by Rotageek on 4 April 2022
As NHS Trusts look to drive efficiencies across their organisation, doctor scheduling systems offer one the greatest areas of potential gain.
By digitising rostering, planning managers can strip away inherent difficulties that hinder their ability to optimise staffing levels. These solutions can integrate multiple scheduling systems, speed up the planning process and make it easier to resolve any issues.
With mounting concerns over doctor shortages and workforce burnout, it’s also clear that action is needed to arrest growing attrition rates among doctors. E-rostering can help to address this by giving them more control over their work/life balance.
These benefits are all made possible because of the enhanced visibility and flexibility offered by new digital solutions.
Increased visibility over scheduling is long overdue for doctors. Usually managed through multiple systems, doctors’ schedules are typically separated into specialisms – anaesthetists, surgeons, radiologists, etc.
This creates challenges for any planning manager wanting to take a holistic view. For example, if a health care provider wants to take a multi-disciplinary approach to patient care, having to juggle numerous systems will compromise a planner’s ability to coordinate care teams. It will also inhibit their ability to identify and rectify staff shortages.
Integrating all of these schedules within one e-rostering system, however, creates greater transparency. This makes it much easier for managers to see who is scheduled to work, when and where.
From a doctor’s perspective, this visibility allows them to easily see which colleagues are available to offer support at any time, which can be crucial when a patient needs specialist help.
It also gives them a clearer view over their own schedules – and any changes made to it. They no longer have to consult spreadsheets pinned to the back of a door – they just need to check the app on their phone.
This transparency also enables greater flexibility – a game-changer for both schedule planners and doctors.
When supported by AI, these systems can quickly calculate the implications of any changes and update schedules almost instantly. They can also automatically carry out checks to ensure that each individual’s working time is compliant with health and safety regulations.
This flexibility makes it easier for doctors to amend their own schedules. Digital rostering enables them to swap shifts or submit requests for leave, all within a smartphone app. So, if they need time off to manage a family commitment, for example, they can make this happen.
For worn down doctors facing an unprecedented backlog of patients, following the disruption caused by the pandemic, this flexibility can make all the difference. It gives them the autonomy they need to plan their lives with more certainty.
It also leads to a more cooperative approach to scheduling, which is providing doctors with a sense that rosters are no longer being done to them – but with them. This will inevitably lead to happier, more motivated doctors, which will ultimately result in better patient care.
If you'd like to know more about how digital solutions are transforming doctor rostering you can read our whitepaper, Rethinking Doctor Rostering: Why greater visibility and flexibility will be transformative for healthcare in full here.