One of the many positives about using scheduling software is the time it saves you in creating a schedule that’s fair for all of your providers. But an increased ability to generate a schedule that truly is “fair” shouldn’t be overlooked.
By devising rules and weighing them by priority, you’re best able to handle the variability of shifts while considering every provider’s needs. The following tips will help you as the scheduler to generate a fair schedule in a way that’s faster, smarter, and save you a ton of time when compared to manual scheduling.
Know your providers’ preferences
Understanding your group’s preferences is vital. Doing so enables you to determine what preferences are a priority – such as necessary days off for family obligations. You’ll familiarize yourself with them over time by scheduling recurring requests each month, or by scheduling meetings with providers – either individually or in a group setting – to discuss those preferences.
Know the rules
You may need different rules for different situations, like doctor supply and patient demand during busier times, such as flu season, or while even considering that some doctors work faster than others.
Plan for the unknown
There is a variety of reasons why a schedule may need last-minute changes. Make sure to define what constitutes legitimate reasons for changing a schedule and the way to deal with them.
Monitor the numbers
Knowing your patient census – i.e., when departments are busiest, slowest, over capacity, etc. – is a crucial component of creating a fair schedule. You can track these numbers annually or more frequently – whatever it takes to help distribute a schedule that works equally well for all of your providers and other staff members.
Post the schedule at the same time, every time
Make sure your group has come to a consensus for when the schedule should be finalized and published. In turn, this helps create consistency while helping providers create a better work-life balance.
Have a full-time physician scheduler
The physician scheduler plays an extremely important role within the organization, and assigning different shifts while keeping in mind provider preferences and scheduling rules is an often major undertaking. Your organization should at least consider hiring someone whose sole responsibility is to build and post a quality schedule.
Remember, the goal of scheduling is to ensure that your providers work productive, organized shifts that enable them to focus on what matters most – patient care. By following the best rules and tips, and by utilizing a quality scheduling software system, both your patients and providers benefit.
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