Optimally distributing your staff’s work time is an important factor for your clinic’s success. But the problem is that you’re probably spending more hours optimizing your schedules than you care to admit. Indeed, medical staff scheduling is time-consuming and chaotic. Managing piles of calendars, spreadsheets, timetables, and time off requests, assigning employees to shifts at one or multiple locations, and keeping up with constantly changing schedules all take a big bite out of an administrator’s time and cause headaches. 

Employee scheduling shouldn’t be that complicated. And there is a way out! — medical staff scheduling software. Scheduling software allows clinics to reduce the time spent creating work schedules, cuts costs on overtime shifts, and offers care providers a seamless experience.

Medical Staff Scheduling System
Source: wisetail.com

Employee scheduling software is a big step for your clinic. Should you go with an off-the-shelf solution or create a scheduling app from scratch? What features are important in hospital scheduling software?And what benefits does this type of technology bring to your healthcare business? These are the most crucial questions to answer before you start to use a scheduling system. We’re here to help you answer them. But before we go deep into must-have features and the off-the-shelf solutions versus custom development debate, we’ll take a moment to understand what healthcare staff scheduling issues managers regularly encounter.

Common employee scheduling problems in healthcare

Research into shift scheduling challenges by TSheets shows that more than half of employees spend at least two hours each week building the shift schedule. Meanwhile, 8% of employees say they spend four hours on this each week and 9% spend five hours. Some employees say they’ve spent up to 12 hours a week designing schedules. Why is scheduling so time-consuming? Health services managers are spending a lot of time building schedules because they face quite a lot of staffing challenges. Let’s get a bigger picture of what some of these challenges are.

employee scheduling problems in healthcare
source: blog.hubstaff.com

Sudden changes

With spreadsheets, your employees need to call a manager every time they want to make changes to their work schedules, and the manager needs to make these changes by hand. This is not an easy or fast task. Plus, it often leads to errors. 

No anywhere, anytime schedule access

It’s quite a challenge for medical staff to access schedules. Staff members have to call a manager whenever they need to pick up a shift or communicate changes. Sometimes, they may even have to come to work on a day off to learn the schedule if calling is not an option. 

Inadequate medical staffing

Keeping staffing ratios safe has long been an uphill fight in the healthcare sector. Often, there aren’t enough nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers to fill shifts. Staffing imbalances can lead to many negative outcomes including medication errors, patient dissatisfaction, and staff burnout. 

Problems of accountability and visibility

When managing schedules manually, you can’t have total control over what’s going on at the moment and full visibility into your staff’s availability. This poses a risk of overlapping shifts and unintended attendance and time violations since employees may not be aware of last-minute changes.

Time off requests go forgotten or overlooked

Emailing time off requests to a manager or writing them down on sticky notes is a formula for those requests being overlooked or forgotten. Not to mention the burden of handling leave and time off requests themselves.

Errors, errors, and more errors

Spreadsheets are vulnerable to errors. We’d even say spreadsheets demonstrate the lowest scheduling accuracy and can result in wrong data, cancellation mistakes, poor productivity, lost time, and missed shifts.

Medical Staff Scheduling System
source: connecteam.com

Healthcare staff scheduling software is a great solution for overcoming these scheduling challenges and creating optimized and accurate work schedules. Additionally, this type of software lets you:

  • Save labor hours
  • Get information regarding staffing needs
  • Provide employees with 24/7 schedule access
  • Reduce scheduling mishaps
  • Quickly adapt to sudden shift changes
  • Simplify time recording and accurately calculate employee pay
  • Manage time off requests effectively
  • Make better staffing decisions
  • Improve employee satisfaction

Third-party healthcare staff scheduling systems vs custom software

Custom software isn’t always the best solution for every clinic. Some establishments are just too small, have limited budgets, and/or are good with features that exist in a ready-made solution. If this is you, we suggest you go with a third-party software provider. 

To give you a bigger picture of ready-made hospital staff scheduling software, we’ve chosen three popular solutions ― Shift Admin, QGenda, and OnShift ― and compared them based on functionality, integrations, pricing, supported platforms, and success stories.

 

Shift Admin

QGenda

OnShift

 

Overview

Shift Admin

Healthcare staff scheduling software

QGenda

Automated, cloud-based doctor scheduling system

OnShift

Cloud-based employee communication and scheduling solution

 

Best for

Shift Admin
  • Telemedicine
  • Hospitals
  • Surgeries
  • Accident and emergency medicine
  • Urgent care
  • Anesthesia
  • Radiology
  • Nursing
QGenda
  • Health systems and hospitals
  • Academic medical centers
  • Federal healthcare market
  • Private medical practices
  • Management services organizations
OnShift
  • Post-acute and long-term care providers
  • Home health providers
  • Senior living providers
  • Intellectual/developmental disabilities and behavioral health providers
  • Continuing care retirement communities 
  • Emergency medical services and ambulatory care
 

