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Accurate, Optimized Schedules Take Practice

Posted by Shift Admin on May 29, 2018 at 6:40 AM

Once upon a time, as your hospital’s group administrator, you prepared a staff schedule by hand for the first time. And it wasn’t easy.

Over time and with a lot of practice, the process became easier until it began to feel like second nature. The only problem was that, even with practice, manual scheduling took time – lots of time – and keeping up with schedule requests and sudden changes was extremely challenging.

Now that you’ve switched to scheduling software, you’re excited by the potential to save countless hours of labor while creating error-free schedules that keep everyone in the organization happy. But you may be experiencing some familiar growing pains as you become accustomed to your new scheduling system.

There’s no reason to panic, however. It’s just part of the learning curve and – with time and practice – using your scheduling software will become second nature.

Follow these suggestions to get the best practice to create optimized schedules more and more efficiently.

Communicate with your team

Ideally, you’ll meet everyone’s needs for each schedule, you’ll cover all the day-off requests, and you’ll have covered all shifts. But it’s helpful to remember that, sometimes, everyone can’t always get what they want with every schedule. That’s why it’s important to communicate your schedule constraints to your team and be open about the process.

Avoid the temptation to edit the schedule manually

Reverting to previous habits as you’re learning your new scheduling software can be easy. But instead of editing the schedule manually, adjust the rules and regenerate the schedule automatically. Your scheduling software should have a wide variety of tools to help you schedule and make changes without having to do it by hand.

Rely on your support

It’s important to stay in contact with your software’s support team as you first start creating schedules. They’ll help you address any issues that arise. If you feel the need to manually tweak the schedule after you’ve generated only once or twice, don’t. Instead, reach out to the support team so they can help you make adjustments to the rules, requests, and/or weights, helping you get the most optimized schedule out of the generator. And once you’ve established the correct rules, you’ll save a lot of time on scheduling in subsequent schedule periods.

Invest in the time it takes to do it right

While it may take a bit of extra time now as you learn your new scheduling software, the time you’ll save in the future is worth the investment alone. Manual scheduling means putting in long hours to create a schedule, and then making inevitable changes to that schedule as different scenarios arise. Learning about everything the software has to offer in the early stages of implementation is important for being able to maximize your time in the future.

Check your rules

Remember, a schedule that has accurate rules – rules which reflect the number of providers you need per shift, the number of shifts your providers should get, time-off and vacation requests, etc. – is generated and optimized more quickly, which eliminates the need for manual editing.

Refine your scheduling processes and put in the practice to make great schedules. Your providers, patients, and facility will all benefit from your hard work.


Plan for things to run smoothly while you’re out of the office just as you would plan for the schedule. Follow our stress-free Ultimate OOO Guide, available below:

Topics: Physician Scheduling

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