Scheduling Myths That Ruin Efficiency

Today we are going to take a look at a few scheduling myths that truly impact the efficiency of healthcare staff scheduling. Each of these myths bring with them their own unique challenges.

Myth # 1: Manual Scheduling is Scalable

The first myth we will review is the scalability of manual physician and healthcare staff scheduling. Many people still believe that manual scheduling is the best way to create general and call schedules for their practices or hospital departments. While in small offices or departments, manual scheduling is a manageable process. In large or growing organizations, manual scheduling is an unmanageable, stress-inducing process. Manual scheduling is not scalable for a number of reasons. First, with each new provider or staff member you add to the schedule you add work at multiple levels, and also open yourself up for mistakes. Each person you add needs to have their rules understood, requests processed, equity calculated, schedule distributed and much more. At each stage in this process there is a chance for an error, leading to confusion and wasted time. Secondly, manual scheduling is not scalable because the schedule does not get easier as it expands.

Myth # 2: Paper Schedules Work Just Fine

Similarly some think paper schedules work fine for organizations of any size. In fact, the opposite is true. Once you get beyond the 5 person threshold, paper schedules become more trouble than they are worth. Paper schedules cause problems for several reasons. The most common issue being providers and staff operating off of outdated versions of the schedule. As changes are made to the schedule, not all staff or physicians may get a copy of the new version. The second issue is that the paper schedule is not always easily accessible. Many times, the schedules are in a provider’s office or stuck in the person’s email and not accessible. A third issue with paper schedules is that they can be hard to read or understand, especially if they are done by hand and the scheduler has poor handwriting.

Myth # 3: Email Time-Off Requests are Reliable

The final myth in this post is that using email to manage staff and provider time off requests is a manageable and reliable process. Think about how easy it is to lose an email in the vast amount of mail you get each day. Not only do you have to notice that email, you have to remember where it is and then integrate that time-off request into your scheduling process. It is inevitable that requests will be forgotten or lost at some point.

What Works?

Automated scheduling software can address each of these three concerns head on. A scheduling software will allow for the scalability that is needed as your organization grows. It will provide a digital record of each schedule so doctors always have the most current version at their fingertips and will centralize and store all time-off requests so they never get lost or forgotten again.

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