Scheduling Software For Healthcare
There are many difficulties associated with the healthcare industry. While many of these challenges involve treating patients, there are also administrative difficulties to consider as well.
Because the healthcare industry is so chaotic, it is important to maintain a set schedule. Scheduling is about more than just letting patients and doctors know when to show up. Scheduling tells healthcare workers what preparations everyone needs to make, such as preparing rooms or equipment, administering medication and setting up future appointments.
In hospitals, scheduling is even more important, since it determines what space is available and whether new patients can be admitted. Proper scheduling also lets the hospital or doctor’s office track whether patients are missing appointments or treatments.
Healthcare Scheduling Software
One of the easiest ways for hospitals to keep track of information is by using healthcare scheduling software. This software refers to any program used to create, organize and manage schedules in a healthcare setting. Some programs are smaller, designed for minimal users in a doctor’s office or local clinics. Other programs are meant for larger institutions, like hospitals. Each program has different uses and functions. There is no right answer to which scheduling software is best for you, but there are certain features to look for.
A key trait for scheduling software is accessibility. Healthcare workers often do not have time to sit down in front of a computer. Fortunately, many healthcare scheduling programs have mobile apps, allowing you to view the schedule or make changes no matter where you are. This is especially important in larger facilities, where staff members are responsible for a large number of patients throughout the day, and are often too busy to communicate schedule changes face to face.
Automation and Time Saving
The best scheduling software not only tracks and shares information, but helps simplify tasks. With many programs, you can set automatic alerts, so whenever a scheduling change occurs, all the relevant users are informed. If you are making staff changes, such as assigning overtime or vacation days, there may be options to integrate with billing software, automatically making payroll adjustments and noting the changed hours. If a staff vacancy needs to be filled, there may be options to alert users not currently scheduled in the relevant department. For administrators, there are typically options to set up reoccurring shifts for employees with static schedules.
Even if a task cannot be automated, using healthcare scheduling software is an excellent timesaver. The software cuts down on how long it takes to create shifts or reschedule employees. This ensures the staff has more time to focus on important tasks and reduces administrative headaches.
In many healthcare industries, the most sought-after feature of scheduling software is communication. If possible, look for scheduling software that integrates with existing programs. For example, if a patient reschedules an appointment with a different doctor, there may be options to transfer previous treatment information as well as notifying about the schedule shift to the new doctor.
Many programs also allow you to add notes in addition to scheduling changes, so everyone understands why there was a change. This is important as it may impact other scheduling decisions. If a procedure is expected to take longer than expected, this can be noted in the change. This prevents administrative issues, such as a busy staff member becoming assigned to multiple tasks at the same time.
Scheduling software not only improves workplace efficiency, but it also increases morale. There are many studies that show one of the top problems in the workplace is poor communication. Scheduling software keeps everyone on the same page. It also makes employees feel like they have greater control over the workplace, which greatly reduces workplace stress. Cutting down on workplace stress also reduces burnout and cuts down on employee turnover, so less time is spent training new employees or conducting interviews.
In larger healthcare industries, a common problem is employees inadvertently working overtime. This commonly occurs after an unexpected schedule shift, requiring an employee to stay longer. With scheduling software, managers can schedule warnings when an employee is close to getting unscheduled overtime. Tracking overtime is not only important for healthcare financing, but it helps managers identify and solve repeat scheduling issues.
Some software has predictive scheduling, which helps you create new schedules by analyzing previous shifts. Predictive scheduling helps you notice issues you might otherwise overlook, such as certain employees being assigned back to back shifts more than others. It can also take into account whether certain employees are consistently rescheduling a shift, suggesting different times to prevent further rescheduling.
Changing a schedule is often a complex process. Most healthcare scheduling software has live communication options. Through the workplace directly, users can easily text one another to organize schedule shifts. Administrators can also set up group conversations, allowing a team to quickly exchange information and come up with a schedule everyone can agree upon.
In larger clinics or hospitals, there are many employees to keep track of. When you are changing a schedule, you often need to take employee experience and specializing training into consideration. Scheduling software allows you to set up employee profiles, so you can quickly access your employee’s qualifications and find a suitable replacement.