MDsyncNET Blog

Calling All Physician On-Call Schedules: Why Automation is Key

Do you know where your Emergency Department’s physician on-call schedules are? If you were to conduct a round-up this very minute, chances are good that they’d arrive from far and wide. One might hop off of the bulletin board in the doctor’s lounge. Another might unstick itself from the wall of the nurses’ station. Several would scurry in from the lab coats, pockets, and lockers of medical staff members. Others would roll in like tumbleweeds from home offices, briefcases, and the back seats of cars.

Do You Have a "Great Decoder" for On-Call Schedules?

If your hospital is like most, chances are also good that those physician on-call schedules bear little resemblance to one another. That’s because, despite the technology employed in virtually every other part of the facility, many hospitals still use manual processes to construct and maintain their on-call schedules. This means that it’s up to an individual or a small team – what MDsyncNET calls “The Great Decoder” – to ascertain physician availability, field schedule change requests, and update physician contact information.

With information in hand – often through a combination of Post-It Notes, emails, memos, and text messages – the oncall scheduler opens an Excel spreadsheet or picks up pen and paper to begin constructing the following month’s schedule. Once completed, they either email it or print it out and distribute it to various individuals and departments.

The change requests come trickling in over the course of the next several weeks. Each time the oncall scheduler makes a change to the schedule, they disseminate an updated version. It’s little wonder that confusion reigns and that the wrong on-call physician is contacted, or the right on-call physician is contacted, but at the wrong number. In truth, manual scheduling processes make accuracy a moving target. The result? Burned out physicians, frustrated contact center staff, and untold numbers of orphaned, outdated schedules in hospital nooks and crannies.

The Promise of Automated Physician Scheduling

In contrast, automated physician scheduling bypasses the need for a Great Decoder, and instead empowers the group’s administrator to create and maintain up-to-the-minute physician on-call schedules for the Emergency Department – or for any other hospital department. Cloud-based on-call schedules enable real-time updates, and a web-based interface allows authorized users to access accurate schedules from any internet-connected device inside or outside of the hospital. When paired with a cloud-based contact directory, the hospital call center staff can ensure that they’re calling the correct physician at the correct number every time.

There’s no doubt that cloud-based on-call physician scheduling software positively impacts a hospital’s bottom line. Less physician burnout means better patient care, which in turn leads to better patient outcomes. Fewer frustrated employees translates to less turnover, which in turn lowers human resources, onboarding, and training costs. Schedule automation leads to fewer staff hours spent creating, maintaining, and distributing schedules, freeing up time for other responsibilities. By relying on the right software, you’ll always know where your emergency department’s physician on-call schedules are. They’re safely tucked away in the cloud.

MDsyncNET is a leading provider of cloud-based on-call physician scheduling software. To learn how MDsyncNET can help automate your physician scheduling processes, call 888-508-5061.

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