Why Am I Doing the Scheduler's Job for Her?

Separating Your Physician On-Call Schedule Creation Process from “Publishing” It

When I hear “Why am I doing the Scheduler’s job for her,” it is usually from someone during an Enterprise implementation. This “someone” is creating and maintaining one of the many Clinic schedules that are printed or emailed over to a member of the Medical Staff Office at the local Hospital who massages it into another format or application for everyone to use.

But is “Why Am I Doing the Scheduler’s Job for Her” Actually the Right Question?

Is Susie Q Scheduler over at the Hospital really the best person to keep the schedules you create up to date and maintained for you? Should she even be doing this? Is this an effective, timely way to “publish” current on-call schedules accurately in this digital communication age when the information needs to be instantly available to many parties at once?

Upon reflection, perhaps it is the case that she has been doing it for you so long that you have forgotten it was ever a “favor” in the first place, meant to save you time, or a workaround to keep a “broken” system up and running. At some point, it simply became part of the process for sending information because there wasn’t a better way. It became “her job”, not because it was ever intended to be, but as a consequence of inertia and lack of review.

What usually happens in Hospitals is that the physician on-call schedules are created at the local, Clinic level, then sent over to the Hospital in some manner (fax, email, attachments, phone) where a Hospital “scheduler” re-enters the information into a centralized system that all authorized persons can view. This Hosptial-side person is the manual connection that makes the “magic” happen so that your schedules are available to everyone, instead of having you send the information around to all of the individuals who need to see it. She also does the “favor” of re-entering the updates from you as they come in and maybe even has pestered you for schedules you haven’t sent over yet!

Sound familiar?

Over time, this has become The Process, not A Process that should be reviewed and updated.

Who Should Really Be Accountable?

Who should really be accountable for creating and maintaining an accurate “published” On-Call schedule? Is it the Hospital “scheduler” who is replicating input for you? Or is it YOU, the Provider with the experience and expertise to know what is best for your fellows, your patients, and your organization?

What If You Could Simply Enter the Information Once?

What if you could simply enter the information once, and it would be available to all authorized viewers to use?

No duplicate entry needed. Forget the “did you get it” follow-up calls.

You need to create and enter the schedule anyway… whether you use paper, excel, or something like a physician scheduling software program. You need to take the time to pick up the phone or email someone about the changes anyway…

How about remaining responsible for the schedule accuracy and fairness, without additional transcription errors, and spending less time than you already are with the phoning and the follow-up? You could even assign the “update” duties to a trusted member of your own staff if you didn’t want to do it yourself. Either way, a layer of potential error can be eliminated and the authority/ responsibility for the schedule can remain where it should be, close to home… in YOUR hands where your Partners are trusting it to be.

Isn’t it time to create, update and “publish” all at the same place, at your discretion, when you want to? After all, in the beginning, your Mom tied your shoes for you too. Eventually, you discovered it was much quicker and easier to do it for yourself when you wanted to head out the door, without waiting for her.


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