Scheduling and the future of telemedicine

Scheduling and the future of telemedicine

Recently, telemedicine has grown rapidly thanks to advancements in technology and the strain of the recent pandemic. After an initial significant spike in virtual visits beginning in March of 2020, telemedicine now appears to be plateauing, inspiring speculation about the future of telemedicine.

The future of telemedicine

Telemedicine has advanced by leaps and bounds in the past few years, and more improvements are on the horizon to make life and care easier for both patients and providers.

Advancements in diagnostic technology

Now that major payors are recognizing and reimbursing telemedicine, major corporations are making investments to rapidly expand telemedicine and related benefits. Advancements in cellular phone technology are making so much more possible today, and have even translated into more mobile application-based telemedicine services.

Patients can already transmit physical findings via high-resolution photographs, record and transmit EKG strips, and check heart rate and pulse oximeter readings. Future application-based telemedicine services will likely expand on these at-home diagnostics.

Specifically, tools are already being developed that utilize cell phones and additional hardware to allow remote doctors to listen to heart and lung sounds, examine ear canals, and diagnose peripheral arterial disease. Patients can access these diagnostic tools at mobile health stations and obtain an accurate diagnosis.

Remote patient monitoring is also occurring in some health systems to reduce staff exposure to COVID-19. Live streaming and data collection from bedside monitoring systems let providers monitor multiple patients and determine when staff are needed at the bedside.

Further, it lets patients with minor symptoms remain at home. Home-based symptom monitoring allows the patient to enter their symptoms through an application-based monitoring portal. Any sign of decompensation by the patient triggers a phone call from a nurse, who will triage the patient and advise them on their next steps.

Expansion from acute to chronic care

Currently, a large percentage of telemedicine addresses acute issues. Patients see a virtual doctor to diagnose ear infections, coughs and minor injuries. While this is expected to continue, there is also a need for expansion for chronic disease management. Physicians are already addressing health concerns like hypertension, diabetes and autoimmune diseases in the virtual arena, but look for more of this in the near future.

Some major health systems are already developing hospital-at-home models, in which stable but chronically ill people can receive treatment at home for exacerbations that traditionally would have resulted in a hospital stay.

Improved reimbursement rates

Historically, reimbursement for telemedicine services has been low. Currently, 31 states have parity laws that mandate health insurers to pay for telemedicine services. Look for this number to expand. However, providers still find themselves with low reimbursement rates, and many insurers have not published their policies for reimbursement. This is evolving, with some of the larger insurers recognizing telehealth services and promising competitive rates.

Many changes have also been made in Medicare coverage restrictions as a result of the CARES Act in response to COVID-19 and the increased demand for telemedicine services. Previous barriers, like state line restrictions for providers and the need for a pre-existing patient-provider relationship, have been waived. Intrigma also offers credentialing management to help expedite the addition of new staff.

Telemedicine growth and the effect on your providers

Although telemedicine is shifting healthcare as we know it, the results have thus far proven positive for both patients and providers.

Remote care is safer care

Telemedicine creates a safe zone between the patient and the provider, so your providers no longer need to expose themselves to every virus and illness that afflicts their patients. Along the same line, if your provider is diagnosed with COVID-19, they can recover at home and still care for patients. This reduces losses in work time and compensation, and it reduces the spread of disease.

Appropriate use of resources

An estimated 75% of in-person visits, including expensive and time-consuming ER and urgent care visits, could be handled just as effectively by phone or virtual visit. If the ER is not overcrowded with patients seeking care for minor ailments, this resource can be more appropriately used for the sickest of patients. This, in turn, reduces healthcare spending and can increase volume for your providers. If patients utilize telemedicine instead of the ER, your providers offering virtual visits will be in greater demand.

Improving profit margins

With the shift to telemedicine, providers are questioning the need for expensive offices and support staff. Many providers are partnering with telemedicine platforms to streamline care. This can reduce time and financial losses due to late patients and patient no-shows. Generally, providers can see more patients via telemedicine than they can in person, so this increased volume combined with less overhead translates into a healthier bottom line.

