Amy's blog about training

Creating a Fair Call Schedule Begins with a Policy

Posted by Amy Engebretson on Mon, Jul 16, 2018 @ 10:03 AM

When On Call policies are under review, here are some issues to consider

Belonging to a group medical practice has many advantages such as one physician not having to manage and regulate the office, the schedule, and the employees.  Instead, everyone helps out and shares responsibilities, including on-call duties. The practice can set up a schedule so that providers have the ability to take personal vacation or CME days and also have more flexible time for family or business affairs.

However, differing expectations can mar the working experience. How can you avoid conflicts ?

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Topics: call schedule improvement, call schedule management, call scheduling tips

Done in a Day: The 4 Ingredient On Call Schedule

Posted by Amy Engebretson on Thu, Jul 12, 2018 @ 09:42 AM

Have you heard about "4 ingredient " cookbooks? How about the book "A Man, a Can, and a Plan"? What do they all have in common? They each advocate all you need to do is assemble the four ingredients listed, follow the easy to read directions, and viola ... dinner is ready!

Here’s a tasty example of such a recipe from  "A Man, a Can, and a Plan":

Red Bull Steak on the Grill

  1. 1  - 8oz can Red Bull Energy Drink
  2. 4  - boneless strip steaks (2 lbs trimmed of fat)
  3. 1  - 10oz can fat-free beef gravy
  4. 1  - 4 oz can sliced , drained mushrooms
      • Steak seasoning (optional, but strongly suggested)
Then, follow the easy photo directions in the book and feed the clan.

Well … Here's my “4 ingredient” version for on-call physician scheduling, done-in-a-day.

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Topics: call scheduling tips, on call scheduling tips

What Does a Good On Call Physician Schedule Look Like?

Posted by Amy Engebretson on Wed, Jun 27, 2018 @ 09:17 AM

The typical answers I hear to this question are "It follows all our rules”, or “All the Doctors are happy”, and the ever-popular “It’s fair”.

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Topics: call schedule improvement, call scheduling tips

Who Is Your On Call Infectious Disease Physician?

Posted by Amy Engebretson on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 @ 04:07 PM

In light of the current Ebola issues, and previous brushes with SARS, H1N1, Anthrax, and MRSA concerns, shouldn’t your Group consider having a designated Infectious Disease physician on call? What would it take to assemble an ID schedule if you had to?

Do you know who the individual Infectious Disease specialist is vs a general Internal Medicine number to “dial and pray”?

How long would it take you to find out who the appropriate individual doctor is?

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Topics: EMTALA, call scheduling tips, sharing on call

Let’s Just Sit on the On-Call Schedule for Now.

Posted by Amy Engebretson on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 @ 01:49 PM


Are you forgetting about your Provider’s time in order to save face?

In pursuit of saving scheduling time creating, editing, and communicating the perfect on call schedule for your physicians, are you tempted to “hide” your future schedules until they are absolutely perfect?

Have you purchased software to help you, but are “sitting on it” until you have complete buy-in from everyone, and transitioned all the Physicians to new rules that will be in effect next year?  Now you are buried in the complexity of various scenarios for next year. Did you forget that you can let your Providers benefit from the call scheduling software TODAY?

If your schedule is done for THIS year, you are in the best of worlds right NOW!

This is a great time for an interative implementation of software for your Provider’s use.

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Topics: call scheduling tips, on-call scheduling software implementation

3 Things to Look for Regarding On-Call Schedule Tallies

Posted by Amy Engebretson on Thu, Apr 24, 2014 @ 04:50 PM

We know "equal" is always fair, until it's not... such as when sharing On Call with another Group or scheduling part-time Physicians. We also know spread needs to be pretty even through out the scheduling time period.

However, if the spread is great, and the tallies for the Providers are even and correct for the percent load given, how can the tallies STILL be unfair?

The tally date-range used to evaluate the schedule is crucial. Remember, it’s not just rules and spread, its tallies over an agreed upon time-frame. The Group as a whole must be using the same date-range to evaluate the schedule, otherwise you will each have a different result.

Three things to look out for regarding on-call tallies:

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Topics: call scheduling tips, on call scheduling tips

Make Your Master On-Call Views Less Complex

Posted by Amy Engebretson on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 @ 04:25 PM

Many times a complex on-call schedule from a large multi-specialty group or hospital is made up of several specialties combined into one large on-call schedule (master call schedule). This is a great view for those who need to reference all of the information all at once while creating their own schedules, or for the Emergency Department who may need to see everyone everywhere.

However, there are many instances where the master call schedule has limited viewing usefulness precisely because it IS so large.

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Topics: call scheduling tips

On Call Schedules: Templates, Patterns, Rules… Oh My!

Posted by Amy Engebretson on Tue, Mar 12, 2013 @ 08:50 AM

Ever feel like you are the On Call scheduling Wizard of Oz for your physicians? Here comes Dorothy, the Scare Crow, Tin Man, and the Friendly Lion, each with their wish list for you to fill .

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Topics: call schedule improvement, call scheduling tips