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8 Reasons to Invest in Scheduling Software for Emergency Medicine

On-call schedules present a challenge for any institution, especially hospital systems. Finding and contacting the correct physician or staff member requires accurate and detailed record-keeping. Most hospitals cobble together a call schedule using a combination of spreadsheets, printed worksheets, and last-minute written notes. This system creates chaos, staff stress, and an unsatisfactory experience for patients. When hospitals switch to online scheduling software for emergency medicine, it improves their experience in eight distinct ways.

1. Scheduling software saves valuable labor time. Time is possibly the most critical element in hospitals, especially in emergency departments. Within hospitals, doctors, nurses, and administrative personnel work in a fast-paced, high-stress environment. Confusing, hard-to-read call schedules adds to this stress and puts unnecessary pressure on staff. Prolonged emergency department wait times have been linked to lower quality of medical care and more adverse events. When staff has to decode schedules, these effects are amplified. Scheduling software can help doctors and nurses spend time on their top priority: treating patients.

2. Scheduling software for emergency medicine creates an automated process that eliminates redundancy. Call schedules are often managed and communicated through Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, handwritten notes, or by phone. To further complicate matters, schedules may be faxed or emailed to staff members, or printed out and posted in common areas. Each step of this process, especially if schedules are frequently edited and resent, leaves ample room for error. With an online system, schedule creation, editing, and distribution are simplified. A single schedule means that each staff member can access the same information at any given time.

3. Online schedules are easier to read. A doctor who uses scheduling software notes that before implementation, the call system was paper-based and required distribution to each staff member any time an edit was made. The result was out-of-date, impossible-to-read calendars. The sheer number of employees in a hospital necessitates schedule edits and updates, but writing in notes and crossing out names on paper creates confusion for everyone involved. Scheduling software for emergency medicine eliminates this problem and provides a clear, easy-to-read system for on-call information.

4. Quicker access to on-call care providers is a critical requirement for call schedules. A case study by Shieh et al. notes that collaboration among hospital team members caring for a patient has become increasingly important. If a nurse needs to call a patient’s doctor to modify a care plan, inaccurate contact information or delays in communication negatively impact patient outcomes. Scheduling software allows fast, direct contact to providers who are needed to weigh in on patient care.

5. Scheduling software for emergency medicine improves patient care. Delayed or error-ridden information in hospitals can pose a risk to patients. Research by Warren and Tart shows that the effects of fatigue can increase charting errors. A relationship was noted between calls to care providers after a completed shift and escalating errors. Fewer calls to offsite doctors means better rest periods and decreases the risk of mistakes. Traditional call scheduling is prone to inaccurate information, leading to calls made to the wrong provider, thus interrupting their rest. Scheduling software eliminates this risk.

6. Improved patient experience is a benefit of scheduling software. Clear, fast communication among staff members means more effective and more timely patient care. Because patient satisfaction is reflected in ratings for physicians, staff members, and hospitals, it is critical to provide a positive experience for those receiving medical care. If patient care teams collaborate effectively, including by having a chain of command for on-call situations, patients feel well-cared for and will rank their experience accordingly. Scheduling software for emergency medicine is one piece of the patient satisfaction puzzle.

7. Increased physician and employee satisfaction results from organized scheduling. Shieh et al. found that a reliable call system improved nurses’ perception of how to contact physicians when they needed to discuss patient care. In addition, there is a notable link between employee and patient satisfaction. Patients notice when doctors and nurses are fatigued and unhappy. Additionally, employee burnout is associated with low employee satisfaction scores, and staff turnover in hospital is a top concern in the healthcare field. Low satisfaction scores can lead to higher costs and lower perceptions of the hospital as a desirable workplace.

8. Scheduling software saves money for facilities that implement it. Becker’s Hospital Review notes that efficient and cost-effective practices for emergency departments are crucial to overall hospital success and profitability. Reducing wait times for patients is one of the most significant areas for a hospital’s potential cost savings. Improving the flow of patients through the emergency department is a way to speed up care times, and reaching needed doctors and nurses for specific cases is one of the simplest ways to do this. It also aids in quicker last-minute staff additions for on-call staff by providing accurate and up-to-date contact information.

Ultimately, the old manual systems that many institutions employ to track staff scheduling must be phased out. Patient and employee satisfaction are both improved when care is streamlined, and on-call scheduling software is one of the easiest ways to simplify the process. Saving money, increasing satisfaction, and reducing pressure on staff: there is no downside to scheduling software like MDsyncNET.

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