Features

Shift Admin
  • Reporting
  • Statistics
  • Time management (custom hours tracking; non-clinical time monitoring; scheduled hours vs worked hours tracking; clock in/out system)
  • Document management 
  • Communication tools (email and SMS)
  • Schedule requests
QGenda
  • Automated scheduling
  • Real-time schedule access
  • Shift swapping and vacation requests
  • On-call view
  • Employee attendance and time tracking with geo-verification
  • Compensation management
  • Reporting and analytics
OnShift
  • Effective scheduling with reusable master templates
  • On-the-go schedule access
  • Shift requests
  • Predictive analytics and to-do lists
  • Messaging
 

Devices

Shift Admin

Web, Android, iOS

QGenda

Web, Android, iOS

OnShift

Web, Android, iOS

 

Third-party integrations

Shift Admin
  • Payroll software: ADP, APS, Paylocity, Payroll Network, Paychex, Paycor

  • HR software
QGenda
  • EMR/EHR software: athenahealth, Medaxion, Cerner, MEDITECH, Epic, Picis, Greenway Health

  • Payroll, time and attendance management: ADP, Lawson, Paylocity, Ceridian, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Infinisource, Paychex, Ultimate Software, Kronos, Paycor, Workday

  • Communications: Amion, Spok, Voalte, Amtelco, Startel, Vocera, Imprivata, Telmediq, PerfectServe, TigerConnect

  • Revenue cycle management (RCM): abeo, Zotec Partners, Medac, MBMS

  • Residency management: MedHub, New Innovations, MyEvaluations, E*Value

  • Other: Clario, Primordial, MSN Healthcare Solutions
OnShift
  • ADP
  • Ceridian
  • iSolved
  • Paycor
  • SinglePoint
  • Kronos
  • Datis
  • Netchex
  • Paycom
  • Stratustime
  • Yardi
  • MatrixCare
  • Fingercheck
  • NOVAtime
  • Paylocity
  • SwipeClock
  • Asure
  • InfoTronics
  • PayActiv
  • PeopleGuru
  • Timeco
  • First Advantage
  • Attendance on Demand
  • Insperity
  • Paychex
  • PointClickCare
  • Ultimate Software
 

Pricing

Shift Admin

Based on user type and number of users

QGenda

Information not provided by the vendor

OnShift

Information not provided by the vendor

 

Who uses it?

Shift Admin
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Emergency Resources Group
  • VEMA
  • Apollo MD
  • Infinity Healthcare
  • UF Health
  • Island Medical Management
  • American Medflight
QGenda
  • CU Medicine
  • Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
  • Old Pueblo Anesthesia
  • Children’s Mercy Hospital
  • Atrium Health
  • OR Staff
  • The Ohio State University
  • Premier Anesthesia
  • Texas Tech University
OnShift
  • Edgewood
  • Marklund
  • Century Oak Care Center
  • Montefiore Medical Center

However, if you require functionality to meet specific business needs, want a particular design to fit your brand, or need a product to scale and grow together with your business, we suggest considering custom development. Custom healthcare software development is a smart long-term investment that allows you to:

  • Increase your clinic’s productivity and efficiency with software designed to meet your specific needs
  • Create a super secure scheduling platform from the start
  • Integrate with software you’re already using
  • Build a system that can handle a heavy load
  • Add additional features in the future

With custom development, you own the system and can do anything you want with it.

Features of hospital scheduling software

There are several modules and features you should look for when developing your own hospital employee scheduling software or when assessing an existing solution.

Employee management

You should be able to access all schedule-related data such as a list of locations (if you own multiple), an employee database, and employee availability. This information will help you in building schedules and managing shifts across departments and locations.

Schedule management

This is the most crucial component of any employee shift scheduling software. Consider including the following functionality in this module:

  • Calendar view
  • Automated scheduling
  • Manual scheduling
  • Job scheduling
  • Multi-location employee scheduling

Shift management 

Enable your staff to view and pick up open shifts, swap and trade shifts, check in and out, and access schedules in real time. Managers should be able to contact employees to fill openings. You can also allow your system to automatically assign tasks according to employees’ positions, functions, and skills.

Time management

With a time management module, you’ll be able to ensure accuracy in time and attendance records. Useful features here include:

  • Time and attendance tracking
  • Time sheets
  • Overtime tracking
  • Vacation and leave tracking
  • Time off request management
  • Alerts

Payroll tracking

Payrolls and schedules are directly connected. This is why it’s important to include some financial features in a scheduling system such as:

  • Paid time off (PTO) tracking
  • Payroll export

In addition to this functionality, you may also want to include the following:

  • Real-time communication
  • Reminders
  • Third-party integrations
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Resource forecasting
  • Mobile app

Quality healthcare starts with smart staff scheduling!

Scheduling is an integral function for any health facility. Managing piles of calendars, spreadsheets, timetables, and time off requests and keeping up with constantly shifting schedules adds another layer of complexity to employee scheduling. However, there are healthcare scheduling tools that can help you out. Or you can develop your own nursing staff scheduling system that will specifically address your needs and be tailored to your particular clinical processes.

If you’ve decided to go with a custom medical scheduling system and you’re looking for a reliable healthcare tech partner, contact us to consult on your project. Meanwhile, you can check out our custom healthcare development services.