Amy's blog about training

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

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

Rule Creep and On Call Scheduling: People, Tools and Process.

Posted by Amy Engebretson on Sun, Sep 29, 2013 @ 11:30 AM

It starts out so simply! A few rules, just simple common sense rules that all the Physicians agree with. Then something happens, a hard-to-court provider is added, or some snafu that “must never happen again” occurs, and a few tweaks are added to the rule set. Then the scheduling supervisor leaves and one of the Physicians gets saddled with the position and has a different vision. He uses the same rules, technically, but somehow his schedules seem a little skewed in his favor . . .

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Topics: on call scheduling tips, scheduling rule creation

Generating the Perfect Physician On Call Schedule

Posted by Amy Engebretson on Mon, Aug 26, 2013 @ 04:22 PM

Perfection, the ultimate desire! Is the pursuit worth it?

Is an on-call schedule “good" only when each individual Provider is satisfied (no unhappiness)?

Automated physician scheduling software can do many things such as save you time, help you generate consistent results, and provide transparency of process. But software has never solved in-house political problems or replaced the leadership of a seasoned on-call scheduler making an educated judgment call.

Some schedulers get so excited about the possibilities envisioned with their new scheduling software, they forget it remains a tool; it is not artificial intelligence. Usually three things begin to happen . . .

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Topics: call schedule improvement, on call scheduling tips, call scheduling software tips

On Call Schedule: When equal is not fair!

Posted by Amy Engebretson on Wed, Aug 07, 2013 @ 03:22 PM

So, you're ready to get moving on your next schedule, eh?

   1). You have had "the meeting" and know who is covering the Holidays. Check.

   2). You know who is unavailable due to vacations, CME or other things that take them out of call, and have those requests assigned. Check.

   3). Now, how about those weekends?

I have had several calls lately where weekends no longer need to be "fair", or are fair in some way other than being equal in the tallies.

When is equal no longer fair?

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Topics: on call schedule fairness, on call scheduling tips, sharing on call

One Touch Access to your On Call Schedules on iPhone and iPad

Posted by Amy Engebretson on Fri, Jun 14, 2013 @ 02:41 PM

You can easily add an app-looking icon to the home-screen of your iPhone for one click access to your On Call Schedule MicroSite, Call Scheduler login page, or other favorite locations. No iTune account or app needed!

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Topics: on call scheduling tips, iPhone, ipad

Enough About Scheduling Physicians On Call …What About Vacation?

Posted by Amy Engebretson on Mon, Feb 04, 2013 @ 05:17 PM

6 strategies for covering physician vacations to address on call scheduling expectations and promote Group harmony.

How happy are your Physicians with their allotted time and frequency of vacation? What are other Groups doing to crack this nut?

In recent years, I have noticed more and more foreign last names in the Groups we serve. I have also become aware of increased difficulty when it comes to scheduling a break long enough so physicians have the opportunity to see friends and relatives overseas, since a single week is generally not enough for such a trip. This new “wrinkle” is in addition to the already dissonant needs of Generation X vs the Baby Boomers.

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Topics: on call scheduling tips, scheduling physician vacations

Fear of Change and the On Call Schedule (part 2)

Posted by Amy Engebretson on Tue, Nov 13, 2012 @ 08:59 AM

Fear of change (part 2 of 2)

Planning for a new On Call Scheduling system needs to include more than the cut-and-dried process and timeline to accomplish tasks. The people-factor can have a huge impact on the success of your project!

In a continuation of the previous article, here is the rest of the most common causes of change resistance.

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Topics: call schedule improvement, on call scheduling tips, adopting on-call software

It’s Not Fair! Call Schedule Training Conversations from the field

Posted by Amy Engebretson on Fri, Oct 12, 2012 @ 04:44 PM

How expectations impact  "unfairness"

When best intentioned providers try to come up with scheduling methods to meet their needs, but they cannot (or will not) change those ideas when confronted with the reality of generating a repeatable schedule... you can be sure the scheduler will hear about someone "gaming the system", favoritism or other grumblings regarding percieved unfairness.

Fairness is in the eye of the beholder. It is therefore likely that when confronted with a  problem, providers have the tendency to evaluate those situations as "fair" that happen to benefit themselves... it's human nature.

Tally ‘em up! Three expectations that make it difficult for software to help you create a  "fair" on-call schedule.

Do these issues sound familiar to you? If so, your internal processes and or rules may be keeping your group from benefiting from using scheduling software efficiently.

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Topics: call schedule improvement, on call schedule fairness, on call scheduling tips