Physician On-Call Scheduling and On-Call Management Blog
by Justin Wampach

A Specialists Guide to Surviving On-Call on Christmas

Posted by Justin Wampach on Wed, Dec 12, 2012 @ 04:34 PM

santa hatAt American hospitals, deciding who works which holidays is always a big deal.  While some medical staff like nurses volunteer to work “the biggies” like Christmas and Thanksgiving (especially since they receive premium pay for holiday shifts), most prefer to be home with their families. The way holiday staffing works for nurses is that nurse managers select staff based on whose turn it is to work the holiday, who volunteers, seniority and skills.  They make sure there are enough experienced nurses, unit clerks, surgical technicians and other essential staff to keep their hospital unit fully staffed and open for business. 

The circumstances are usually different for the Doctors since most are not paid extra to be on-call, days like Thanksgiving and Christmas are just another day of on-call duty that they dread.  If you are the lucky Doctor that gets Christmas this year here are a few things to remember as you sit in the physician lounge waiting for the page from the Labor and Delivery unit that your patient is ready.

  1. Be glad you have a stable job. In these trying economic times, you have an good solid income to help pay for your needs, wants and also gifts for your loved ones.
  2. Give sacrificially to someone less fortunate than you. Work with your children on some small gifts you can take to your patients on Christmas Day. You will be teaching them to give and including them in the joy that you have of helping others.
  3. Plan the pot luck for those working the holiday. Getting festive with your co-workers can be a blast and will remind you that you’re not alone.  Try to include everyone, not just other Doctors.
  4. Shop for the perfect Christmas “bling” to wear to work. This could be a basic Santa Hat or some ornament to wear.  You can be excited to “show it off” and cheer everyone up on the holiday.
  5. Set aside special family time around Christmas. Since you know you’re on-call on Christmas, you may need to consider minimizing time at grandma's house if this is not relaxing for your family. Your family needs special time. Try to make your time with them intimate and special; they won’t mind that it is the day before or the day after.
  6. Get creative and have a surprise gift delivered to your loved ones while you work. They will know that you love them and that you were thinking about them while you're at the hospital.
  7. Do something special for the group that is working. Leave small gifts or cards with the nurse’s names on them telling how much you appreciate them being there on the holiday. 
  8. Remember it’s just a few hours; it’s not a lifetime. Maybe it means that you were able to spend time with your family at Thanksgiving or on New Years while your partners are working.
  9. Control your feelings by controlling your thoughts. If you are obsessing about how angry or sad you are, you will be angry and sad. Instead, tell yourself working the holiday is an opportunity to show the true spirit of Christmas to your coworkers, family and patients. If you have a positive attitude, happy feelings will follow.
  10. Be proud that you work holidays – you care when no one else does. Take this time to rejuvenate yourself with love and kindness for your fellow man. You're a Doctor. Be a great one.

Key Takeaway: Be thankful that you are not a Hospitalist or an ER Doctor that will have to be at the hospital working for 12 solid hours, or a solo practitioner that will have to be on-call again next Christmas.   Oh and by the way, thank you!

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Topics: physician scheduling, on call

10 Mistakes Doctors Have Made Buying On-call Software (part 2)

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, May 11, 2012 @ 09:48 AM

describe the imageDoctors who wish to enhance their practice and provide better care and service to their patients and themselves by using physician scheduling software are on the right track. Unfortunately, they don’t always go about it the right way.

Last week we posted three of the top ten mistakes that doctors have made when purchasing call scheduling software.  Here is a recap of the top 3, along with number four through ten.

  1. Wanting too many bells and whistles. 

  2. Trying to save a penny. 

  3. Thinking someone else understand your business.

  4. Losing sight of the basics – KISS:  Your primary aim is to improve your productivity, and you should always keep this in mind! Anything else should come later. For example, we have clients who request payroll integration in their on-call software. But delaying an order or cancelling an order based on just this one feature is unjustified. Nice to have is not the same as “essential” – and adding too many features just results in “bloatware”. It is a mistake to want your software to do too many things right from the start. Get what is essential, and build from there.

  5. Waiting for something better:  Doctors often keep on waiting for something better to come along. Unless you don’t jump in the water, you aren’t going to learn how to swim. Some of the best run private hospitals have been early adopters of technology. Today they might still be using legacy systems, but they are much better run than non IT friendly setups. It’s true that software will evolve over time, but you cannot wait for perfection. Software is always a work in progress, which gets improved and polished incrementally.

