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

The On Call Schedule Calendar is More Than a Calendar

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, Jun 08, 2018 @ 07:41 AM

When I began my career at Adjuvant, I needed to find my passion for the industry. How the hell do you find passion for creating, maintaining, and publishing call schedules? I will be honest, it took me awhile.

Why an On Call Schedule Calendar Company Emerged

More Than Just a Schedule

I was constantly asking myself the question, why on-call, why physician scheduling, why work with doctors in the first place? That is a good question, most of them are almost impossible to get ahold of, very close with their money, and are not the quickest decision makers.

Still looking for passion, I first centered around creating good software, after all, we are a software company, right? I also developed a passion for running a good business, after all, I am a businessman, right?

And then I started talking to not only current customers of ours but more importantly new prospects who were sharing stories about why they were calling us.

The Importance of Managing a Doctor On Call Schedule

Would you believe me if I told you that the physician on-call schedule is one of the most important schedules with the clinic and the hospital? Here's why;

  1. How can you schedule staff and patients until you know where the Doctor is or is not?
  2. Why would you need support services like x-ray and lab if there is not a Doctor available to see patients?
  3. Who is needed most in the Emergency Department at every hospital in the US?
  4. Who is needed the most during a complicated delivery or procedure?

Inside of every square in an on-call calendar, there is a person's name. That name represents a trained medical doctor who will drop everything and come and help you when they are called.  Some of them will be so busy with calls that they will sleep at the hospital until they are relieved. This is the person who is going to help my family member when they show up at 3:00 am in the morning at my local hospital with chest pains or after a car accident.

On-call doctors and professionals are unsung heroes and deserve to be treated that way. This is where I found my passion. I realized that our company doesn't just make software or try to convince doctors to become more efficient with their time, our software makes sure that when you need them the most, the doctor is there, no matter what day or time.  We help professionals save lives. 

On Call Calendar is More Than Just a Calendar

I am certain that there have been instances, especially with our OB/Gyn clients when the information in our system allowed for a process to be expedited. This is when the difference between 1 and 5 minutes could be the difference between life and death. We helped!

The on-call schedule is more than just a calendar, it is some of the most valuable and useful information that a hospital and clinic have. If you are the person that creates, maintains, and publishes doctors' call schedules, please remember how important your job is.

If you are a physician who is taking call assignments, please know that we take our job and yours very seriously and will continue to do whatever we can to make sure that you are in the right place at the right time. Oh, and by the way, thank you. 

I can't say that enough. 

Call Scheduler can save you time, money, and scheduling headaches. See how we  did this for 7 Day Clinic of ND. Download Case Study

 

Topics: software for scheduling physicians, physician scheduling, on-call software, physician scheduling software, doctor scheduling software, on call schedule, call scheduling

How to Convince Your Partners to Try New Call Scheduling Software

Posted by Justin Wampach on Mon, May 14, 2018 @ 08:29 AM

A New Day

When was the last time you tried something new? What convinced you to try it? Was it a co-worker, family member, or good friend? And were you glad for the experience whether you enjoyed it or not? Studies actually suggest that trying new things improves our overall happiness and well being and can lead to improved mental health.

How to Convince Your Partners to Try New Call Scheduling SoftwareWe often try new things easily in our personal life — a new food, a new activity, or a new book. But trying new things in the workplace can present more of a challenge. We may fear trying a new technique or system could fail, and leave us worse off than before. Or we may feel like we don't have the time to learn anything new at work with schedules packed full of meetings, appointments, and obligations. However, just like in our personal lives, we can benefit from trying new things in the workplace leading to improvements in our satisfaction with our jobs and helping us do our jobs better. 

New Practices in Medicine

In medical clinics, doctors often work to convince their partners and colleagues to try new things whether it is a new drug, treatment, or approach to treating patients. Doctors may also try to convince their partners to incorporate new software into a practice. Software can enhance a medical practice by streamlining different processes from documenting patient contacts to improving the physician schedule and on-call schedule. If you're ready to try new software but your partners aren't quite there, try these tips to convince other doctors in your practice to try something new.

