6 things to know when purchasing on-call scheduling software

It is 3 a.m. A patient is having a myocardial infarction in your hospital. Is it easy to reach every member of the code STEMI team, including the right on-call clinicians? It should be. 

As anyone working in healthcare today knows, effective care team collaboration is an essential part of providing stellar patient care. Contacting the right providers at the right time on the right device to mobilize them effectively can impact how quickly treatment can be delivered, particularly during emergencies. Delays in reaching these clinicians to relay critical patient test results and provide clinical consultations can also impact patient care.

More than physician on-call scheduling software

Your organization may be struggling to support the fully interconnected communication required to keep up with the fast pace of healthcare today. Even hospitals with some form of on-call scheduling software in place may not have a fully integrated system that supports broader workflows. An integrated on-call scheduling system contains not only staff schedules, but also staff locations and assignments, contact information, and device preferences across multiple sites. It is much more than a simple physician scheduling system.  

Whether your organization is looking to implement an on-call scheduling solution for the first time or needs to re-evaluate your current approach, these considerations will help you understand the capabilities that can truly help you advance patient care.

  1. If the on-call schedule is not online, its value is severely limited

Does your contact center have 20 paper on-call schedules taped on and around your computer telephony workstation? Do you get emails every day from different clinical departments with revised on-call schedules? Cumbersome customized spreadsheets, printed schedules, and whiteboard calendars have no place in a modern hospital when it comes to assigning and locating the right clinician resources around the clock. Secure online on-call schedules are not only easier for everyone to access and update, but they can also incorporate messaging capabilities to speed communication.

  1. The on-call schedule and the staff directory go hand-in-hand

It is almost impossible to think about on-call schedules without factoring in the staff contact information that ultimately makes communication possible and efficient. An effective on-call scheduling system must pull in the latest directory information, meaning your on-call scheduling and clinical directory software need to integrate seamlessly with each other to synchronize this critical data.

  1. Physicians and other users need full access to keep their contact details updated

In most organizations, on-call scheduling functions are decentralized to individual clinical departments tasked with managing their team calendars. With the increase in large hospital networks that span multiple campuses, enabling clinicians and other staff to update their own contact details or on-call availability reduces the burden on administrative staff and eliminates silos of information.

  1. Contacting off-duty physicians contributes to burnout

Clinician burnout happens for many reasons. Contacting physicians when they are not on call during their much-needed time away from the hospital has always been a cardinal sin—and yet it happens more often than it should. Employing an easily accessible on-call scheduling solution will lessen or eliminate clinicians getting messaged or called when they are off duty, helping them recharge and be ready for their next workday. Having an accurate on-call schedule with updated staff contact information also means the right person will be contacted sooner, improving patient care delivery.

  1. The on-call schedule should incorporate device preferences

Whether it’s a smartphone, a hospital-issued Wi-Fi phone, or a trusty pager, care team members will always have a preferred device for when they need to be reached. For example, a clinician may want to be contacted on their smartphone when they are at work but via pager when they are on call. An on-call scheduling system that respects these preferences means key personnel are easier to locate when their expertise is required. Paired with user-access capabilities, this also means physicians and other clinicians can update their preferences as they change over time to reflect new devices, workdays, or preferred mode of contact.

  1. On-call schedules integrated with accurate clinical directories are foundational components of a comprehensive solution

An accurate enterprise directory integrated with accurate on-call scheduling information are the bedrock of streamlined, operationally efficient clinical workflows that are driven by clinical communication. A comprehensive communication solution will integrate physician on-call scheduling software and the staff directory with other important communication tools, including secure messaging, critical test results management, clinical alerting, and contact center management.

Finding the right on-call solution that works best for your organization

If you are considering your options for improving care team communication and clinical care delivery with an integrated approach to on-call schedules and enterprise directories, the Spok Go® communication platform provides the capabilities care teams need to deliver the best care. Even at 3 a.m.

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