scheduling will boost accuracy, timeliness, and ease of distribution.
The team’s next step is to document functional needs and identify desirable features for physician scheduling software. Then, the search for software begins. This is where the “mantra of more” can undermine an organization’s larger objectives and goals. Too many bells and whistles can result in complicated software that works but can be cumbersome, particularly as new employees are brought into the workflow.
When Less is More
Both a Nissan Leaf and a Tesla Model S will take you to the gym and back home again. If that’s the extent of your travels, why pay an extra $40,000 for the Tesla? In the same vein, if your hospital’s core needs are to have accessible, accurate on-call physician schedules, additional features can compromise those goals while chipping into your bottom line.
When new software is installed, schedulers must be trained to use it. The core functionality of physician scheduling software can be taught in a few hours and mastered quickly. Deploying utilitarian software – leaving the bells and whistles behind – shortens the implementation timeline and encourages immediate adoption, resulting in fewer mistakes. In contrast, when there is staff turnover, the steep learning curve of complex software translates to less efficiency, increased errors, and greater interruption in scheduling workflow.
When selecting physician scheduling software, less is more. Resist the temptation to succumb to unnecessary software features that will steer the hospital off-course. Instead, stick to functionality that will support fiscal goals, streamline scheduling processes, and alleviate administrative burnout.
MDsyncNET is a leading provider of physician scheduling software with core functionality that accommodates real-time changes and delivers accurate schedules to authorized users from any internet-connected device.