  6. Thinking your staff shares your vision:  Many good doctors buy the perfect software and then find that it does not help them at all. Often they blame the software for being unfriendly or useless. Most doctors fail to understand that their staff is one of the key stake holders in this process. Unless the staff uses the software, it is bound to fail. The software may be the best in the world, but if it is not used properly, it isn’t living up to its potential. Doctors need to be firm and to share their vision for the software with their staff. It is a mistake to assume that software will be easily adopted by support staff, nurses and fellow doctors. Provide lots of training – and if some members refuse to use this, you need to take them to task.

  7. Not nurturing innovation:  The biggest stake holders in this industry are the doctors. It is important for them to nurture innovation. Sometimes it is valuable to take a risk or allow a software company to go that extra mile in providing a feature which will change the process flow of your clinic. Doctors who refuse to try out products which provide extra features or new age ideas because they do not understand its utility are closing the door on innovation. A doctor who asks me to block some modules to save money because he feels he will not use them is basically closing his own mind to the potential of using new processes to improve his practice. Do not buy the module in the beginning, but keep an open mind.

  8. Underestimating the complexity of your needs:  Running a clinic is running a small business. It’s a complex enterprise, and often doctors over-estimate their ability to do a good job. Ideally, you should be focused on taking care of your patients, so your staff can run the clinic. If you find you are spending time on routine administrative tasks, this means you are wasting your time and money. There are only 24 hours is your day – learn to use them sensibly. A good doctor scheduling software program will help you to improve your productivity and that of your staff, if you use it to its fullest extent.  Don’t get stuck buying a cheap program which was designed for a small shop – you will end up being unhappy and dissatisfied.

  9. Delaying a decisions:  The single biggest mistake a doctor makes in buying call scheduling software is when he delays his decisions – whether it is thinking about his needs; talking to the vendor; spelling out his requirement; installing the program ; or getting training for his staff. As a result, the vendor is frustrated; the doctor is confused; the staff is anxious. Start small – but start today!

  10. Not providing enough time for training.  While doctors understand that learning a new medical procedure can take time, unfortunately, they are not willing to invest the same time in training their staff – and themselves – in learning how to use the software properly.  This can cause a lot of frustration and when this happens, many doctors just give up on the idea of using any software at all, because they feel their staff is either too busy or not willing to learn something new.  Give your team the benefit of the doubt, also lead by example.  Show your team how important this change is by being a part of it.

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Topics: call scheduling software, physician software, physician scheduling, on call, on-call software, physician scheduling software, doctor scheduling software, on call schedule, call scheduling

10 Mistakes Doctors Have Made When Buying Physician Scheduling Software

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, May 04, 2012 @ 09:51 AM

mistakesChoosing which program to buy to create, maintain and publish your call schedule has never been easy.   Earlier, it was because there were very few programs available.  Today, ironically, it is because there are too many!  Doctors are very confused as to which program they should buy – sometimes, too much choice can be as bad as too little.

Doctors have some special character traits which software producers need to be aware of.

  • To be able to treat a patient and be confident that your decision is right requires tremendous self confidence, which means doctors often have a big ego. Many take the approach that they are always right - even in a field like computer technology.
  • Doctors have a tremendous thirst to learn. Years of med school training allows you to pick up knowledge quickly and most doctors who want to buy software are quite knowledgeable about computers. However, sometimes a little knowledge can be dangerous , and often what doctors know about computers and software leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Doctors are pressed for time, and hence their decisions are based on the fact that “anything that does not gel with me is going to hamper me”. Rather than try to improve their workflow with the help of computers, they’d rather stick to their old dysfunctional habits, even if this hampers their efficiency.

Doctors who wish to enhance their practice and provide better care and service to their patients and themselves by using physician scheduling software are on the right track. Unfortunately, they don’t always go about it the right way. 

10 mistakes doctors have made when purchasing call scheduling software.

  1. Wanting too many bells and whistles:  Some doctors want their software to do everything for them. Sometimes putting too many things in your software tends to delay its deployment and make it too complicated to use. Often, some doctors will end up not buying any program at all, because it does not have everything which they want – which means they deprive themselves of a great opportunity of improving their efficiency in 80% of their practice.  For example, in EMR software some doctors want the entire drug database of 15000 drugs in their software.  Now you know you will never use even 1/100th of these. There are enough online resources to give you these details when you do require this esoteric information. Why load this redundant data in your software and make it slow by cramming it with stuff you will never use? It’s much more sensible to have a small efficient intelligent drug database which you can grow over time. Stick to the basics - your aim is to improve your practice - not to solve the world healthcare crises.

