I think it is helpful when everyone is on the same page. Most of the time when my expectations were not meet in the past was because I made incorrect assumptions. I thought I might be able to clear-up some misconceptions before you start looking for physician scheduling software.
Misconception #1. Software should be free or low cost and have all the features. This misconception comes from some in the software industry who have developed great software for free. The cost of software comes from client focused development; bug fixing/testing, integration, training and support, and sales and marketing. Although few customers want to pay for sales and marketing expenses, everyone wants support/training and new features along with a product that is free of bugs. As you know, this takes money. You should want your vendor partners to make money so that they can continue to offer you good products and great service. This cannot be done for free (at least for too long)
Misconception #2. Oncall software will replicate our current paper/Excel process. If you use Excel to create your doctors call schedule, I'm sure that you have noticed that you can put anything in any "cell" that you want. You can break your rules and preferences; you can create a schedule one day-at-a time. Although many things are possible, it does not always mean that you should. Creating a call schedule using call scheduling software is different than with Excel. Do not try to force your current process into a new system. Be open to change. Think about what you want to accomplish and why as opposed to focusing on why the software is doing a certain thing. Excel is predictable; most on-call software was designed not to be, in order to create a better, schedule.
Misconception #3. Software will save you time right out of the gate. Let’s be real here. Everything takes time to set-up and configure as well as master. When you have mastered the software, most any software, it will save you time.
Misconception #4. You don't need any training. In order to be a ninja master, you need training. How much training depends on your comfort level with using software in general. People who do not get proper training on how to use software always blame the software when they cannot accomplish what they want to do. Non-trained users are usually the first to jump ship. If you are not committed enough to schedule and attend training, then your problem is probably not significant enough to warrant the purchase. In other words, if you don't want training, save your money on the software!
Misconception #5. Our rules and process are probably too complicated for a software system. This is sometimes accurate. Some medical groups are very complex. For example a group of 25 Cardiologists with 50 jobs at 10 locations. This is pretty complex. What is important here is to understand that nothing will solve all of your needs. Nothing is 100 push-button and if it was you probable would not want to pay the fees. What you should be looking at is a prioritization of what is important (most to least). Also what is important to your Doctors, sometimes software is not going to save the scheduler time at all, but it will assist in communication of the call information to the providers. Remember what is important. If you don't know, you should not be looking.
With the proper expectations of what physician scheduling software can and will do, along with a clear need and established budget range is a great place for any shopper to start.