Educate

We may decide not to try something new simply because we don't know anything about it. Giving your partners information about new software will help them feel more comfortable with the unknown and familiarize themselves with something new. Studies have shown that people actually fear unknown outcomes more than they do negative outcomes. Education takes away the unknown factor of new software and can help raise your partners' comfort level.

Testimonials 

We are all more likely to try something new if someone we know and trust has already tried it and had a positive outcome. Gather positive testimonials from trusted physicians you know either personally or by reputation to share with your colleagues. Many medical clinics have implemented physician scheduling software and the company you're considering can provide you with testimonials or you may know physicians in your specialty or geographic region who have stories to share.
 

Eliminate the Risk

What have you got to lose? You've heard that one before.

When the answer is truly nothing, then it's easier to try something new. Physician scheduling software usually comes with a 90-day risk-free trial period. During this time, the software company provides education and training to the clinic employees, support as new software is implemented and a guarantee that if the software doesn't work for the clinic, the practice owes nothing. By eliminating the risk, you give the partners in your clinic more of a reason to try new software.

Trying new things in the workplace brings about all kinds of benefits. You can save time, money and streamline difficult and complicated systems like the physician schedule. When you're ready to make a change but your partners aren't, remember these tips to encourage others to try new things.

Request a Consultation

Topics: software for scheduling physicians, physician scheduling, on-call software, adopting on-call software, call scheduling

How to get your Doctors Call Schedule into their Android Phone

Posted by Justin Wampach on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 @ 11:11 AM
call scheduler androidAnother frequent question that we get from physicians at Call Scheduler is "how do I get my call schedule into my Android phone"?  I thought that this might help not only our users but others who are using similar technology.  Be sure to follow the directions carefully.  If you have any questions you can call us at 877-435-8826. 

To Get your call schedule from Call Scheduler into your Android Phone:

1.  If you are using Call Scheduler Classic or Lite you are going to need to log-in to the application at secure.call-scheduler.com.

2. Navigate to "White Board" and choose "ICalendar Export"

ical screenshot

 

 

 

 

3. Now you should see a red bar that says "Add/Edit iCalendar." Click the Add button at the right end of the bar.

ical screenshot 2

4.  This brings you to a list of all of the providers that take call. Choose a name for your calendar in the "Calendar Name box" and uncheck all the boxes except the one by your name.

5.  Click the "Save" at the bottom of the screen.

6.  Next, on the iCal Export screen, you'll see a link that begins, http://login.call-scheduler.com/ical/....

7.  Right-click on that link and select "Copy link location" (Firefox) or "Copy shortcut" (IE).

8.  Open your email program and start a "new message" to yourself. In the body of the message, "right-click" and select "paste". You should now see the link in your email message. It should end with ".ics"

9.  Click "send" and email the link to yourself.

        Now, switch to your Google Calendar Account: (not on your phone,on your computer)

10.  Log-in to your google calendar account

google calendar login

11. Once your calendar shows up on screen, navigate to the lower left-hand side of the screen and locate "other calendars".  Click on the small grey down arrow and click "add by url".

ical import android

12.  Open the email that you sent yourself with the "iCal link".  "right-click" on the ical link and click "copy shortcut"

13.  Paste the shortcut into the link location window.

add by url

14.  Click on the "add calendar" button when you are finished.

15.  You will notice that your "new calendar" has been added and displays under the "other calendars".  You can choose which color you would like your "on-call" assignments to show up as.  I choose green in this example.

new calendar added

16.  Within a short time you should see your call schedule on your Google calendar.  My call schedule is in green.

final import example

18.  You're done, if you can see your call schedule in your Google calendar, it is in your Android phone.  Locate your calendar on your phone and your schedule should be loaded.

android phone shot

KEY TAKEAWAY:  If you are spending time manually entering your on-call assignments into your Android, you don't need to.  There is a simple way to automate this process.  Remember this is a live subscription, when a change is made to your call schedule at your clinic, it will automatically update your phone!

