You might be surprised to know how many times we get calls from Physicians and others that start out by saying, “I’m going to be taking over creating the on-call schedule for our providers, can you help me get started?” Our answer is always, of course, we’re happy to help. I have heard this enough times that it now warrants its very own blog post. This is primarily directed toward physicians and schedulers who are creating just the on-call portion of the schedule for the doctors. In many practices, there is a physician that creates the “on-call” portion of the schedule, while someone does the office-type assignments. Today’s post is more focused on the on-call side of the schedule.
As a seasoned physician schedule creator, I would suggest that you look at this new “assignment” in the same way you look at most things, through your scientific lens. Ask questions like; What is the current situation? What is the group’s desired outcome? How do we get there?
Step 1: Review the current state of the physician on-call schedule
TIP: You are going to hear a lot of “I’m not sure, that’s how we’ve always done it.” That’s a nice way of saying, “I have no idea”. Do not accept that as an answer. That is precisely how bad processes continue to live on in good organizations. If there is no good reason for a policy or way of doing things, perhaps it doesn’t need to be done that way anymore.
Step 2: Suggest changes or modifications
Tip: People are resistant to change, think about your patients and how many times they do illogical things just because they’re comfortable doing it that way. Modifications or changes are made to a process because they provide more value than the way things are done today.
Step 3: Assess the tools available to create the physician schedule
These questions are a great place to start a conversation about the past, present, and future of scheduling physicians for on-call.
Key Takeaway: Now is a great time for a review and may also be a good time to make some changes now that you have access to doctor scheduling software.
PS: You might enjoy a past blog post titled “How to Give Away a Skunk”, which talks about how to make a not-so-fun job “less stinky”. Or information on why anyone would purchase on-call software check out this blog post.
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