Physician On-Call Scheduling and On-Call Management Blog
by Justin Wampach

Call scheduling done wrong: 10 things you can do to make it worse

Posted by Justin Wampach on Thu, Mar 15, 2012 @ 10:29 AM

call scheduling things not to doMost physicians agree that anything to do with on-call stinks.  But there are things that your practice can do to make it better or worse for your providers.  If you really want to make it as bad as it can be, do these 10 things and you will see it go from bad to worse quickly.

  1. Don't compensate one of your doctors for creating and maintaining the call schedule, make them do it for free. 
  2. Force your scheduler to do the work of creating, maintaining and publishing the call schedule on their own time at home.
  3. Allow each of the doctors the ability to have any rule or preference that they want.
  4. Negotiate next to impossible rules and scheduling accommodations for new providers that are joining the group.
  5. Allow all of your providers to decide when they are going to take days off and be on vacation after the oncall schedule is published.
  6. Try to balance your provider tallies monthly.
  7. Force your scheduler to "catch people up" when they take time off after the schedule has been created.
  8. Print out a paper copy of the schedule and give it to the providers.
  9. Allow your providers to make changes and swaps between themselves without any process or procedure.
  10. All of your providers to schedule themselves with or without software.

By following all 10 of the items listed above, you can create the worst-of-the-worst scenario for your providers.  You can be sure that this will help you accomplish the following:

  1. Longer wait times for your patients in the ER
  2. The wrong doctor getting called in the middle of the night
  3. Unfair tallies and workload for some doctors
  4. Higher turnover rate of person creating the schedule
  5. Unhappy physicians

There is another approach to call scheduling, doing it the right way.  In a recent blog post 3 Cost Effective Steps to a Modern Call Schedule you can learn about another approach.  This one may give you, your providers and patients a better outcome.

Topics: oncall, on-call software, doctor scheduling software, on call schedule, call scheduling