Topics: on-call software, Android

10 Mistakes Doctors Have Made Buying On-call Software (part 2)

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, May 11, 2012 @ 09:48 AM

describe the imageDoctors who wish to enhance their practice and provide better care and service to their patients and themselves by using physician scheduling software are on the right track. Unfortunately, they don’t always go about it the right way.

Last week we posted three of the top ten mistakes that doctors have made when purchasing call scheduling software.  Here is a recap of the top 3, along with number four through ten.

  1. Wanting too many bells and whistles. 

  2. Trying to save a penny. 

  3. Thinking someone else understand your business.

  4. Losing sight of the basics – KISS:  Your primary aim is to improve your productivity, and you should always keep this in mind! Anything else should come later. For example, we have clients who request payroll integration in their on-call software. But delaying an order or cancelling an order based on just this one feature is unjustified. Nice to have is not the same as “essential” – and adding too many features just results in “bloatware”. It is a mistake to want your software to do too many things right from the start. Get what is essential, and build from there.

  5. Waiting for something better:  Doctors often keep on waiting for something better to come along. Unless you don’t jump in the water, you aren’t going to learn how to swim. Some of the best run private hospitals have been early adopters of technology. Today they might still be using legacy systems, but they are much better run than non IT friendly setups. It’s true that software will evolve over time, but you cannot wait for perfection. Software is always a work in progress, which gets improved and polished incrementally.

  6. Thinking your staff shares your vision:  Many good doctors buy the perfect software and then find that it does not help them at all. Often they blame the software for being unfriendly or useless. Most doctors fail to understand that their staff is one of the key stake holders in this process. Unless the staff uses the software, it is bound to fail. The software may be the best in the world, but if it is not used properly, it isn’t living up to its potential. Doctors need to be firm and to share their vision for the software with their staff. It is a mistake to assume that software will be easily adopted by support staff, nurses and fellow doctors. Provide lots of training – and if some members refuse to use this, you need to take them to task.

  7. Not nurturing innovation:  The biggest stake holders in this industry are the doctors. It is important for them to nurture innovation. Sometimes it is valuable to take a risk or allow a software company to go that extra mile in providing a feature which will change the process flow of your clinic. Doctors who refuse to try out products which provide extra features or new age ideas because they do not understand its utility are closing the door on innovation. A doctor who asks me to block some modules to save money because he feels he will not use them is basically closing his own mind to the potential of using new processes to improve his practice. Do not buy the module in the beginning, but keep an open mind.

  8. Underestimating the complexity of your needs:  Running a clinic is running a small business. It’s a complex enterprise, and often doctors over-estimate their ability to do a good job. Ideally, you should be focused on taking care of your patients, so your staff can run the clinic. If you find you are spending time on routine administrative tasks, this means you are wasting your time and money. There are only 24 hours is your day – learn to use them sensibly. A good doctor scheduling software program will help you to improve your productivity and that of your staff, if you use it to its fullest extent.  Don’t get stuck buying a cheap program which was designed for a small shop – you will end up being unhappy and dissatisfied.

  9. Delaying a decisions:  The single biggest mistake a doctor makes in buying call scheduling software is when he delays his decisions – whether it is thinking about his needs; talking to the vendor; spelling out his requirement; installing the program ; or getting training for his staff. As a result, the vendor is frustrated; the doctor is confused; the staff is anxious. Start small – but start today!

  10. Not providing enough time for training.  While doctors understand that learning a new medical procedure can take time, unfortunately, they are not willing to invest the same time in training their staff – and themselves – in learning how to use the software properly.  This can cause a lot of frustration and when this happens, many doctors just give up on the idea of using any software at all, because they feel their staff is either too busy or not willing to learn something new.  Give your team the benefit of the doubt, also lead by example.  Show your team how important this change is by being a part of it.