Improved patient care and outcomes

Providers often find telemedicine benefits their patients. Especially in remote areas, patients may lack access to primary care and specialty services. Your telemedicine provider’s ability to connect with patients regardless of their location improves access and empowers providers to help more people.

Telemedicine and scheduling

Modern scheduling software can streamline telemedicine visit scheduling. Your scheduling software should be able to differentiate between in-person visits and virtual visits as well as minimize workflow disruptions. Additionally, you should be able to adjust staffing according to patient volumes and specify visit time slots to the visit type.

Intrigma’s Efficient Scheduler allows your providers to balance work and life. They can build their own schedules, change or swap shifts, access schedules remotely and for multiple sites, and fill open shifts quickly. The software reduces the amount of time spent building and revising schedules and tracking overtime, paid time off and vacation requests.

Intrigma’s solution can also help you track patient volumes and adjust staffing in real time to avoid costly overstaffing and frustrating understaffing. Additionally, providers who are working from home can request time slots that respect their family time but still let them be productive and care for patients.

Telemedicine is not just a trend, but a rapidly expanding medical technology that has become mainstream and is here to stay. As healthcare evolves, scheduling software must keep pace to ensure patient and provider satisfaction. To learn more about how Intrigma’s scheduling solutions can help your providers provide efficient telemedicine services, contact Intrigma today.

Telehealth versus Telemedicine and the role your scheduling software plays

The year 2020 brought telehealth and telemedicine to the forefront of healthcare. In fact, the latest estimates predict that virtual care visits will exceed one billion in 2020. While both have existed in some capacity for decades, the unique challenges faced in the healthcare industry this year have made the virtual healthcare environment more mainstream than ever before.

Many differences exist between telehealth and telemedicine, but both can be performed effectively while addressing the healthcare deficit, and high-performing scheduling software can help streamline the delivery of telemedicine and telehealth services.

What is the difference?

Telehealth is a broad term that refers to any medical support or communication provided to patients from a distance or in a remote capacity. This can include scheduling appointments, ordering prescription refills, making lab results available to patients and providing support for referrals. Telehealth is not a service but an attempt to improve patient care and communication between the patient and the provider’s office.

Examples of telehealth include patients’ ability to make an appointment online or directly message their provider’s office staff. If a patient has a question about a symptom, they can log into the patient portal and quickly send the office a message. Staff can then give a simple answer via the portal or direct the patient to make an appointment to be seen in person or virtually. Nurse on-call is another telehealth offering, where patients can chat with a nurse after hours for medical advice. Many telehealth offerings do not involve a medical provider at all (and therefore are not billable). In fact, many telehealth offerings do not even involve patients. Telehealth can also refer to services like staff training, continuing medical education and provider credentialing.

Telemedicine, on the other hand, is a service that is meant to provide individualized care to a patient through an encounter that is accomplished using audio and video support. The virtual appointment does not differ a lot from a face-to-face appointment. The provider and patient can still have a real-time conversation, the provider can evaluate the patient with some limited aspects of the physical exam and the patient has the chance to ask questions.

Telemedicine services are billable and are recognized by Medicare as a reimbursable service, as long as the service meets certain federal guidelines in regards to safety and quality. In many remote areas, telemedicine has increased access to healthcare providers that many patients would have gone without. Rural areas often have a shortage of specialists, and telemedicine is quickly making this less of a barrier to care for patients.

Key elements of telemedicine

It is important to realize that a telemedicine encounter must incorporate the same aspects of care as an in-person visit to be effective. Providers must still conduct a detailed history and review of systems. They must still perform and document a physical exam, although it may be somewhat limited by the patient’s remote location. Providers must also consider diagnosis and differential diagnoses, and then prescribe a treatment. Additionally, they are still responsible for patient education – if anything, it is more important in the virtual health encounter to spend time on education to ensure the patient understands the treatment plan.

All of this can be time-consuming, so providers’ schedules have to accommodate virtual visits. Many providers like a balance of in-person and virtual visits, so it is imperative that a scheduling software solution can differentiate the two and be flexible when assigning time blocks for appointments.