  2. Trying to save a penny:  It’s a simple fact of life that investment reaps rich rewards. Why haggle over a few dollars and try to find the cheapest option?  Negotiating is great, but choosing quality, support and peace of mind is far more important than trying a save a few bucks. It’s easy to get a local company to make a simple Excel spreadsheet to maintain your call schedule. However, in the long run it makes more sense to invest a little more in good software – preferably from a company which is completely focused on the healthcare physician scheduling space. Medical practice is a complex domain, and a software engineer who doesn’t spend time understanding this cannot make a good product. This is why the early successful packages were created by doctors because they did have the right idea. However, they did not have the savvy to remain up-to-date with the latest technology.  Every doctor I know earns enough to invest in a good package which will enhance his practice. Choose your vendor carefully – after all, you want them to be your partners for life and for this, they need to make enough profit.

  3. Thinking someone else understand your business:  A lot of doctors tend to put too much trust in what their software vendor is doing for them. They feel he is the expert, and knows what he is doing. If a custom built package is being made, unless you provide the vendor with adequate knowledge on your processes, templates, wants and need, the program will never do what you want it to. Remember the old saying, “garbage in, garbage out”.  I know doctors who just give a brief outline of what they want and leave it at that. Now the vendor is left scratching his head because he does not really understand what is required of him. He muddles through – but what he produces is not what the doctor wanted, which means a lot of time, money and energy are wasted – and the cycle needs to be repeated again. If you want a custom built solution, you need to be very closely involved. You cannot delegate this. You need to provide all the information required personally. More importantly, you need to review and ask for updates from time to time. Often, the project gets needlessly delayed because the doctor realizes that this was not what he wanted only after the complete package is delivered to him.  Do you really have time for this?  If you are a full time physician, probably not.
View Mistakes #4 through #10

Topics: software for scheduling physicians, physician software, scheduling software, physician scheduling, on call, on-call software, physician scheduling software, adopting on-call software, on call scheduler

Everyone's a winner in a paid trial of call scheduling software

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, Apr 20, 2012 @ 10:00 AM

winnerWould you purchase a car without test driving it? Would you buy a pair of pants without trying them on? We follow the rule of "try before you buy" every day without even thinking about it. Of course, we should follow that same sound principal when we're purchasing an important business tool such as physician scheduling software.

Try before you buy, that seems to be a common theme now days.  I hear it suggested in everything from living together before you are married to purchasing physician scheduling software.  Why, because most people learn some very valuable "stuff" when they try something.

Here are some valuable reasons to try before you buy:

  1. Get a real look under the engine.  You will probably learn something new when you get "full access" to software.  Most product demos hide some of the real gems until after you become a customer.  A trial is a good way to see what's under the hood.
  2. Test results versus your results.  It’s an old marketing trick to display some amazing results or claims on a website or during a demo.  Where the rubber meets the road is when you put your data into a system and see what the results are.  Now will it still meet your needs?
  3. Tests drive the training and service department.  Did you ever notice how nice everyone is when you are buying something?  You tend to see true colors shine through after some of the "newness" has worn off.  If the team is still nice and helpful after 90 days you have probably picked a winner.  Most people can't fake it that long.
  4. Find the hidden gems.  Many times after you use something new you will find a few hidden benefits that you never realized you needed.  These are really fun because they were unexpected.  Some software customers tell us that the gems can sometimes outweigh the original headline features, meaning that they find savings and benefits in different ways.
  5. Limit your risk.  No one wants to look foolish in front of their professional partners.  As I have learned (the hard way) it makes sense when trying something new to limit your risk.  Most of the time when purchasing something like call scheduling software the largest risk is the term: of the agreement.  With a trial you can be sure that everything is a good fit before you make a commitment.

Is a paid trial of call scheduling software ever a waste?  In my opinion, no.  Everyone’s a winner.  You will learn some very valuable lessons and in the end you should know more than when you began.  Sounds like a win to me.


 

 

Topics: call scheduling software, physician scheduling, on call, on-call software, physician scheduling software, call scheduling

Do you know your cost to create and maintain your on call schedule?

