Factors for implementing robust on call scheduling

On call Scheduling

Written By Zach Barber

January 04, 2021

In 2009, the American College of Physicians published a study on lowering healthcare costs while improving outcomes, with the following recommendations for the future:

  • Reduce the use of services that is unnecessary, inefficient, or redundant.
  • Ensure that the medical workforce has the right combination of specialities.
  • Cut down on operating expenses
  • Reduce medical malpractice and defensive medicine expenses.

Each of these has a direct link to doctors and on-call scheduling in hospitals and clinics. So, do you understand how crucial on-call scheduling is? Let me walk you through a few more reasons.

In fast-paced healthcare settings, where changes are happening across the board in trauma and emergency settings, hospitals have difficulty managing the labour then-call schedule to reach out to providers when required for patient care.

Imagine a scenario where a nurse tries to do on-call scheduling to reach a hospital for a patient’s critical result. Typically, the nurse would have to go through multiple departments and tools to leave the provider’s callback message or number.

Developing a solid plan for on-call scheduling displays an organization’s focus on consistency and reliability towards patient care.

 Let’s dive deeper into the factors to be considered for on-call scheduling. 

Factors to Consider for On-call Scheduling

 The important factors are, 

  • Creating an On-call scheduling software
  • Enterprise Shift Scheduling Software
  • Team Allocation in on-call scheduling
  • On-Call Connect Information
  • Seasonal Factors

We will analyze each one of them in detail now.

Creating an On-call scheduling software

  • On-call scheduling software is created with the clinical practice of the physician in mind. 
  • It primarily focuses on making it more straightforward for a person to establish a physician’s routine and after-hours on-call schedule. 
  • This programme can allow clinics to build custom rules, a scheduling engine, availability notification, a day-off tracker, and reports to prove fairness to help with the process.
  •  This software also includes customizable calendar displays, smartphone connectivity, and the ability to import and export schedules.

Enterprise Shift Scheduling Software

A single platform to manage the complex need of shift administrators, providers and enable HIPPA based clinical communication.

  • A mobile app for providers to have accurate On-Call scheduling and notification or alert when the on-call scheduling changes. The app should also allow the flexibility of the provider to make any schedule changes.
  • A mobile app for shift administrators to have accurate on-call scheduling across the facility and make changes quickly as the need arises.
  • A read-only roster to be displayed in multiple locations for staff to know the on-call providers for each speciality.
  • An enterprise scheduling and clinical communication app for shift planner to efficiently manage the on-call and regular shifts.

Team Allocation in on-call schedule 

Managing the patient flow and maximizing optimization requires understanding the staff skill-set.

Building a successful cross-functional team requires:

  • A team should include providers of different skills. An example can be a hospitalist team that can have a combination of attending and app physicians.
  • A team should have the flexibility of adding more providers for surge readiness or when the demand arises.
  • A team should have consistent teammates and schedules. Ex. can be Clinical Team for specialized care like Trauma Care, Role-Based team like ICU Nurse, Critical Team like Code Blue.
  • Not every speciality requires the same number of physicians or team. Building a team on demand and without any constraint for the number of providers will maximize providers’ efficiency.

On-Call Connect Information

Provider’s privacy of information is as crucial as HIPPA data.

  • A nurse across different specialities should have the correct information for the on-call schedule physician. Calling a provider who is not assigned will have a detrimental effect on an employee’s happiness.
  • A nurse requiring to connect an on-call scheduler should not know the provider’s cell number. Instead, they can look up the on-call scheduling and connect with the physician.

Seasonal Factors

A shift planner should understand the seasonal factor to determine clinical capacity.

An on-call strategy based on seasonal factors can be:

  • Time of year when cold and flu may require more on-call staff.
  • Vacation time e.x. Thanksgiving and Christmas might have less staff and hence require more on-call physicians.

That’s it about it. So we have seen the factors to consider before implementing on-call schedule program in your hospital. 



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