Click me

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

10 Mistakes Doctors Have Made When Buying Physician Scheduling Software

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, May 04, 2012 @ 09:51 AM

mistakesChoosing which program to buy to create, maintain and publish your call schedule has never been easy.   Earlier, it was because there were very few programs available.  Today, ironically, it is because there are too many!  Doctors are very confused as to which program they should buy – sometimes, too much choice can be as bad as too little.

Doctors have some special character traits which software producers need to be aware of.

  • To be able to treat a patient and be confident that your decision is right requires tremendous self confidence, which means doctors often have a big ego. Many take the approach that they are always right - even in a field like computer technology.
  • Doctors have a tremendous thirst to learn. Years of med school training allows you to pick up knowledge quickly and most doctors who want to buy software are quite knowledgeable about computers. However, sometimes a little knowledge can be dangerous , and often what doctors know about computers and software leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Doctors are pressed for time, and hence their decisions are based on the fact that “anything that does not gel with me is going to hamper me”. Rather than try to improve their workflow with the help of computers, they’d rather stick to their old dysfunctional habits, even if this hampers their efficiency.

Doctors who wish to enhance their practice and provide better care and service to their patients and themselves by using physician scheduling software are on the right track. Unfortunately, they don’t always go about it the right way. 

10 mistakes doctors have made when purchasing call scheduling software.

  1. Wanting too many bells and whistles:  Some doctors want their software to do everything for them. Sometimes putting too many things in your software tends to delay its deployment and make it too complicated to use. Often, some doctors will end up not buying any program at all, because it does not have everything which they want – which means they deprive themselves of a great opportunity of improving their efficiency in 80% of their practice.  For example, in EMR software some doctors want the entire drug database of 15000 drugs in their software.  Now you know you will never use even 1/100th of these. There are enough online resources to give you these details when you do require this esoteric information. Why load this redundant data in your software and make it slow by cramming it with stuff you will never use? It’s much more sensible to have a small efficient intelligent drug database which you can grow over time. Stick to the basics - your aim is to improve your practice - not to solve the world healthcare crises.

  2. Trying to save a penny:  It’s a simple fact of life that investment reaps rich rewards. Why haggle over a few dollars and try to find the cheapest option?  Negotiating is great, but choosing quality, support and peace of mind is far more important than trying a save a few bucks. It’s easy to get a local company to make a simple Excel spreadsheet to maintain your call schedule. However, in the long run it makes more sense to invest a little more in good software – preferably from a company which is completely focused on the healthcare physician scheduling space. Medical practice is a complex domain, and a software engineer who doesn’t spend time understanding this cannot make a good product. This is why the early successful packages were created by doctors because they did have the right idea. However, they did not have the savvy to remain up-to-date with the latest technology.  Every doctor I know earns enough to invest in a good package which will enhance his practice. Choose your vendor carefully – after all, you want them to be your partners for life and for this, they need to make enough profit.

  3. Thinking someone else understand your business:  A lot of doctors tend to put too much trust in what their software vendor is doing for them. They feel he is the expert, and knows what he is doing. If a custom built package is being made, unless you provide the vendor with adequate knowledge on your processes, templates, wants and need, the program will never do what you want it to. Remember the old saying, “garbage in, garbage out”.  I know doctors who just give a brief outline of what they want and leave it at that. Now the vendor is left scratching his head because he does not really understand what is required of him. He muddles through – but what he produces is not what the doctor wanted, which means a lot of time, money and energy are wasted – and the cycle needs to be repeated again. If you want a custom built solution, you need to be very closely involved. You cannot delegate this. You need to provide all the information required personally. More importantly, you need to review and ask for updates from time to time. Often, the project gets needlessly delayed because the doctor realizes that this was not what he wanted only after the complete package is delivered to him.  Do you really have time for this?  If you are a full time physician, probably not.
View Mistakes #4 through #10

Topics: software for scheduling physicians, physician software, scheduling software, physician scheduling, on call, on-call software, physician scheduling software, adopting on-call software, on call scheduler

Everyone's a winner in a paid trial of call scheduling software

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, Apr 20, 2012 @ 10:00 AM

winnerWould you purchase a car without test driving it? Would you buy a pair of pants without trying them on? We follow the rule of "try before you buy" every day without even thinking about it. Of course, we should follow that same sound principal when we're purchasing an important business tool such as physician scheduling software.

