SHIFTADMIN Blog

Efficient Schedule Planning Tips to Save You Time (and Sanity)

Posted by Shift Admin on September 21, 2017 at 6:15 AM

As a Group Administrator, you have three primary functions related to the schedule for a hospital or clinic. They are to create the schedule, distribute the final version to end users, and to mine data from the system for key stakeholders, such as payroll processors. Sophisticated scheduling tools, like Shift Admin, can streamline these functions to make scheduling and reporting a smart, repeatable process for you.

Here are tips you can implement today that will save you time (and sanity!) during the next schedule period.

Avoid the Domino Effect

When you go to create a schedule, the process likely looks similar to this:

  1. Gather the information you need (schedule requests)
  2. Set up your plan
  3. Get started
  4. Run into an issue
  5. Change the plan
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 until you have a final version

We call this the domino effect because one simple kink often affects the entire schedule. If you’re still creating schedules manually, you know all too well that this can be the most time consuming part of the process. Within Shift Admin, there are a few tweaks you can make to save you time.

Shifts

First, be sure that you have adequate shift types established. Then look at your shift order. The auto-generator will staff shifts based on shift order. It’s best practice to place the tough shifts first, weekends and nights, and leave the “easy-to-staff” shifts for the end.

Assigning Weight

As the auto-generator runs, it’s probable that two rules will come into conflict. Many solutions on the market today will simply leave the shift empty and force the scheduler to manually assign a staff member. With Shift Admin, users can manipulate the generator by assigning weight to rules. Assigning weight tells the generator which rule is more important and gives it the ability to mimic your human logic. Assigning the correct weight to rules can save you tons of time and prevent having to make too many adjustments before publishing the schedule.

Adjusting Rules

Once you run the auto-generator, the system outputs a stats report that will show you exactly which rules were broken. Here is your chance to tweak the rules and weights before running the auto-generator a second time. As you make these updates, the system will become more optimized (smarter) and reduce the number of iterations you run each time. The generator takes approximately 20 minutes to produce an iteration of the schedule, and you can safely logout and carry on with other work while you wait.

Share Information

Once you have generated a working schedule, the important work of sharing information with the correct departments begins.

Publishing the Schedule

In the Shift Admin control panel, admin users can choose to email staff members to alert their team that a new schedule has been published. Once providers are subscribed to their schedule, they will automatically see the updated schedule on their calendar. Doing so will allow them to integrate the information with their preferred calendar application and access their individual schedule from anywhere. For nursing staff, switchboards, and hospital administration, use the public schedule URL. This is a link that you can email to anyone who needs to access the schedule. Once they bookmark this link, they can get to the schedule in real-time from a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

These steps will save you from manually emailing everyone that the schedule is posted or from printing and distributing the schedule across departments.

Create New Users

Are you repeatedly doing something for a colleague that they could do themselves with the proper access? For example, generating gross pay reports for the payroll administrators. You can quickly solve this by granting specific permissions to each system user. For payroll, you can add the user and assign them a “view only + stats” role. This role enables them to login to Shift Admin and gather the information they need without disrupting the schedule or getting lost in data they don’t need.

Communicating with the Group

You can save hours of time communicating with groups and individuals with built-in communication tools such as email and SMS text messaging. You can save time and maintain focus with the ability to contact an entire group or an individual inside the platform instead of having to swap between programs.

Looking for more helpful tips and ways to improve your scheduling strategy? Follow Shift Admin on Twitter!

Topics: Efficient Scheduling Tips

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