There are both a lot of people and places within a complex healthcare system that consumes physician on-call information. There is typically an on-call schedule everywhere from the Emergency Department to the provider’s refrigerator at home and many places in between. How do a modern Hospital and specialty medical practice maintain information that is accurate and in sync with one another? In many places and instances, they don’t. They still use 3-ring binders, paper, manual data entry, and rely on sticky notes to keep the information straight. No wonder why Doctors are called incorrectly so often.
Inaccurate and out of date on-call information leads to a delay in patient care, plain and simple. Often a sick patient is waiting while people scramble to determine who to call and then how best to reach them. Many calls are to the wrong physician who is not covering that service or there is just no response at all. Calls to the wrong physician distract, bother, and irritate busy hard-working physicians who are attempting to recover and prepare for the next day’s battle while balancing spending some quality time with family and friends. Both sick patients and physicians deserve a better process than a three-ring-binder and sticky notes. It feels like more money is spent laundering white coats than on physician scheduling and on-call information management.
How can you begin to make a change in your organization? The first step in an on-call makeover at a Hospital or specialty clinic must start with an electronic, accurate, and up-to-date physician schedule that is perceived as alive and dynamic. There also must be a centralized system in place, in which everyone has appropriate access to view, that can serve as one source of truth. The most modern and least expensive way to do this is by using the Internet and banning the use of paper schedules. You wouldn’t believe how much power and accuracy can be contained in a single website URL.
Accurate physician on-call schedule information is the byproduct of a modern rule-based physician scheduling system. Every accurate and up-to-date on-call schedule has a ton of information that has been entered, evaluated, and constructed to build a fair, even, and balanced physician schedule. Investing in schedule creation has many benefits for both medical practices and physicians. Some include saving time, the accuracy of day-off and vacation information, process improvement, back-up systems, and up-to-date information just to name a few.
The second step in your on-call makeover involves being able to quickly and accurately communicate with the physician now that it has been identified that she is on-call. Secure Messaging systems, such as industry giant Tiger Connect, offer a large set of tools that make communicating and digesting on-call information simply.
The value behind one source of on-call truth is a better patient experience and outcome. Keep visiting my blog for more tips on revamping the on-call system at your clinic or hospital.