Try before you buy, that seems to be a common theme now days.  I hear it suggested in everything from living together before you are married to purchasing physician scheduling software.  Why, because most people learn some very valuable "stuff" when they try something.

Here are some valuable reasons to try before you buy:

  1. Get a real look under the engine.  You will probably learn something new when you get "full access" to software.  Most product demos hide some of the real gems until after you become a customer.  A trial is a good way to see what's under the hood.
  2. Test results versus your results.  It’s an old marketing trick to display some amazing results or claims on a website or during a demo.  Where the rubber meets the road is when you put your data into a system and see what the results are.  Now will it still meet your needs?
  3. Tests drive the training and service department.  Did you ever notice how nice everyone is when you are buying something?  You tend to see true colors shine through after some of the "newness" has worn off.  If the team is still nice and helpful after 90 days you have probably picked a winner.  Most people can't fake it that long.
  4. Find the hidden gems.  Many times after you use something new you will find a few hidden benefits that you never realized you needed.  These are really fun because they were unexpected.  Some software customers tell us that the gems can sometimes outweigh the original headline features, meaning that they find savings and benefits in different ways.
  5. Limit your risk.  No one wants to look foolish in front of their professional partners.  As I have learned (the hard way) it makes sense when trying something new to limit your risk.  Most of the time when purchasing something like call scheduling software the largest risk is the term: of the agreement.  With a trial you can be sure that everything is a good fit before you make a commitment.

Is a paid trial of call scheduling software ever a waste?  In my opinion, no.  Everyone’s a winner.  You will learn some very valuable lessons and in the end you should know more than when you began.  Sounds like a win to me.


 

 

Topics: call scheduling software, physician scheduling, on call, on-call software, physician scheduling software, call scheduling

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

9 Mistakes Doctors Make When Choosing Physician Software

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, Mar 02, 2012 @ 02:38 PM

mistakeChoosing which call scheduling program to buy has never been easy. Earlier, it was because there were very few programs available. Today, ironically, it is because there are too many!  Doctors are very confused as to which program they should buy – sometimes, too much choice can be as bad as too little!

Physicians who wish to enhance their practice and provide better care and service to their patients by using technology are on the right track. Unfortunately, they don’t always go about it the right way.  Some of the important mistakes doctors make are highlighted below.

1. Wanting too many bells and whistles:

Some doctors want their call scheduling software to do everything for them - even pay their taxes (Just joking! ). Sometimes putting too many things in your software tends to delay its deployment and make it too complicated to use. Often, some doctors will end up not buying any program at all, because it does not have everything which they want – which means they deprive themselves of a great opportunity of improving their efficiency in 80% of their practice.  That’s what we recommend sticking to the basics - your aim is to improve your practice - not to solve the world healthcare crises.

2. Trying to save a penny:

It’s a simple fact of life that investment reaps rich rewards. Why haggle over a few dollars and try to find the cheapest option?  Negotiating is great, but choosing quality, support and peace of mind is far more important than trying a save a few bucks. It’s easy to get a local company to make a simple, unsupported database for you to manage your patient’s addresses. However, in the long run it makes more sense to invest a little more in good software – preferably from a company which is completely focused on the healthcare space. Medical practice is a complex domain, and an software engineer who doesn’t spend time understanding this cannot make a good product. This is why the early successful packages were created by doctors because they did have the right idea. However, they did not have the savvy to remain up-to-date with the latest technology. Please stop acting like a miser in choosing a package. Every doctor I know earns enough to invest in a good package which will enhance his practice. Choose your vendor carefully – after all, you want them to be your partners for life, and for this, they need to make enough profit?