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, Mar 23, 2012 @ 10:19 AM

calculatorWe all know what a pain-in-the-butt it is to create, maintain and publish an on call schedule for the doctors in your specialty clinic.  (If you’re new, here is why it sucks)

  • The process is very time consuming to create a schedule
  • The results are perceived as unfair
  • It is difficult to publish to the internet 
  • The providers want access to their schedule on their phone
  • Constant swaps and changes throughout the month

Because of the items listed above we are seeing more and more specialty groups having an administrator or physician create, maintain and publish the physician on-call schedule.  Many of them are even asked to do it on their own time.

Let’s say for example that you are and administrator or physician who is tasked to do the call schedule.  Perhaps you are interested in exploring if there is some software available that can assist you, how do you know how much is too much to pay? Well, the first question you need to ask yourself is, "how much is it costing me today"?  Do you know what your costs are?  Many doctors and administrators do not know and in fact some of them will say that it is not costing anything because they have to do it on their own time at home. 

As a business manager or owner, the "cost" of something is a very important number.  How will you know if you can cut your cost if you don't know what it is to begin with?  Because I have heard this over-and-over we decided to build a cost calculator to help you.  This is very different from a traditional ROI calculator.  The differences are major because an ROI calculator is a sales tool, and a cost calculator is a management tool.

If you do not know what it costs you today to create, maintain and publish your physician on-call schedule I would encourage you to answer our brief 8 question form and learn your cost.  It will take you less than 5 minutes to learn your results.  If you use Call Scheduler's cost calculator, you can be assured that this is a management tool.  We will not be using it to "sell you" our software. 

We want knowledgeable prospects and we are willing to make investments to help the entire medical community understand the costs around creating, maintaining and publishing a call schedule for your doctors.

To give it a try, click hereto begin.

How much is it to outsourcemy call sched


Topics: physician software, physician scheduling, on call, on call schedule, call scheduling

9 Mistakes Doctors Make When Choosing Physician Software

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, Mar 02, 2012 @ 02:38 PM

mistakeChoosing which call scheduling program to buy has never been easy. Earlier, it was because there were very few programs available. Today, ironically, it is because there are too many!  Doctors are very confused as to which program they should buy – sometimes, too much choice can be as bad as too little!

Physicians who wish to enhance their practice and provide better care and service to their patients by using technology are on the right track. Unfortunately, they don’t always go about it the right way.  Some of the important mistakes doctors make are highlighted below.

1. Wanting too many bells and whistles:

Some doctors want their call scheduling software to do everything for them - even pay their taxes (Just joking! ). Sometimes putting too many things in your software tends to delay its deployment and make it too complicated to use. Often, some doctors will end up not buying any program at all, because it does not have everything which they want – which means they deprive themselves of a great opportunity of improving their efficiency in 80% of their practice.  That’s what we recommend sticking to the basics - your aim is to improve your practice - not to solve the world healthcare crises.

2. Trying to save a penny:

It’s a simple fact of life that investment reaps rich rewards. Why haggle over a few dollars and try to find the cheapest option?  Negotiating is great, but choosing quality, support and peace of mind is far more important than trying a save a few bucks. It’s easy to get a local company to make a simple, unsupported database for you to manage your patient’s addresses. However, in the long run it makes more sense to invest a little more in good software – preferably from a company which is completely focused on the healthcare space. Medical practice is a complex domain, and an software engineer who doesn’t spend time understanding this cannot make a good product. This is why the early successful packages were created by doctors because they did have the right idea. However, they did not have the savvy to remain up-to-date with the latest technology. Please stop acting like a miser in choosing a package. Every doctor I know earns enough to invest in a good package which will enhance his practice. Choose your vendor carefully – after all, you want them to be your partners for life, and for this, they need to make enough profit?

3. Losing sight of the basics – KISS :

Your primary aim is to improve your productivity, and you should always keep this in mind! Anything else should come later. For example, we have clients who request Accounts integration in their software. But delaying an order or cancelling an order based on just this one feature is unjustified. Nice to have is not the same as “essential” – and adding too many features just results in “bloat ware”. It is a mistake to want your software to do too many things right from the start. Get what is essential, and build from there.

