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

Why is Your Physician On-Call Scheduler Resistant to Software?

Posted by Justin Wampach on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 @ 07:01 AM

ID-100360901.jpgJust yesterday we spoke with an Anesthesiologist who called to tell us that despite how great our “free software trial” worked for her and her partners, the administrative person who creates, changes and communicates the physician on-call schedule didn’t want to change their current process and wasn’t interested in using software.    The doctor seemed bummed and told us that she would try again and would talk to us later.

This lead me to ponder why someone would not want to change from the “old” way of creating the on-call schedule to using software.  In a previous blog post I wrote “Who are You Buying the On-call Software for” we discuss who the main benefactors are when you make the transition to physician scheduling software.  Many times, the person who benefits most from something is not the user, but the organization or the mission.

Consider this, if five years ago, you would have surveyed physicians and asked them if they wanted to switch from their existing “medical record” to an “electronic medical record (EMR)” I would be willing to bet you that the clear majority would have said “NO”.  Why, because it was not sold as a direct benefit to them, it’s perceived as more work.   If you took a different approach and explained to the same group of physicians that by switching to EMR it would dramatically benefit the patient by having immediate access to accurate medical information, and the medical research community by being able to aggregate population data to look for health trends, I think many physicians would have seen the value for their patients and would have been more open to the discussion.  My point is that value comes in different forms for different people.  Not everyone has to benefit in-order-for value to be perceived and or delivered.

Back to how this impacts the physician work and on-call schedule.  If you ask your oncall scheduler if they want to ditch their current comfortable process, the one that they have been doing for years, and switch to something that they need to learn, and initially needs to be configured, and tuned to meet a groups specific needs, I think it’s safe to assume that most would politely say, no thank you.  I mean who wants to do more work that doesn’t directly benefit them?  I’ll tell you who, a great team member/employee/administrator this supports the mission of the organization and wants their organization to be the best it can be, that’s who.

Here are a few tips on how to build a case for logically convincing the “scheduler” to consider software for scheduling physicians for on-call and work assignments.

  • What’s in it for them? I would start here, most people need to wrap their head around what’s in it for them, before they care about others.  Here are just a few carrots to use when talking to your scheduler about what’s in it for them:
    • Automation to assist them in creating the schedule. Usually saves a significant amount of time.  70%, 80%, 90%.
    • Auto generated reports. No more “counting” each time you assign a provider or make a change to the schedule.
    • Process documentation. Although all of us want to feel needed and wanted, most physician schedule processes are undocumented.  That means if your scheduler is sick or injured, creating the next schedule would be a nightmare. 
    • Step-by-step process notes. Most schedulers do not “schedule” every day, which can mean that the process is different each time, which means that results are not consistent.  Written documented process can help ensure that you do things the same way each time.
    • Online
    • Auto-backups
  • Remind them who the intended primary and secondary beneficiary are of the new software. Primary is the physician, secondary is the patient.
  • Remind them that it takes time to learn and adjust to new things. But the just the few benefits that I outlined above would offer a lot of value to the “scheduler” in time savings and convenience.
  • Remember the mission. We (you as a clinic or medical practice) exist to provide our patients with the best medical care possible.  In order to do this, we must balance, preserve and accurately schedule our physicians to best meet the needs of our patients and community.

Why is your physician on-call scheduler resistant to change to on-call software?  My guess is that it wasn’t presented to them properly to show the value.  Medical people are special, once they see how things tie back to patient care, people jump onboard quickly. 
Keep trying!   

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