The effectiveness of many organizations’ scheduling software was recently put to the test during the COVID-19 crisis. Many medical services were canceled or delayed in an attempt to protect crucial healthcare resources and respect social distancing guidelines. As a result, this has created a healthcare deficit.

Those patient needs that were delayed did not just disappear, and now that some restrictions are being lifted, patients are trying to catch up with appointments and procedures. Many offices are finding themselves overwhelmed with requests for virtual appointments, prescription refills, orders for procedures and testing, and prior approvals. The last thing an office needs when demand is so high is a scheduling system that is not flexible and is difficult to use. If office staff is spending hours making changes to schedules, it is time for a change.

How can your scheduling software streamline the delivery of telemedicine?

First and foremost, your scheduling solution must meet the unique demands of your organization. Whether you are a small physician group, or a major health system with thousands of providers spread across multiple locations, Intrigma has scheduling software to meet your needs. Intrigma’s software is innovative, flexible and can be manipulated quickly if the needs of your organization change.

Intrigma customers found this scheduling technology and flexibility essential during COVID-19. When a surge in virtual visits occurred, that translated into understaffed clinics, overworked providers and less patient care. With Intrigma’s scheduling software, providers were able to swap shifts and pick up empty shifts efficiently to close the gap and provide patients with proper care. Additionally, providers who were working from home needed to have real-time access to the schedule without coming into the office, and Intrigma’s mobile app reminded them of shifts and important announcements so miscommunication was easily avoided. Having a scheduling software that does not support flexibility like this can put patients at risk and unnecessarily stress out providers.

Providers also find Intrigma easy to use and voice their satisfaction in being able to participate in building their own schedules while meeting patient needs – this is a big driver behind provider satisfaction.

Scheduling is complicated, and telehealth and telemedicine add more complexity. There are many details that need to be considered, and without innovative software, this task can be time-consuming and costly to the organization. Don’t let patients fall through the cracks and go without care because of scheduling glitches. If your organization is considering a change in scheduling software, the time is now. Patients depend on their healthcare experts, and experts need a scheduling solution that is dependable as well. Contact Intrigma to get started.

 

Urgent care utilizes dynamic scheduling system to optimize patient and provider satisfaction

Urgent care utilizes dynamic scheduling system to optimize patient and provider satisfaction

At a very busy urgent care in New York City, patients scan their driver’s licenses as they enter and are immediately registered. There never seems to be a long waiting period, whether five patients sign in during an hour or 15. Staffing levels vary throughout the day, but the flow of patients appears seamless. There are never too many providers or too few providers despite varying patient volumes. How is this possible?

Scheduling software case study

CityMD offers patients convenient access to walk-in urgent care centers. The organization has grown from one location and four physicians in 2010 to over 600 providers across 100 locations offering over 400 services today. With over 5 million patients treated to date, CityMD required a revolutionary scheduling process that would ensure adequate staffing and tracking to accommodate surges in patient volumes and multiple care providers across many locations. Also, periods of overstaffing were reduced, which translated into an improved bottom line. CityMD partnered with Intrigma for intelligent scheduling software to make this seamless staffing possible.

Features of an ideal scheduling system

We’ve found that the most sophisticated software systems identify peak patient volume times and match these to appropriate staffing levels. Open shifts can be posted and providers can access real-time scheduling needs wherever they are on their personal mobile device.

With Intrigma, providers can input scheduling preferences online, eliminating the need to pass around paper schedules worn with eraser marks or make multiple phone calls to providers who are hard to reach due to busy schedules. Shift swaps can be accomplished quickly between providers on their mobile devices. Providers can see scheduling needs due to vacations, leaves and other staffing challenges.

Dynamic scheduling software utilizes a modular platform that is easily manipulated to adapt to changing needs. For example, during the COVID-19 outbreak, it allows data to be easily changed to adapt to unit staffing needs and allows staff to schedule shifts in locations where they’re not normally scheduled. Also, telehealth visits can be quickly added to the scheduling platform.

Efficient scheduling helps both providers and patients

Providers feel empowered to control their own schedule, enhancing work-life balance, staff satisfaction and employee retention rates. The perception of a better work-life balance reduces burnout and boosts patient safety. The schedule’s transparency to all providers helps staff feel involved in the success of the unit and empowers them to take on overtime as desired. A user-friendly scheduling platform also increases staff satisfaction.