4. Waiting for something better:

Doctors often keep on waiting for something better to come along. Unless you don’t jump in the water, you aren’t going to learn how to swim! Some of the best run private clinics have been early adopters of technology. Today they might still be using legacy systems, but they are much better run than non IT friendly setups. It’s true that software will evolve over time, but you cannot wait for perfection. It is a mistake to wait when you can always upgrade if you want to later on!

5. Thinking your staff shares your vision:

Many good doctors buy the perfect software and then find that it does not help them manage their physician schedule at all. Often they blame the software for being unfriendly or useless. Most doctors fail to understand that their staff is one of the key stake holders in this process. Unless the staff uses the software, it is bound to fail. The software may be the best in the world, but if it is not used properly, it isn’t living up-to its potential. Doctors need to be firm and to share their vision for the software with their staff. It is a mistake to assume that software will be easily adopted by support staff, nurses and fellow doctors. Provide lots of training – and if some members refuse to use this, you need to take them to task.

6. Not nurturing innovation:

The biggest stake holders in this industry are the doctors. It is important for them to nurture innovation. Sometimes it is valuable to take a risk or allow a software company to go that extra mile in providing a feature which will change the process flow of your clinic. Doctors who refuse to try out products which provide extra features or new age ideas because they do not understand its utility are closing the door on innovation. A doctor who asks me to block some modules to save money because he feels he will not use them is basically closing his own mind to the potential of using new processes to improve his practice. Do not buy the module in the beginning, but keep an open mind.  Even when doctors do not ask for the SMS or Email Plug-in, we still leave it on the User Interface, because just seeing that button there will make them wish it was active when they want to send out a report or reading instantly. Once they see the value, they can always buy the module later on.

7. Underestimating the complexity of your needs:

Running a clinic is like running a small business. It’s a complex enterprise, and often doctors over estimate their ability to do a good job. Ideally, you should be focused on taking care of your patients, so your staff can run the clinic. If you find you are spending time on routine administrative tasks, this means you are wasting your time and money. There are only 24 hours is your day – learn to use them sensibly. A good scheduling software program will help you to improve your productivity and that of your staff, if you use it to its fullest extent. Don’t get stuck using the "free" program which was designed for a small shop – you will end up being unhappy and dissatisfied.

8. Delaying a decision:

The single biggest mistake a doctor makes in buying call scheduling software is when he delays his decisions – whether it is thinking about his needs; talking to the vendor; spelling out his requirement; installing the program ; or getting training for his staff. As a result, the vendor is frustrated; the doctor is confused; the staff is anxious; and patients continue to remain unhappy. Start small – but start today!

9. Not providing enough time for training:

While doctors understand that learning a new medical procedure can take time, unfortunately, they are not willing to invest the same time in training their staff – and themselves – in learning how to use the software properly.  This can cause a lot of frustration and when this happens, many doctors just give up on the idea of using any software at all, because they feel their staff is too stupid.

By avoiding these 9 mistakes that doctors make when choosing physician software you will save yourself, your practice and patients a lot of time and money.


Topics: software for scheduling physicians, physician software, physician scheduling, on-call software, physician scheduling software

Top 7 Reasons to Outsource your on-call schedule

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, Feb 03, 2012 @ 02:16 PM

outsourcingMy company for years has been hymming and hawwing about offering an outsourced call schedule generation and publishing service to our customers.  I was finally able to convince our Board of Directors that this would be a great service to offer busy clinics and doctors who find this task to be one of the worst.  Here is some of the justification that I used when I was trying to sell the idea to my Board of Directors, perhaps you will find it useful if you need to talk with whoever makes these decisions in your practice.

Just so we are all on the same page, Outsourcing is the process of contracting a business function to someone else, according to website Wikipedia.  Typically the business function is something that is commonly performed in-house.  The concept of outsourcing helps firms perform well in their core competencies and reduces the rise of skills or expertise shortage in areas of the company. 

