Physician scheduling software has come a long way since Excel. In this video, OpenTempo gives the scoop on what’s really going on when you use spreadsheets to build the daily and call schedules for your medical practice. Video Length: 1 minute 51 seconds

The Ugly Truth about Spreadsheets and Physician Scheduling

Spreadsheets are the most common scheduling system used in hospitals and IDNs – yet they are unable to perform some of the most basic functions necessary for building physician and nurse schedules.

While an enormous step forward in the 90’s, technology has long since surpassed the capabilities of spreadsheets. For instance …

Spreadsheets cannot track rules and policies.
Your medical practice undoubtedly has a slew of rules and polices you are required to follow with every schedule you build. Many of these are clinical requirements, essential to maintain quality standards for patient care. Others, though, are based in the intricacies of your human resources department and have to do with time off and compensation.

With so many factors to pull together with every schedule, it is no surprise that scheduling mistakes occur. Yet people overlook the role an inadequate scheduling system (such as a spreadsheet) plays in creating those errors.

Spreadsheets cannot forecast staffing levels.
Whether you need to balance future physician call schedules or forecast overtime for your nurses, spreadsheets will not be able to help you. They simply are not set up to do that. It takes a sophisticated software to do forecasting – yet that sophistication doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. In fact, using software designed to accommodate the forecasting needs of a medical practice will be far easier than trying to force a spreadsheet to accomplish the same task.

Spreadsheets cannot notify you of updates in real-time.
With everyone now tied to their phones, it makes sense to send updates to people straight to their phone or mobile device – something spreadsheets are not able to do. As a result, updates have to be emailed to people or posted on a bulletin board (where everyone also has to remember to check for schedule changes). The proper technology makes scheduling so much easier by syncing directly with mobile calendars and emailing updates as they occur.

Physician scheduling software goes way beyond spreadsheets.

Sticking with spreadsheets may seem like an easy approach to physician scheduling – but that’s not the case. Our clients tell us that they were spending 10 times as long processing requests with their spreadsheet systems than they did once they upgraded to OpenTempo.

It goes far beyond speed, though. With a spreadsheet, you need a senior provider needs to build the schedules, since only they have the full picture of the clinical rules and HR policies.

So, spreadsheets take longer, require a more senior person’s time, and lack the basic functionality your providers require.

And that’s the ugly truth about using spreadsheets to build your schedules.