The first step in the process of changing how you create, change and communicate physician on-call and shift schedules is getting others within your practice to agree that there is a problem and that there is a faster, better and more cost effective way of scheduling physicians and advanced practice providers. Without buy-in you will begin to have problems on the first day of your implementation, regardless of what solution you choose.
Gaining buy-in is straight forward. First you need to get your physicians and administrators to agree that there is a problem that is causing pain. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? It’s the same reason people come into your office to visit you as a doctor. They have a problem or symptoms of a problem and it is causing them pain and its most likely getting worse.
Here are the most common pain points:
- The physician schedule creation process has become too complex to do manually within a reasonable amount of time.
- Proving fairness is difficult and takes too much time.
- The past few schedules haven’t been fair and people are complaining.
- It’s too hard or too much of a hassle to submit, manage and process all those vacation and day-off requests via email and post-it notes.
- The wrong doctor is getting called from the Hospital when they are not scheduled.
- People forget that they are on assignment and don’t show up or answer calls from the hospital.
- If the person who creates the schedule left the practice or got hit by a bus, the practice would be in a difficult position because there is no documented process or back-up plan.
- No one wants to take over the job as “scheduler”. It would be easier to give away a skunk.
- All of the work that goes into creation, changes and communication are too time consuming.
- The process is not transparent and some of the doctors are getting the short end of the stick.
You may also hear some of these (We would ignore them). We call these “BS” reasons people don’t want to change because it’s not affecting them. AKA: It’s someone else’s problem, so who cares.
- It’s not so bad, seems fine.
- We’ve always done it this way and it’s fine.
- It’s not costing us anything today.
- We’re not going to spend money on one more thing.
- If you want it so bad you can pay for it yourself.
- The doctors will never use it.
- The doctors can’t learn one more thing.
- The doctors won’t change.
How do you gain buy-in? According to a BizJournal article from Nov, 25, 2014, here are some tips.
“5 ways to get buy-in from your team when change is necessary
- Take stock of the situation. Is the change really necessary? ...
- Solicit feedback. Meet with your team, present your idea and ask for their input. ...
- Have all your ducks in a row. Before pitching an idea, call the key players in advance and gain their support. ...
- Engage emotions. ...
- Prepare to compromise.”
Once you have buy-in and have identified the pain that you are going to try and alleviate by making a small investment in physician on-call and shift scheduling software you are cleared to move on to the next step. Check our my next blog post to see what step 2 is.
If you can’t get past this step, unfortunately the project isn’t going to go anywhere. You cannot force someone to change if they are not willing or refuse to acknowledge the problem or pain that exists for them or others that are close to them. As a physician you know this better than anyone. If you can’t get past this, and you are the one doing the manual work, on your own time, one thing that you may consider is to stop doing the work. Give it back. Continuing to do this project manually, and conceding to the team even though it sucks, would be a form of enable-meant. You’re too professional for that. That enable-meant will not help the problem, be good for the practice or is a good business decision.
Sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures.