The global healthcare emergency caused by COVID-19 has certainly taken its toll on healthcare service providers the world over. Both public and private healthcare institutions have had to face numerous challenges insofar as staff rostering has been concerned. Although key worker educational provision has allowed many doctors, nurses and other workers with children to come into work, it has not always worked out as simple as that.
Furthermore, the rush to shift resources into high dependency care units and virology departments has meant that rostering staff shifts in other departments has necessarily been harder to achieve. Then there is the question of patient appointment keeping. During the times when viral transmission has been highest among the public, patients have not always been as diligent as they might when it comes to turning up to their allotted appointments.
Furthermore, the need for healthcare professionals to self-isolate if they have shown symptoms of infection has often meant that it has been impossible to make effective, long-term staffing plans. Equally, the attempts some have made to keep teams of healthcare workers in so-called bubbles to reduce the likelihood of transmission has been something of a challenge, to say the least. All of these factors have placed HR professionals and clinicians who have responsibilities for rostering their teams under a great deal of strain.
However, GP surgeries, outpatient services and even A&E departments have been increasingly turning to technological solutions to help them overcome these challenges. Technological approaches to organising work rosters have several advantages in many sectors but they certainly make a difference in healthcare settings where 24/7 service provision is required. How will adopting specialist staff rostering software help your organisation to overcome the manpower challenges that the coronavirus pandemic has thrown up and how will it continue to assist healthcare providers in a post-COVID landscape? Read on to find out.
Faster Access to Healthcare Professionals’ Availability
As well as offering shift planners and administrators with the ability to see which members of their teams have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and those who have yet to receive their injections, high-quality rostering software solutions, like eSolve help employees, too. With a simple login procedure, healthcare professionals will be able to set their availability according to their other work commitments, the level of childcare provision they have available and whether their latest virus test allows them to come into work or not. By using a straightforward user interface, it becomes much easier for those rostering to see what employee availability they have at their disposal in real-time.
Of course, being able to see staff availability as it changes is a big advantage in a moving landscape which is the sort of thing that the coronavirus outbreak has made normal. However, even when greater normality in healthcare service provision returns, eSolve will allow managers to handle their often complex scheduling with much greater ease. A manager or supervisor can form their planned roster but also view which members of their team are still available to work if a shortage were to occur.
Unfortunately, healthcare staff shortages happen all the time. An unexpected increase in patient numbers within certain departments can account for it as can simple absenteeism or unplanned life events, such as bereavements. By making themselves available for a shift even if they have not been rostered for work, employees can be used to fill the gaps quickly and easily without having to rely on bank staff from employment agencies.
On-Call Lists That Are Relevant to Properly Qualified Workers
An on-call list is another useful tool that healthcare providers will have at their disposal if they invest in the right sort of scheduling software. Essentially, an on-call list takes the basic availability of employees to come into work, if they are needed, and offers additional planning features that make rostering even complex requirements much easier. It does this by allowing schedulers to create call slots in their roster which require people with certain skills or qualifications to fulfil them.
Of course, in healthcare settings, it is of paramount importance that caregivers are qualified for the sort of work they will undertake. When asking doctors and nurses to elect to go on call for such slots, they will be notified as and when their particular skill set is needed. Indeed, with eSolve, it is even possible to fully automate the notification that an on-call slot needs to be filled and that a particular employee has been assigned it.
Even better, the system makes use of a function whereby slots can be swapped automatically. Basically, this means that the software will monitor upcoming requirements and assign employees who have already been assigned a slot to another one should their skill set is more appropriate for it while backfilling the slot they have been unassigned from without fuss. Of course, administrators with the required access rights can also manually assign on-call healthcare professionals for relevant slots. The system will provide a full audit trail of which slots have been swapped automatically and manually for a full level of accountability.
Skills Mapping to Meet Your Current and Future Needs
As well as partially automating your roster-building according to skills, qualifications and prior experience, eSolve helps the often vary large human resource departments of big healthcare providers to map out their skill availability. After all, in healthcare, nothing stays the same for long. Some professionals will be undergoing training and upskilling themselves whereas others may not have kept up with their continuing professional development in all areas. This makes rostering according to employees’ qualified skills even harder in hospital settings than it does in many other situations. Fortunately, technology provides the answer.
With advanced skills mapping software, managers can instantly update any changes there might be in their teams’ skill sets. Add new skills or remove them with ease using the software so that a matrix of skills can be maintained that helps both manual and automated rostering to work perfectly. Remember that doing so won’t simply mean that every shift is properly manned but that patient care will be safeguarded, too, by having adequate numbers of properly trained staff on hand at any time.