July 5, 2023

How to Simplify Your On-Call Scheduling

On-call scheduling may feel like a thankless job. It can be difficult and frustrating, to say the least, but it doesn’t have to be. Scheduling software can simplify this challenge while providing visibility and improving communication with providers.

Visibility is key

A crucial element to simplifying on-call scheduling is visibility. With Intrigma’s scheduling software, you have access to a central dashboard where you can easily see who is on call for each department in any location. Minimize wasted time on searching for the right person to contact with Intrigma’s easy-to-navigate schedule.

Call priority is also an important part of visibility. Scheduling software can prevent wasted time by clearly indicating who to call first when someone needs to be paged. This visibility also takes the “unfair call schedule” complaint out of the mix. Visibility allows all providers to see who is taking calls on weekends, nights, and holidays. It also establishes accountability among providers – when all physicians can see who is scheduled and when, there is more compliance with the schedule.

Keeping the on-call schedule visible and fair also reduces physician burnout. One of the biggest factors in physician burnout is the perception that one person is doing a larger percentage of the work than others. Visibility helps combat this perception.

Simplifying provider contact

On-call scheduling has come a long way from the days when the schedule consisted of multiple pieces of paper and a single landline contact for providers. However, advancements in communication have added to the complexity of actually reaching the provider on call. With so many communication avenues to use, a key element to simplifying on-call scheduling is having easy access to provider contacts.

With effective scheduling software systems, providers can specify their preferred method of contact (phone, pager, email). This can include rules for certain days or times. For example, during the week, provider Smith only wants to be contacted via pager, with her cell phone as a back-up. But on weekends and holidays, provider Smith prefers to have the initial contact attempt made by cell phone.

An effective scheduling system should integrate with existing clinical communication systems (email, pagers) to transfer information from schedule to the on-call provider seamlessly.

Scheduling struggles that software can solve

Imagine you are the clinical supervisor for a large healthcare system. You are responsible for reaching on-call providers when they are needed. You’re covering for multiple departments – radiology, anesthesia, surgery, admissions, and more.

Who is on call for which department? Many departments have different preferences on who you should call first (resident, PA, MD). And what happens if you can’t reach the provider on call? This problem may appear for multiple reasons, like wrong phone numbers, hospital communication system failures, and scheduling confusion.

Having clear escalation procedures in place can help you reach your staff even in difficult situations. Additionally, as mentioned above, scheduling software provides the visibility you need to identify the right on-call provider via their preferred communication channel.

On-call scheduling is still a challenge, especially when you are dealing with multiple providers and departments. However, Intrigma’s efficient software can reduce the burden and make life easier for you and your providers. For more information on how Intrigma can help optimize your on-call schedule, contact us today.