SHIFTADMIN Blog

Top Tips From Our Shift Admin Service Team

Posted by Shift Admin on March 27, 2018 at 6:10 AM

Today, we review insights from a few members of your scheduling support team here at Shift Admin, compiled to provide the best scheduling wisdom available. Grab your coffee, settle in, and prepare to schedule your providers more efficiently.

What is the primary piece of scheduling wisdom you would share with a healthcare facility or physician scheduler?

While it can feel like a badge of honor to spend a lot of time to take on a scheduling problem on your own, we recommend utilizing the customer support staff often from the beginning. Shift Admin support staff can usually answer questions in about five minutes, meaning you save a ton of time and learn insider tips directly from the support team until you learn the ropes yourself.

What scheduling tips would you like to share with customers?

In the normal workflow of creating a schedule, you should be accepting time off requests from users, reviewing rules, and not putting too much pressure on yourself to finish the schedule. Rather than trying to get the schedule done within a couple hours of the Schedule Request period closing, be patient and set aside time to work on the schedule. You're not going to get a perfect schedule the first time you run the generator, and don't get too discouraged or frustrated if the first run isn’t perfect. It shouldn’t take long at all to get the rules and constraints corrected to create a more accurate schedule. Generating a schedule is a very iterative process – you'll generate, see what you don't like, adjust the rules, and regenerate. Repeat that process until you have a schedule you like.

If you're not sure how to fix something to make it the best possible schedule, contact the support team and we'll be more than happy to help.

In a perfect world, everyone would get the exact shifts they want, have all their day-off requests honored, and your group would have all the shifts on the schedule covered without any stress or complaints. Yet it’s helpful for schedulers and providers to remember that sometimes, everyone can't get everything they want. Something always has to give. Communicate the scheduling constraints to your team and be open about the process of scheduling for several providers and several “must haves.”

What are some of the most common questions you get regarding the Shift Admin software, and how do you answer them?

Q: Can users subscribe to their schedules?
A: Yes, they can subscribe using any major calendar application.

Q: Is there a way to see 'published' stats and compare those to 'current' stats?
A: Yes, we can add 'published stats' columns to the Group Stats report so schedulers can track stats after trades and open pickups.

Q: Can schedule requests be limited?
A: Yes, schedulers can limit requests by Schedule Period and can also enter Daily Schedule Request limits.

Q: What's a good penalty to get?
A: There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer for this one. Every group is different. A final penalty of 100,000 may be an amazing schedule for a larger group, where it would be disastrous for a smaller group. The penalty should be used to find conflicting rules and to troubleshoot your settings. Don't fixate on it.

How can a group administrator or physician scheduler get the most out of Shift Admin?

Utilizing the auto-generator in the most efficient method. For example, aim to adjust rules and regenerate instead of manually editing the schedule. When you first start creating schedules, stay in constant contact with our support team so we can help you address any issues you're having.

On top of that, remember that Shift Admin has loads of tools to help you schedule your users and allow your users to make the changes they need at any time. It is advantageous to learn everything the software has to offer, so take a look at our great FAQ/Guide section on the website along with our various how-to videos. And once again, tech support is always a ticket or phone call away!

In your opinion, what makes Shift Admin the ideal solution for its customers?

Shift Admin has superior auto-generation, it’s easy to use, and we have the best-in-industry technical support from an amazing customer service team.

Our incredibly powerful schedule generator provides the most robust set of rules and constraints to schedule users in the most ideal manner, and of course there are a myriad of customization options available. We can build just about any rule you could ever possibly think of, and add in whatever functionality a customer might need. This really gives the admin a great degree of control and provides users more autonomy to interact with their schedules.

Is there any “wrong” way to use Shift Admin? If so, explain how they can optimize their use of the software.

Groups use the system in all kinds of different ways – not that any of them are wrong. Some ways might be more efficient than others, but ultimately, give the auto-generator the ability to do its job to create the most optimized schedules.

For example, people too often generate one or two schedules, then say they had to manually tweak it for hours to get it to look right. At that point, it is immediately clear to our team that we need to review their rules and constraints, because as-is, they’re inaccurate. Instead of manually editing the schedule, we'd need to go in and make the rules more accurate and then regenerate. This iterative process is much faster than manually editing a schedule that was generated with inaccurate rules. Manual editing is something that other software platforms would require of you, but this time-consuming process limits the purpose of our amazing system! Shift Admin has been designed to ensure you have to make as few manual adjustments as possible.

Once the rules are set correctly, you’ll save a great deal of time creating even better schedules in the subsequent months.

What common scheduling mistakes do you see made in the healthcare industry?

Schedulers that believe they can hand create a schedule for large groups better than a scheduling system… Which we respectfully disagree with. Sometimes we'll sign on a new organization and the scheduler will tell us, "I can definitely make one better. My handmade schedules are perfect." Unfortunately (for their lost man hours and a bit of their pride), they quickly see quite the opposite. We add their hand-made schedules into the system and run them through our algorithm to see what rules they broke according to their own rules/constraints to find a less-than-optimal schedule that took them several hours to complete.

Schedulers may also think that just because something has been done ”this way” for years, surely there isn't a better solution. But having a scheduler spend hours or even days manually making the schedule every month is just money down the drain. There is an easier way!

Get started using the most efficient, easy-to-use provider scheduling platform available. Request a demo of Shift Admin now: 

Topics: Efficient Scheduling Tips, Customization

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