The top reasons for outsourcing call schedule creation and publishing;

  1. Cost savings, the lowering of the overall cost of the service to the clinic.  Our schedulers are faster and more experienced than yours.  Therefore it costs us less to produce similar results.
  2. Focus on core business, if your people are your most valuable resource, then free them up from tasks that do not generate revenue.  Let them focus on what is important.
  3. Knowledge and wider experience.  With all due respect, our schedulers are more experienced than yours; because we have worked with so many different specialty groups we have seen-it-all.  This experience allows us to bring something to the table that you may have not had before.
  4. Catalyst for change.  An organization can use an outsourcing agreement as a catalyst for a major change that could not be achieved before.  This is a perfect scenario for doctors who have been unwilling to change their rules and scheduling methods, making creation nearly impossible.  
  5. Process improvement.  Most organizations do not have the physician schedule creation process documented.  If something happened to the scheduler, most clinics would be left with a big mess.  Outsourcing can improve a process by creating a standard way to achieve the same results and then documenting the process.  If you choose to take the schedule creation back in-house, most likely it would come to you in better shape than when you originally handed it off.
  6. Take it back.  Outsourcing is not permanent; you can take back the work at any time.
  7. Scalability.  With the consolidation of practices happening at lightning speed, it’s not a bad idea to think about how you would handle an increase in workload in the creation of oncall information.  

Call Schedule creation and publishing can be done remotely and delivered digitally and our company can leverage the scale and economy of outsourcing to deliver high value services at a vastly reduced end customer prices.  As you can see the reasons for outsourcing are plentiful, considering the low level of risk associated with a service such as outsourced on-call schedule creation, I think it is definitely worth giving it a try if your practice is constantly struggling with the horrible job of creating, maintaining and publishing the oncall schedule.

How much is it to outsourcemy call sched

Topics: physician scheduling, outsourced scheduling, on call schedule, call scheduling

3 Cost Effective Steps to a Modern On Call Schedule

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, Jan 20, 2012 @ 03:21 PM

old school new schoolHow much time do you currently spend creating, maintaining and publishing your physician oncall schedule?  What tools do you use to assist you?  If you are still creating the schedule by hand and then entering it into Excel or Outlook so that it is accessible to your Doctors online, you might be a good candidate to modernize your process.

The reasons for modernization are pretty simple to understand, the main features that most new users love are:

  1. The ability to program rules into the system
  2. A scheduling engine that will assist you in placing people in jobs
  3. Automatic tallies to prove fairness
  4. Easy way for providers to request and document time off 
  5. Simple way to view the on-call information online

If your ready to take the next step and look at the "new way" here are a few tips that will assist you so that you do not waste your time.

1.  Access your requirements.  What are the top 3-5 things that you expect the software to assist you with.  Put them into a priority list.  Remember that software will not solve world hunger or all of your scheduling needs, make sure you know what is most important for you to get the most value.

2.  Evaluate solutions.  Go to www.google.com and search for call scheduling software or physician scheduling software. Check out a few of the top search results companies and see what they have to offer.  Use the top 3-5 requirements that you discovered above and make sure the software has those features.  Check out a demo.  Look at the references page to see what their current customers think of the product.  The best piece of advice I can give you for this step is to make a decision.  Updating a software system in an office should be a fairly simple decision.  Just make sure that you have an out if it turns out not to be the right choice. 

3.  90-day-trial.  I am a big advocate of trying before buying.  Keep in mind that call scheduling software requires set-up and data entry to use the system, but it is worth the effort for a fair evaluation.  As long as you have a full feature trial I would also suggest finding a paid trial.  With a paid trial you will most likely have free training and support.  These are critical services as a software newbie.  I would pick a trial over a money back guarantee any day, why?  Because in a “money back guarantee” you’re not the one who decides if you get your money back, the person that has your money is.  Don't pay for services in advance and take that risk.  All SaaS call scheduling software providers offer monthly, pay-as-you-go options.

Modernizing your on-call scheduling process with software is an easy investment that will become more valuable each time you use it.

 


Topics: call scheduling software, oncall, physician scheduling, physician scheduling software, doctor scheduling software, adopting on-call software, on call schedule

5 Disastrous Misconceptions about On-call Software

Posted by Justin Wampach on Thu, Dec 01, 2011 @ 02:48 PM

misconceptionI think it is helpful when everyone is on the same page.  Most of the time when my expectations were not meet in the past was because I made incorrect assumptions.  I thought I might be able to clear-up some misconceptions before you start looking for physician scheduling software.