Building monthly schedules across departments can be complicated and time-consuming. Schedulers must consider vacations, paid time off, family and medical leave, short and long-term disability, breaks and overtime. Intrigma’s secure scheduling platform can lower the time spent scheduling by up to 90%.

Reducing incidences of overstaffing and optimizing staffing to meet patient volume surges increases patient and provider satisfaction and saves your organization money. Organizations that use innovative scheduling software often report bottom-line savings of 20%. Adequate staffing also translates into shorter patient wait times and higher patient satisfaction scores.

For more information about how Intrigma can help your organization grow, try the company’s free software.

A case study Giving nurses input into scheduling

Case Study: Nurse Staff Scheduling

One of the biggest challenges hospitals face is turnover of nurses. Keeping qualified, engaged nurses who love their job can save an organization money and impact patient satisfaction. Southampton Hospital in New York has succeeded in overcoming this challenge.

Case study

Southampton Hospital is a 100-bed community hospital that employs over 200 nurses. Annually, it admits 6,500 patients, has 25,000 emergency room visits and 750 births. A seasonal influx of patients during the summer tourism months has historically created challenges in staffing and scheduling. Nursing union mandates required many hours of managerial time spent monthly in each unit creating schedules, filling staffing shortages, mediating union concerns over scheduling conflicts and managing the cost of overtime.

To overcome these challenges, Southampton Hospital decided to employ Intrigma’s Efficient Scheduler for Nurses. Since then, the hospital has seen major changes in efficiency and satisfaction among staff and patients.

Raise healthcare efficiency

New scheduling technology has resulted in both a sizable drop in time spent scheduling shifts and a notable increase in nursing staff retention. These two changes have improved the hospital’s overall efficiency.

Dramatically reduced scheduling time.Nurse managers on each unit had been spending 40 hours every month on scheduling. Following implementation of advanced scheduling software, they saw a 90% reduction in nurse manager time devoted not only to creating schedules, but to reducing costly scheduling conflicts. Since schedule requests can now be made online, there are no longer multiple avenues for staff requests to be sent to the nurse managers, which reduces mistakes and saves time.

Lower labor costs and turnover. Research has shown that nursing turnover is costly. The American Nurses Association estimates the cost of turnover of one nurse at $22,000 to $64,000. This cost involves advertising, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, comprehensive orientation and training, plus the lower productivity level of new nurses. Also, nursing turnover can lead to more nursing turnover since nurses leaving one organization may take their friends and coworkers with them. Southampton Hospital has seen a huge annual savings of $300,000 since implementing Intrigma’s Efficient Scheduler for Nurses.

Raise staff and patient satisfaction

Easier and more efficient scheduling boosts satisfaction among both nursing staff and patients.

Give nurses control of their schedules.Nurses are the lifeblood of hospitals. Yet they often feel undervalued and taken advantage of. Nurses like to have some control over when they work; lack of control and flexibility in the workplace is often cited as a top reason for nurse turnover. Allowing nurses to access their schedule and input scheduling requests from home lets them involve their families in the decision-making process. Employing a collaborative staffing model is a huge step in improving work-life balance for nurses.

Increase Press Ganey patient satisfaction scores. As an added benefit of utilizing Intrigma’s scheduling software, Southampton Hospital saw an increase in Press Ganey patient satisfaction scores from the 80th percentile to the high 90th percentile. With the software, nurses perceive more control over their schedules and in turn feel more valued. This fosters a culture of teamwork and collaboration within the hospital, and happy nurses translate into happy patients.

Nurses are always putting others’ needs ahead of their own. In order for healthcare organizations to recruit and retain these valuable front-line workers, they must give back. Help your nurses help your patients by giving them scheduling software that makes their job a little less stressful.

 

Your Complete Guide to Provider Scheduling

Your Complete Guide to Provider Scheduling

Many healthcare organizations believe that their scheduling software does only that – generate schedules. However, technology has advanced, and the best scheduling software can do so much more. It has the ability to save your organization and providers time, impact the work-life balance of your providers, and improve the efficiency and productivity of your employees.

