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Medical Scheduling Basics: What You Need to Know

A medical scheduler has many stakeholders, ranging from administrators to healthcare providers to patients. Following are the basics of medical scheduling.

What are the Duties of a Medical Scheduler?

Medical schedulers help schedule patients and use their clinical knowledge to provide patient support, answer questions, provide clarification on discharge instructions, and ensure that patients are booked for the correct procedures.

They are the primary point of contact between physicians, medical staff, and patients. Medical scheduling is essential to properly managing the flow of patient care in order to ensure that physicians are not overworked and that patients are not waiting for hours on end to be seen by their doctors.

In contrast, physician schedulers are responsible for ensuring adequate provider coverage during business hours as well as for emergency purposes.

What Does a Scheduler Do at a Hospital?

In a hospital, physician schedulers are responsible for balancing the needs of physicians while upholding the many scheduling rules that apply to these schedules. Physician scheduling rules include minimum staffing requirements, provider preferences, and shift sharing.

Minimum Staffing Requirements: Full-time physicians work an average of 51 hours per week. It is the scheduler’s job to make sure their hours are scheduled while also scheduling around requested time off and making the necessary accommodations when scheduling conflicts arise.

Provider Preferences: If a physician prefers to have specific days off throughout the month, the scheduler must make sure that these needs are met. For example, a doctor might have a preference not to work Wednesday evenings so that they can attend their child’s karate classes.

Shift Sharing: The scheduler makes sure that all physicians work equal night, on-call, and weekend shifts. An example of this is ensuring that each physician works no more than two weekend shifts throughout the month.

Drilling down even further, a physician scheduler is also responsible for the on call schedule. The call schedule is critical to timely patient care, provider satisfaction, and hospital revenue.

How Do You Make a Call Schedule?

A successful call schedule accomplishes several objectives: ensuring that the hospital can provide patient care around the clock; that providers can be reached at their preferred numbers; and that providers can access real-time schedule updates inside or outside of the facility.

Creating a call schedule can be a daunting and thankless task. Inefficient or unfair call schedules lead to animosity among providers. Mismanaged schedules can quickly cause:

  • Stress
  • Confusion
  • Uncertainty
  • Physician burnout
  • Poor patient care
  • Decreased revenue
  • Decreased productivity
  • High physician turnover

The importance of a proper call schedule can’t be overstated. To create a sustainable call schedule, you must take into account how many providers will be included in the rotation, as well as their specialities, flexibility, and preferences.

When it comes to medical scheduling basics, utilizing robust, cloud-based scheduling software makes the process straightforward. Providers can be scheduled to ensure adequate coverage. Last-minute scheduling changes can be visible to all authorized users. Administrators can better track and audit provider shifts, and patients can receive timely care.

MDsyncNET’s cloud-based physician scheduling software delivers four advantages: low set-up fees, simple to learn, a single source of truth, and painless scheduling swaps. Call 888-506-5061 to see how MDsyncNET can help you integrate physician scheduling software into your facility.

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