Misconception #1.  Software should be free or low cost and have all the features.  This misconception comes from some in the software industry who have developed great software for free.  The cost of software comes from client focused development; bug fixing/testing, integration, training and support, and sales and marketing.  Although few customers want to pay for sales and marketing expenses, everyone wants support/training and new features along with a product that is free of bugs.  As you know, this takes money.  You should want your vendor partners to make money so that they can continue to offer you good products and great service.  This cannot be done for free (at least for too long)

Misconception #2.  Oncall software will replicate our current paper/Excel process.  If you use Excel to create your doctors call schedule, I'm sure that you have noticed that you can put anything in any "cell" that you want.  You can break your rules and preferences; you can create a schedule one day-at-a time.  Although many things are possible, it does not always mean that you should.  Creating a call schedule using call scheduling software is different than with Excel.  Do not try to force your current process into a new system.  Be open to change.  Think about what you want to accomplish and why as opposed to focusing on why the software is doing a certain thing.  Excel is predictable; most on-call software was designed not to be, in order to create a better, schedule.

Misconception #3.  Software will save you time right out of the gate.  Let’s be real here.  Everything takes time to set-up and configure as well as master.  When you have mastered the software, most any software, it will save you time.

Misconception #4.  You don't need any training.  In order to be a ninja master, you need training.  How much training depends on your comfort level with using software in general.  People who do not get proper training on how to use software always blame the software when they cannot accomplish what they want to do.  Non-trained users are usually the first to jump ship.  If you are not committed enough to schedule and attend training, then your problem is probably not significant enough to warrant the purchase.  In other words, if you don't want training, save your money on the software!

Misconception #5.  Our rules and process are probably too complicated for a software system.  This is sometimes accurate.  Some medical groups are very complex.  For example a group of 25 Cardiologists with 50 jobs at 10 locations.  This is pretty complex.  What is important here is to understand that nothing will solve all of your needs.  Nothing is 100 push-button and if it was you probable would not want to pay the fees.  What you should be looking at is a prioritization of what is important (most to least).  Also what is important to your Doctors, sometimes software is not going to save the scheduler time at all, but it will assist in communication of the call information to the providers.   Remember what is important.  If you don't know, you should not be looking.

With the proper expectations of what physician scheduling software can and will do, along with a clear need and established budget range is a great place for any shopper to start.

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Topics: software for scheduling physicians, physician scheduling, on-call software, physician scheduling software, doctor scheduling software, adopting on-call software, on call schedule, call scheduling

The on call schedule is more than just a calendar

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 @ 04:07 PM

passionWhen I began my career at Adjuvant several years ago I needed to find my passion for the industry.  How the hell do you find passion for creating, maintaining and publishing call schedules?  I will be honest, it took me a while.

I was constantly asking myself the question, why on-call, why physician scheduling, why work with doctors in the first place?  That is a good question, most of them are almost impossible to get ahold of, very close with their money, and are not the quickest decision makers.

Still looking for passion, I first centered  around creating good software, after all we are a software company, right?  I also developed passion for running a good business, after all I am a business man, right? And then I started talking to not only current customers of ours, but more importantly new prospects who were sharing stories about "why" they were calling us.

Would you believe me if I told you that the physician oncall schedule is one of the most important schedules with the clinic and the hospital. Here's why;

  1. How can you schedule staff and patients until you know where the Doctor is or is not?
  2. Why would you need support services like xray and lab if there is not a Doctor available to see patients?
  3. Who is needed most in the Emergency Department at every hospital in the US?
  4. Who is needed the most during a complicated delivery or procedure?

Inside of every square in an on-call calendar there is a persons name.  That name represents a trained medical doctor who will drop everything and come and help you when they are called.  Some of them will be so busy with calls that they will sleep at the hospital until they are releaved. This is the person that is going to help my family member when they show up at 3:00 in the morning at my local hospital with chest pains or after a car accident.

On-call doctors and professionals are unsung heros and deserve to be treated that way.  This is where I found my passion.  I realized that our company dosen't just make software or try to convince doctors to become more efficient with thier time, our software makes sure that when you need them the most, the doctor is there, no matter what day or time.  We help professionals save lives. 

I am certain that there have been instances, especially with our OB/Gyn clients when the information in our system allowed for a process to be expidited.  This is when the difference between 1 and 5 minutes could be the difference between life and death.  We helped!

The on-call schedule is more than just a calendar, it is some of the most valuable and useful information that a hospital and clinic have.  If you are the person that creates, maintains and publishes doctors call schedules, please remember how important your job is.  If you are a physician who is taking call assignments, please know that we take our job and yours very seriously and will continue to do whatever we can to make sure that you are in the right place at the right time.  Ooh and by-the-way, Thank you!

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Topics: software for scheduling physicians, physician scheduling, on-call software, physician scheduling software, doctor scheduling software, on call schedule, call scheduling