3. Losing sight of the basics – KISS :

Your primary aim is to improve your productivity, and you should always keep this in mind! Anything else should come later. For example, we have clients who request Accounts integration in their software. But delaying an order or cancelling an order based on just this one feature is unjustified. Nice to have is not the same as “essential” – and adding too many features just results in “bloat ware”. It is a mistake to want your software to do too many things right from the start. Get what is essential, and build from there.

4. Waiting for something better:

Doctors often keep on waiting for something better to come along. Unless you don’t jump in the water, you aren’t going to learn how to swim! Some of the best run private clinics have been early adopters of technology. Today they might still be using legacy systems, but they are much better run than non IT friendly setups. It’s true that software will evolve over time, but you cannot wait for perfection. It is a mistake to wait when you can always upgrade if you want to later on!

5. Thinking your staff shares your vision:

Many good doctors buy the perfect software and then find that it does not help them manage their physician schedule at all. Often they blame the software for being unfriendly or useless. Most doctors fail to understand that their staff is one of the key stake holders in this process. Unless the staff uses the software, it is bound to fail. The software may be the best in the world, but if it is not used properly, it isn’t living up-to its potential. Doctors need to be firm and to share their vision for the software with their staff. It is a mistake to assume that software will be easily adopted by support staff, nurses and fellow doctors. Provide lots of training – and if some members refuse to use this, you need to take them to task.

6. Not nurturing innovation:

The biggest stake holders in this industry are the doctors. It is important for them to nurture innovation. Sometimes it is valuable to take a risk or allow a software company to go that extra mile in providing a feature which will change the process flow of your clinic. Doctors who refuse to try out products which provide extra features or new age ideas because they do not understand its utility are closing the door on innovation. A doctor who asks me to block some modules to save money because he feels he will not use them is basically closing his own mind to the potential of using new processes to improve his practice. Do not buy the module in the beginning, but keep an open mind.  Even when doctors do not ask for the SMS or Email Plug-in, we still leave it on the User Interface, because just seeing that button there will make them wish it was active when they want to send out a report or reading instantly. Once they see the value, they can always buy the module later on.

7. Underestimating the complexity of your needs:

Running a clinic is like running a small business. It’s a complex enterprise, and often doctors over estimate their ability to do a good job. Ideally, you should be focused on taking care of your patients, so your staff can run the clinic. If you find you are spending time on routine administrative tasks, this means you are wasting your time and money. There are only 24 hours is your day – learn to use them sensibly. A good scheduling software program will help you to improve your productivity and that of your staff, if you use it to its fullest extent. Don’t get stuck using the "free" program which was designed for a small shop – you will end up being unhappy and dissatisfied.

8. Delaying a decision:

The single biggest mistake a doctor makes in buying call scheduling software is when he delays his decisions – whether it is thinking about his needs; talking to the vendor; spelling out his requirement; installing the program ; or getting training for his staff. As a result, the vendor is frustrated; the doctor is confused; the staff is anxious; and patients continue to remain unhappy. Start small – but start today!

9. Not providing enough time for training:

While doctors understand that learning a new medical procedure can take time, unfortunately, they are not willing to invest the same time in training their staff – and themselves – in learning how to use the software properly.  This can cause a lot of frustration and when this happens, many doctors just give up on the idea of using any software at all, because they feel their staff is too stupid.

By avoiding these 9 mistakes that doctors make when choosing physician software you will save yourself, your practice and patients a lot of time and money.


Topics: software for scheduling physicians, physician software, physician scheduling, on-call software, physician scheduling software

Can you create a "Center of Excellence" around on-call management?

Posted by Justin Wampach on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 @ 09:28 AM

CenterofExcellenceFig2According to website Wikipedia A center of excellence refers to a team, a shared facility or an entity that provides leadership, evangelization, best practices, research, support and/or training for a focus area.

A Center of Excellence (CoE) should, at a most basic level consist of:  A team of people that promote collaboration and using best practices around a specific focus area to drive business results. This team could be staffed with full- or part-time members.  There are 3 key words to the definition, "team", "collaboration" and "best practices" that are critical to the foundation of a CoE. 

