Many patients and other non-medical people may not realize the importance of on-call physicians in emergency medicine.
After all, a patient brought into an emergency department may suffer from serious illnesses or injuries and need to be admitted to the hospital and seen by a specialist. Because a specialist isn’t always readily available – they may be seeing patients at their private medical practice – “on-call” procedures are needed to make sure he or she sees the patient promptly. In some cases, it’s a matter of life and death.
Moreover, on-call physicians risk potential fines (up to $50,000) if they fail or decline to respond to a call from a hospital’s ED. The bottom line is that on-call physicians must respond in a reasonable amount of time.
There’s one problem, however. Many hospitals still use old-fashioned scheduling formats, like paper schedules, that are prone to error or mix-ups that are bad for the patient and the on-call physician. If you’re still using that type of system, it’s time to let go of those Excel spreadsheets, 3-ring binders, and sticky notes in favor of on-call tools that come with multiple advantages.
Again, many on-call systems today are paper-based. Daily changes are difficult because everyone must be notified. There are also double-entries, a much greater room for error, and many hours spent on a process that’s easily automated. And once it’s automated, it’s easier to maintain.
On-call scheduling software provides centralized scheduling so that physicians can electronically request time off, trade shifts, and view their upcoming on-call schedule.
A scheduling software that utilizes algorithms to generate schedules based on variables specific to each organization–such as the number of on-call shifts per physician per month–can further upgrade your team’s on-call scheduling.
Why Scheduling Software is Crucial
Scheduling software not only provides you with a reliable on-call system, but also eases the burden of manual scheduling. But if you’re switching to scheduling software, make sure that the new software doesn’t require extra effort to create, update, and distribute the schedule to team members. An easy-to-use web-based software takes these added tasks out of your hands, and employees and administrators can even access the schedules from their mobile devices, viewing updates in real-time.
Another important reason to switch to scheduling software (or to upgrade your existing software) is to make it possible for you to create custom reports and integrate with your department’s payroll system. Integration not only helps create a balanced, equitable schedule, but also makes other reporting tasks, such as time tracking and payroll, easier.
What are some other benefits of using a web-based scheduling system? It’s easier for employees to make schedule requests, submit days off and days on, while the system tracks vacation and personal time off requests. And there are many other advantages.
In the stressful, unpredictable world of emergency medicine, relying on an outdated scheduling system can put patients in danger while creating potential legal issues for physicians. Scheduling software makes it easy to avoid these problems.
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