Intelligent scheduling software also has the ability to generate schedules automatically, manage staffing ratios and gaps, and match patient demand to provider productivity. These are elements of scheduling which are often time-consuming to staff and difficult to manage.

Additional ways scheduling software can effectively serve your organization is to integrate payroll, centralize scheduling requests, and allow providers more control of their schedules.

Generate schedules automatically

Advanced scheduling software can create schedules automatically based on pre-populated scheduling rules. In addition to rules, providers can submit their own specific requests for time off, specific shifts or just state when they are available to work, and you can set par levels in advance to ensure staffing needs are met. Once all providers input their choices, you simply have to approve the schedule. To make things even easier, you only need to input areas that have rotating schedules one time, and you can apply this template to all future schedules, with only a few tweaks if needed. As a result, this greatly reduces the time you spend on scheduling.

Cut scheduling time in half

Gone are the days of passing around paper calendars that get so marked up with pencils and eraser marks that they become illegible. You no longer have to scroll through endless emails and texts to determine who wants what days/shifts off either. With intelligent scheduling software, all of this is done online or through a mobile app, with scheduling rules and staffing needs built into the software. The goal is to handle diverse department needs and complex schedule creation effortlessly, including call schedules and cross-credential schedules, even across multiple departments, units and sites. Additionally, since scheduling rules are built in, it makes final approval happen much faster.

A hospital in Southampton, New York was experiencing constant struggles with nurse scheduling. With over 200 nurses and multiple units to staff, along with union rules that had to be followed, nurse managers were spending an average of 40 hours a month building and editing schedules. The staff was frustrated due to scheduling conflicts and errors. After switching to Intrigma Scheduler Nursing Edition, the organization saved $300,000 a year due to nurse manager time savings, staff retention and reduced overtime usage. Additionally, allowing the nurses more control over their own schedule creation reduced staffing conflicts and errors, thus increasing job satisfaction among the nurses. This, in turn, led to a major increase in the facility’s Press Ganey scores, from 80% to the high 90% benchmark.

The value of automated scheduling is seen in other industries as well as healthcare. For example, a Midwest manufacturing company calculated its annual man-hours spent on schedule creation and resolving grievances related to the schedule at nearly 20,000, or the equivalent of nine and a half FTEs annually. After implementing automated scheduling, not only did the organization save time and nearly $5 million, but it also reduced the number of worker grievances due to errors in scheduling and policy processes.

Create schedules that are fair to all providers

Scheduling software with built-in scheduling logic has the ability to evaluate each provider’s assignments. This allows the software to provide fair schedules by:

  • Avoiding assigning providers too many hours in total across multiple sites or units.
  • Ensuring that a provider is not scheduled for a day shift immediately following a night assignment.
  • Taking into account the provider’s preferences when automating the schedule.
  • Making sure holidays and weekends are fairly distributed among staff.
  • And more!

Harvard Business Review reveals some of the risks of uneven distribution of workloads among staff. The most common scenario is that the highest performing members of a team become overworked, disillusioned and resentful because they feel they are doing the lion’s share of the work. Meanwhile, the lower performers tend to lose motivation because they feel they aren’t being challenged or are being overlooked for assignments and promotions. Scheduling software that addresses workforce analytics and workload distribution can help managers avoid these pitfalls.

Advanced scheduling software utilizes analytics to track provider workloads, rotate the busiest days amongst providers, and ensure even distribution of shift requirements, like weekends and holidays. This is accomplished while respecting staffing needs and considering provider preferences. Disputes can also be easily tracked and resolved with software-generated reports.

Despite success stories like the one above, many people are surprised to learn that automated scheduling improves staff retention. In addition, the Society for Human Resource Management states that a lack of schedule flexibility is the reason a third of workers have left a job. In fact, 80% of employees state they would be more loyal to their employer if there was more flexibility, and 25% say they would rather trade a portion of their salary in exchange for a schedule that is less rigid. Additionally, the number one reason employees seek out jobs with flexible scheduling is work-life balance. A full 75% of employees feel that a flexible schedule allows them to live a healthier life and experience less stress in their daily life.