Centers for Excellence should serve 5 basic needs:

  • Support: For their area of focus, CoE’s should offer support to the business lines. This may be through services needed, or providing subject matter experts.
  • Guidance: Standards, methodologies, tools and knowledge repositories are typical approaches to filling this need.
  • Shared Learning: Training and certifications, skill assessments, team building and formalized roles are all ways to encourage shared learning.
  • Measurements: CoEs should be able to demonstrate they are delivering the valued results that justified their creation through the use of output metrics.
  • Governance: Allocating limited resources (money, people, etc.) across all their possible use is an important function of CoEs. They should ensure organizations invest in the most valuable projects and create economies of scale for their service offering. In addition, coordination across other corporate interests is needed to enable the CoE to deliver value.

CoEs can really refer to any of the support processes within an organization that complement the line businesses.  In the case of a Hospital "on-call management" here are some of the main elements of the process:

  • Collecting specialty group call schedules
  • Creating a daily call-log
  • Publishing the on-call information for all to use
  • Identifying who should be called
  • Activating the on-call process for the proper provider
  • Tracking how long it takes for the specialist to arrive

This entire process supports one of the main business lines at most every hospital, receiving a patient in the Emergency Department.  A streamlined process in this case can do the following:

  • Improve efficiency
  • Enhance revenue
  • Manage risk
  • Enhance patient care
  • Increase satisfaction

So to answer the question, can you create a "center of excellence" around on-call management at your hospital, the answer is yes.  Should you?  That will depend on where your organization is at today and if they see value from some of the benefits listed above.

 

Cut scheduling time in half Click here to learn how

 

Topics: oncall, call schedule management, on-call software

Are the New York Giants a better team than your management team?

Posted by Justin Wampach on Mon, Feb 06, 2012 @ 11:25 AM

manning

What does Eli Manning and the New York Giants team have in common with you and your team at the clinic?  You're probably saying, not much, but there is a lot more similarities in the two teams than you might think.

              

Football Team

Medical Practice

Highly paid players Highly paid doctors
Large up-front investment Large up-front investment
Each player is a specialist Each doctor is a specialist
Paid staff to support team Paid staff to support doctors
Players want to be on a winning team  Doctors want to be in a winning practice
Highly paid coaching staff Highly paid management team
Players can be traded Doctors can leave

One of the major differences is that football players listen to their coaching staff.  Although the players make more money and have more status and influence, when they get together as a team, they listen to their leader and are all on the same page with the same goal in mind, WIN.  Let’s compare that to a physician owned clinic.  In that scenario, the Doctors run the show and although there is an administrator, I don't think that many groups look them as business experts.

In the game of Football, what is needed to win is points.  You get points by scoring touchdown and field goals.  You score touchdowns and field goals by working together as a team.  Out on the field, everyone is important.  In this past Super Bowl, if Eli Manning didn't have teammates defending him, he could not do his job.  The team wouldn't be ready to play if there wasn't staff and facilities for practices.  It also would not be possible without fans.  Who wants to play in an empty stadium?  Everyone is a star on the team.  Although some stars are better than others, everyone’s contribution is key to success.  A football team is a well oiled machine.  When the machine works it is in its best position to win games.

In the business of Medicine, what is needed to win is profit.  You earn profit by treating patients.  You treat patients by working together as a team.  In the clinic everyone is important.  Without certain members of your team, for example, maintenance, physician on-call scheduler, accounting, you cannot effectively compete.  When you compete without your staff, you are at a disadvantage and increase your chances of loosing.  There are no stars on the team, everyone is equally as important.  If you strive to provide the same level of quality and service each time, everyone’s contribution needs to count.

So when you ask yourself if the New York Giants are a better team than your management team, show me the rings. 

Although I am not a big sports fan, I am always fascinated at how teams work together for a common goal, winning.  I think that health care and independent clinics specifically can learn some valuable lessons from how these big-fancy teams win.


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