On-Call Scheduling 101: Your Guide to Supporting Care Providers and Patients
May 30, 2017
How On-Call Scheduling Can Help Patients Today
There are many factors involved in good patient care. From knowledgeable, personable staff to a comfortable environment, hospitals need to provide a positive experience for every patient who passes through their doors. Key to keeping everything running smoothly is a reliable enterprise healthcare communications platform that allows every department and care team member, from clinicians to operators to support and lab staff, to connect easily and quickly.
Access to a web-based on-call scheduling solution paired with a staff directory is a key part of many aspects of care team coordination, from consult and medication requests to critical test result sharing to discharge approvals—and countless interactions in between. With Spok, on-call scheduling and directory details truly become the heart of enterprise healthcare communications because the ability to reach the right staff members to share important information is the basis of well-functioning workflows.
Unfortunately, many hospitals still try to run their communications with outdated methods. Operators are trying to make critical connections with ineffective tools like printed staff directories and spreadsheet-based on-call schedules—which become outdated quickly—as well as reference information stored in multiple databases. To make matters worse, these institutions don’t have a way for staff to update contact information themselves.
What Is On-Call Scheduling?
While many industries use on-call scheduling systems, they’re especially critical in healthcare. The basic role of on-call scheduling software is to establish around-the-clock staffing coverage in key areas of the hospital to carry out effective patient care. It’s essential that the right staff member, role, or team can be found quickly when the need arises—and that the schedule is kept up to date so that people aren’t contacted when they’re off duty, especially since they’re likely enjoying much-needed personal time.
The key to on-call scheduling is having accurate contact information available within the system, as well as the ability to send messages to staff right from the schedule. Having an on-call schedule that’s separate from directory information causes confusion and could delay treatment—and potentially result in a poor patient experience. When staff can utilize a seamless, efficient, and intuitive system, minimal effort is needed to reach the right person. Spok’s on-call scheduling software helps ensure that the correct contact information and preferred device (smartphone, pager, etc.) for every staff member is easy to find, particularly during emergency or time-critical situations.
Here are a few notable benefits of implementing an online on-call scheduling system:
Share Important Information With the Right Person Around the Clock
In order for a hospital to run smoothly, systems and people need to work together to share information and updates. Spok’s on-call scheduling solution allows departments to access and update on-call schedules from a web-based portal. This schedule information is invaluable when shared across related systems so staff can reach the correct provider about patient test results, critical changes in vitals, pain management requests, and much more.
This is possible because the on-call schedule integrates with related Spok Care Connect® solutions for secure messaging, critical test results management, clinical alerting, and call center management. Messages are stored in a full audit trail, which allows users to determine whether the on-call provider has received the communication. If necessary, messages and requests can be escalated to the next-available on-call staff member if the primary contact is unavailable.
Enable the Call Center to Focus on Caller Service
With easy-to-use on-call scheduling software, contact center staff spend less time trying to figure out who’s on call and how to get ahold of them and more time providing high-quality caller service. Spok’s on-call scheduling solution enables the contact center to grant access to individual departments to make ongoing updates themselves, reducing the burden that comes with a centralized approach. All credentialed staff can access these web-based schedules and send messages right from one place to reach their colleagues. In addition, directory and schedule information is available in the Spok Mobile® secure messaging app, simplifying mobile communications throughout the day.
Boost Patient Care and Satisfaction With More Effective Communications
When collaboration among physicians, nurses, and other staff is delayed, so is patient care. Patients aren’t pleased when they have to wait for hospital staff to find the right person, get access to their test results, or be approved for discharge once they know they’re able to leave. This dissatisfaction can be expressed in their HCAHPS survey responses, which could affect reimbursements. On-call scheduling software enables call centers and other departments to reach the appropriate staff member more quickly throughout the patient’s stay, resulting in faster response times, better coordinated care, and a more positive experience during what is likely a very difficult and stressful time.
Seamless On-Call Scheduling Supports Your Staff—and Your Patients
Health systems are increasingly doing away with paper-based on-call scheduling systems in favor of Spok’s intuitive solutions. With Spok you can expedite access to on-call staff and easily integrate this information with related communication systems. If you have questions about how to get started with efficient on-call scheduling, contact Spok now. We know how important meaningful communication is, and we know exactly who benefits in the long run: the patient.
By Marc Davis, Senior Product Manager, Contact Center, Spok
Marc is an accomplished marketing/product management executive with a background of creating and implementing strategies for growth, developing customer-focused tactics, leading organizational change, and managing business P&L. He has expertise in all phases of the marketing and project management process from inception to production. This includes the development of strategic plans, innovative marketing programs, and products and processes that deliver bottom-line results and increase recognizable revenue. Marc has lived in Minnesota his entire life, and in his spare time he enjoys exercising and local art and music. Connect with Marc on LinkedIn.