Ensure quotas/FTEs are met

It is crucial for your organization to meet staffing needs while encouraging the productivity of physicians and advanced practitioners. To make this easier, you can build quotas into the staffing rules to help ensure productivity while meeting patient needs.

Different units have different staffing mixes, FTEs and quotas. No matter your specialty area, whether it be telemedicine, urgent care, emergency departments or others, you can utilize the customizable software to benefit your organization. Utilizing a modular-based technology, a base schedule is built and any changes can easily be added to the platform to transform the system into a unique tool built specifically to help you and your providers meet quotas. The dashboard updates in real time, so if you need to make staff changes, you can see a side-by-side comparison between the actual calendar and the quota/FTE tallies. This allows you to maintain a running count of quotas/FTEs.

Manage staffing ratios and gaps

Advanced scheduling software can help your organization avoid costly overstaffing and frustrating understaffing.

A recent HIMSS article noted that workforce management digital health tools, such as automated scheduling software, are helping to alleviate nursing burnout by identifying gaps in shift work and generating schedules automatically. This type of software can help managers easily make required adjustments to the schedule to fill gaps in real time, based on complex scheduling factors such as daily staffing levels, staff quotas, surges in patient census, time off requests and staff availability.

For example, using Intrigma’s Health System Tracker feature, an entire health system in Oregon, Legacy Health, was able to effectively manage a difficult schedule during the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Intrigma helped the health system track gaps in newly added surge shifts while monitoring providers’ overtime worked. Intrigma’s Tracker feature updates in real time, so you can adjust the schedule while tracking how it affects overtime, weekends worked, COVID-19 shifts worked and more. You can also view the Tracker feature side by side with the actual schedule to see the updates as you make them.

The scheduling system also alerts administrators about empty shifts to streamline filling gaps in the schedule. This was especially helpful during COVID-19 when there were increased patient volumes and additional shifts being added to the schedule. Staff can also see the availability of open shifts and assign themselves with Intrigma’s Open Shifts feature. When there is this type of schedule transparency, there tends to be fewer staffing conflicts. Providers can see the needs of their department and determine where they can help. Additionally, with mobile app and home access, staff can communicate with family prior to taking on extra assignments.

Another effect of the COVID-19 pandemic was the rapid expansion of telemedicine. Organizations need flexible scheduling software that can evolve and keep up with practice changes now more than ever. For example, many providers were shifted to virtual visits and work-from-home assignments, and without scheduling flexibility, this could potentially cause a scheduling nightmare and staff frustrations. Intelligent scheduling software can help close the gap between telemedicine and in-person care while still monitoring and preventing staff stress and burnout.

Match patient demand to provider productivity

Staffing shortages can create provider frustration and patient dissatisfaction. Essentially, providers get frustrated because they have to work harder and faster when understaffed and thus feel as if they don’t have the time to provide quality healthcare to their patients. Patients get frustrated because of crowded waiting rooms, long wait times and then feeling rushed through an appointment they waited a long time for.

Staffing overages can also be a source of stress for providers because they are underutilized and not fulfilled in their daily work life. This is not only stressful for the providers, but also for the institutions which are paying for the salaries of the providers.

Increase patient satisfaction by decreasing long wait times

Patient wait times are a major driver in patient satisfaction. The Vitals study report in 2018 revealed that 30% of patients have left a provider’s office prior to being seen due to an extended wait period. About 20% of the time, a patient will go as far as to get a new provider due to wait times. The offices that consistently rank the highest in patient satisfaction scores have wait times of 15 minutes or less.

Decrease triggers for physician burnout

On the provider side, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality cites chaotic work environments, time pressure and lack of work-life balance as the top triggers for physician burnout. AHRQ has also identified some of the most promising interventions for decreasing physician burnout, and they include flexible scheduling, more attention to work-life balance and allowing more time on the schedule for complex patient appointments.

Integrate payroll within scheduling platforms

Precise payroll tracking is critical to your organization and your employees. It is a matter of ethics to ensure that employees are appropriately compensated for the time they spend working. It also helps your organization withhold, pay and track taxes as well as create profit and loss statements.

