The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many new challenges to healthcare in the United States and across the world. From patient surges to healthcare worker exposure and illness, the potential to be caught off guard is a real threat to staff and patients alike. Scheduling software can help your organization match provider availability and productivity to patient demand, manage schedules according to demand, and provide real-time access to the schedule.
To maximize efficiency, schedules should do more than document shifts. They should be an integral tool in optimizing providers’ jobs. Fortunately, intelligent scheduling software can enhance schedules to be more interactive and streamlined. For example, scheduling software can help match provider availability and productivity with patient demand. Intrigma can integrate with historical data to predict census and patient demand. This feature helps your organization avoid costly overstaffing during times of low patient census and frustrating understaffing during patient surges. It also helps avoid overtime by tracking each provider’s worked hours. In fact, you can enable specific tracking features to record overtime or FEMA hours.
Many organizations have added staffing to their schedule in the form of COVID-19 service shifts or designated coronavirus care sites and staff. Keeping track of staffing par levels across multiple sites and departments, and then transferring staff to and from sites, is challenging. Intrigma makes it easy to manage the schedule according to demand. The software can delineate scheduling for designated COVID-19 sites and staff or restrict staffing for certain units or shifts. You can determine which staff members you want for each unit.
With the pandemic, patient surges are less of a challenge if you know they are happening in real time. With the right scheduling software, you can shift providers from less busy sites to meet patient surges. Additionally, you can adjust staffing mixes quickly as needed. For example, COVID-19 testing sites require more ancillary staff to collect and process laboratory samples. Scheduling software can help you organize providers efficiently so that the proper staff is where they need to be.
Also, depending on the geographic area, some sites may be very busy while others have a low patient census. Many sites have even transitioned to a remote care model in order to continue to provide safe and effective care to patients. Utilize your staff to its fullest by shifting staff from slow or closed sites to the busiest areas.
Maintaining safe and appropriate staffing levels in healthcare facilities is necessary to provide a safe environment for your staff and your patients.
Keeping your staff engaged and informed is also essential. As patient surges occur, you can add surge shifts to the schedule in the form of open shifts, which all staff can see (no matter whether they are in the office or at home accessing through the mobile app). In addition, you can make the reimbursement rate visible if your organization incentivizes staff to pick up open shifts.
Additionally, as cases of COVID-19 occur, staff can get exposed and become ill, often without much warning. Intrigma’s software easily accommodates shift trades and swaps on the same day if needed. Shifts can be split between providers for greater flexibility and for increased provider availability as well. You can also post open shifts as soon as they become available, and providers can pick them up as they please. These features help ensure adequate staffing for your units all while allowing your staff maximum flexibility. This type of transparency in scheduling can also encourage staff to take ownership, motivating them to pick up open shifts in an effort to help alleviate staffing shortages.
Despite the unique challenges COVID-19 has brought to healthcare, organizations across the country are rising to and meeting the challenge head-on. The ability to match provider availability with patient demand, manage the schedule according to demand, and have real-time access to schedules can make a meaningful difference in how your organization faces these challenges. For more information, or to try our scheduling software for free, contact Intrigma.