January 4, 2022

How Better Healthcare Scheduling Can Increase Patient Satisfaction

Most of us have experienced being a patient. When you seek care at a clinic, hospital or at a healthcare center, it’s often easy to grasp which providers have just started their shift. It’s even easier to understand that the provider with little patience and a brisk tone is at the end of their shift.

Experts say that patient care is directly related to how the provider is feeling. Unfortunately data shows that more than 60% of health care providers are experiencing burnout. This burnout translates to less than ideal experiences for patients. An examination of data on patient satisfaction found that, “burnout in physicians was associated with a twofold increased odds for low patient-reported satisfaction.”

Fortunately, today there are better ways to schedule your healthcare staff. Scheduling systems created with the healthcare industry in mind provide ways to improve patient care by helping to prevent the burnout and care risks that come from ineffective shift management.

Better healthcare employee scheduling helps ensure properly staffed shifts.

At understaffed healthcare centers, medical staff are spread thin. This not only reduces the time they have available to spend with patients, but it also makes for a long waiting time.

Reducing wait times requires that your organization is adequately staffed. That can be difficult for healthcare organizations, as their needs are constantly changing as patients arrive and are released. It leaves those in charge of scheduling feeling like they just can’t win.

“While satisfaction doesn’t rest solely on wait times, patients do want to know that they are being cared for as efficiently as possible, and technology can help with that,” according to healthcare media outlet, Patient Engagement HIT.

Instead of a scheduling process based on a gut feeling, pen and paper or an unwieldy spreadsheet, scheduling technology can help administrators use historical demand data to fine-tune schedules so they reflect the actual dynamics of your healthcare center. Auto-scheduling tools, like those in TCP’s Humanity platform, help administrators save time by using demand-driven scheduling based on numbers and patient acuity.

Improved scheduling enables better work-life balance for providers.

There’s no denying that the COVID pandemic has taken a toll on our healthcare providers over the last two years.

A study on stress in the healthcare professions found that, of 226 physicians who had experienced stress at work, 76 incidents of adverse patient care were self-reported. Another study found that healthcare provider burnout can double the rate of issues around patient safety.

Having a scheduling solution that empowers employees to swap a shift with a colleague can be a huge benefit for these burned out healthcare workers. An improvement in work-life balance for providers is also an advantage for patient care—in terms of their overall experience, but more importantly their safety and less chance of medical error.

Ensure patient safety with scheduling compliance.

Healthcare regulations exist for a reason. Whether it’s time off between shifts or overtime limits, those policies are in place to protect patients and providers.

“The data infers that healthcare organizations may be using more overtime to cover for open shifts,” according to the Client Management leader from AMN Healthcare. “While this may seem like a viable option, a large and very convincing body of research shows that too much overtime can put a severe strain on nurses and other workers, which weakens their ability to provide quality patient care. Most clinicians will tell you plainly that this is true.”

Healthcare scheduling software allows organizations to customize for industry and state-specific rules to ensure compliance. Rather waiting until the end of the pay period to calculate overtime hours or an employee’s weekly hours total, by using scheduling software healthcare centers can run reports and have real-time access to this critical data. Not only will medical staff be relieved to work a reasonable number of hours, but their patients will also appreciate it and the organization won’t risk non-compliance.

Optimizing medical scheduling software is an easy way to improve operational efficiency and positively impact patient care. Accurate, conflict-free and demand-based schedules provide benefits for patient satisfaction by ensuring you have staff you need on every shift, your providers are rested, and your organization is meeting regulatory requirements.

Learn more about how improved scheduling can lead to better patient outcomes and a stronger bottom line in our article, “Demand-Driven Scheduling Healthcare Orgs Stay Resilient.”