Intrigma’s Efficient PayManager can automatically calculate payroll and keep track of overtime, night differential calculations, holiday pay and multiple pay rates. The software also has a PTO tracking tool, which will ensure that the time off is properly accounted for, and it provides payroll transparency for providers with an easy-to-understand itemization of compensation. This simplification of payroll eliminates the need to create Excel spreadsheets and reduces the risk of human error.

What about unplanned overtime? It can wreak havoc on budgets. However, when emergency surges require employees to work extra, it won’t come as a surprise with intelligent scheduling software – overtime alerts can flag when a schedule will include unplanned overtime. This gives you time to either adjust the schedule to avoid the overtime or justify the extra cost if it is unavoidable.

Other benefits of an integrated payroll system include:

  • Compare actual hours worked with anticipated schedules, which can help administrators plan future schedules to maximize productivity.
  • Reduced paperwork that makes working remotely more efficient for the administrative staff.
  • Less time spent on payroll, which leaves more time for other business.

Centralize scheduling requests

You no longer have to keep track of multiple avenues for staff requests. Scheduling software often has online portals and mobile apps to allow providers to input all their time-off requests and shift preferences. This allows for one central location to funnel all requests, thereby reducing human error because there are no slips of paper, post-it notes, texts, emails or instant messages to sort through to organize scheduling requests.

Communication lines are always open between schedulers and staff with Intrigma’s Efficient Communications. Post important announcements on the schedule, send secure texts or pages to your staff and send shift reminders to maximize communication with the organization. Staff can also access the scheduling platform from any location or device, enhancing communication and closing any information gaps.

Give providers more control over their schedules

A study published in theJournal for Nurses in Professional Development found that nurses self-reported an increase in autonomy and professional development assessment scores, and two of four hospitals surveyed reported a decrease in nurse turnover rates following implementation of self-scheduling software. Reducing nurse turnover rates can translate into huge savings for hospitals. According to the 2020 NSI Nursing Solutions National Healthcare Retention and RN Staffing Report, the cost of replacing a single RN is estimated at an average of $44,000 and just a 1% decrease in the rate of nursing turnover can save an average hospital over $300,000 per year.

Thus, a key to provider satisfaction is freedom. With Intrigma’s solution, providers can trade shifts without scheduler approval or adjust their schedule with short notice – and it can all be done from home or a mobile device. This autonomy leads to increased feelings of value among providers, which lessens burnout and staff turnover. As an indirect result, organizations then avoid the high cost of hiring, onboarding and training new employees.

Secure your data

Data security in healthcare is imperative. While scheduling systems do not generally have a large amount of private information, basic demographic data is considered personally identifiable information (PII). This includes data such as:

  • Name.
  • Phone number.
  • Address.
  • Date of birth.
  • Sex.
  • Ethnicity.
  • Social Security number.
  • Emergency contact information.

A breach of such information is considered a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violation. These breaches can be costly – even a basic demographic data breach can cost an organization millions of dollars. In fact, in 2014, Community Health Systems settled a $5 million multi-state action due to the security breach of PHI of over 6 million individuals. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a Chinese group hacked into the organization’s system, installed malware and stole patient data.

In addition to the monetary penalties that such a data breach entails, there are typically other corrective actions that must be implemented and followed for years after the initial breach. These measures can be costly and time-consuming to implement. Being proactive in the data security realm, instead of reactive, is the best plan. Intrigma provides 24/7 monitoring, transaction log backups every ten minutes and full data backups every six hours to ensure data security and disaster recovery. Additionally, multiple database servers secured on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform ensure that your organization’s information is secure.

In summary

Scheduling software has evolved vastly in recent years. Your organization needs a system that has a multitude of functions, offers built-in flexibility and gives your employees what they deserve. Scheduling software should be working for you to make scheduling faster and easier to improve the efficiency of your clinical operations. Intrigma was founded in 2004 with these goals in mind, and today we serve hundreds of organizations across the world with complex scheduling needs. To learn more about how Intrigma can help you implement efficient scheduling solutions, contact us today.