Why Physician Group Planners Should Use Better Tools

Physicians who are in charge of creating schedules for their department face huge challenges. The creation of a quarterly schedule can easily require more than 40 hours to put together. And this doesn’t even take into account the tinkering which will occur after it has been published. A well-crafted and well-managed schedule can ensure that a department is as efficient as possible, thus improving the quality of life for its members. How can hospitals help group planners achieve optimal planning potential without pushing their members to exhaustion? Physician group planners work in a unique environment and the more we understand their daily reality, the better we can equip them with the appropriate tools they need to meet their challenges.

Creating a physician schedule is like assembling a puzzle with over 5 000 pieces

The creation of a physician schedule is like a gigantic puzzle with a huge number of pieces and a seemingly infinite number of combinations. Group planners must assign work shifts and tasks to every physician in their department over a period of 3, 6 or even 12 months. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. In addition, group planners must take into consideration specific constraints for each person, such as absences and personal requests, while at the same time respecting labor standards. Then, this schedule must be coordinated with other external schedules for every physician working in another hospital or medical clinic.

In other words, not only do group planners have to respect personal variables for each physician, but they often have to take into account aspects of the following 5 different areas:

  •       Working shifts
  •       Absences
  •       Fair distribution
  •       Respect of the business rules
  •       External schedules coordination
Imagine the colossal effort involved to make a schedule lasting several months which must incorporate all the variables mentioned above for every working shift for each physician. Imagine parent meetings, physician couples, external medical clinic replacement… All these situations must be accommodated for the schedule to function well. Since group planners sometimes manage over 20 physicians, whose requests are often incompatible with each other, creating a schedule that encompasses every possibility is no different than trying to manipulate a puzzle with over 5,000 pieces.

Managing schedules for physicians without a centralized platform

Once a schedule is created, the work is far from over. The physician group planner must keep his/her eyes open all the time, because every time there is a change in an assignment, s/he must apply the change to the schedule while still keeping in mind the requests of each physician. If an assignment switch is accepted, the group planner must then make sure that every department affected by the trade is informed. When schedules undergo a large number of modifications, say many times a week, or even a day; the chances of inadvertently making a mistake grow dramatically. Common well-known examples include lack of physician coverage and needing to reschedule appointments. Clearly, managing an accurate and functional schedule for a physician planner implies much more than a week of preparation: it requires a full-time coordinator.

How to optimize management functions for the physician planner?

PetalMD has made its mission to equip physician group planners with a tool capable of simplifying and optimizing their daily work. By choosing the Scheduling Software, group planners are doing their department and the hospital a service while greatly improving their own quality of life. How?

By saving a huge amount of time, thanks to the automated schedule creation

This user-friendly management platform can shorten the time dedicated to schedule creation by up to 80%. These amazing results are explained by our automated tool which transforms the physician’s many rules and constraints into algorithms which can generate an equitable schedule in a matter of minutes. The application solves the puzzle for the group planner in the most optimal way… saving time and headaches.
“The software automatically builds a schedule with shifts that are more spread out, which positively affects a physician’s work-life balance as they have more time to rest between shifts.”

- Dr Friesen, Peterborough Regional Health Center

By giving the planner a real-time picture of every shift trade

The PetalMD platform gives its physician users the possibility to swap shifts with or without the approval of the group planner, depending on your preferences. The immediacy of the process removes all possibility of communication problems between physicians. No faxes, voice mails, pagers, emails or post-it notes: shifts are automatically updated and communicated in real time.

By giving the planner a total control over their schedule

Automated schedule creation and shifts distribution are optimal solutions, but the decision-making power still remains in the hands of the planner. Even with multiple schedule combinations suggested by the platform, the physician group planner can always have the last word and keep a complete control over his schedule.

How to join the PetalMD community?

To date, more than 30 000 physicians showed their trust in PetalMD. To get more information on how our scheduling software can help you with your specific needs, contact us now or take a look at this Emergency Group Case Study about How a Scheduling Solution Saves Time and Improves Physician Satisfaction. Let’s work together to improve physician’s quality of life and make our healthcare system better!