March 7, 2012

Humanity Helps UPMC’s MARCO Group Schedule 24/7 Coverage for Clinical Trials


The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is one of the leading nonprofit health systems in the United States. A $10 billion integrated global health enterprise headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, UPMC develops and delivers life-changing medicine by harnessing the power of technology, translating science into cures and accelerating the pace of innovation worldwide. The Department of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh use the Humanity workforce management application to manage the schedule for Clinical Trials Research Assistants working for the Multidisciplinary Acute Care Research Organization (MACRO). In 2002, the Department of Critical Care Medicine (CCM) began a Clinical Trials Program (CTP) to coordinate all trials within the Department. The CTP streamlines screening and enrollment of ICU patients and began with three clinical research coordinators (CRC) for five studies.

Between 2002 and 2007, the CTP expanded and due to overlapping patient populations, coordinated more and more often with a similar program in the Department of Surgery. In 2008, the two Departments decided to join forces under a single entity called MACRO, to maximize collaboration, productivity, and efficiency. A year later, the Department of Emergency Medicine also joined MACRO. Together, these three Departments have been unstoppable and jointly run MACRO as an internal clinical research organization with a focus on acute care research. A key service MACRO offers investigators in 24/7 screening and enrollment that is achieved through undergraduate students employed as Clinical Trials Research Assistants (CTRA). In 2009, their teamwork enabled the enrollment of 129 patients in trials and over 800 patients in observational trials.

They have 14 employees and they find it challenging to offer their 24-hour coverage while accommodating the busy and often irregular schedules of undergraduate students. Many of the CTRA’s have complex availability that makes staff scheduling or giving consistent shifts nearly impossible. Previously, each CTRA would email their availability to the CTRA scheduler, who would then have to wade through all of the emails and employee availability information to create schedules in Google Calendar. The complexity and irregularity of many people’s work schedules resulted in numerous schedule conflicts. An application that integrates effective communication makes it easier to resolve these conflicts.

Since they switched to Humanity, they have found that our application has vastly simplified getting each CTRA’s availability and viewing in a concise, simple format that ensures each employee is scheduled for shifts that are compatible with their availability and individual schedules. Shift trades and changes are also far simpler, particularly when conflicts are immediately brought to the attention of the scheduler. Using our easy-to-use work scheduler interface for them has cut down on the number of mass emails sent out when people need to swap shifts, which occurs less often with more effective communication and an indication of employee availability. The Message Wall and ‘Ping’ feature also increase communication efficiency, particularly for relaying last minute or very important information.

”I would absolutely recommend Humanity! There are dramatically fewer scheduling issues. The Humanity team is accessible: they have always been ready to help with questions or concerns and having 24/7 support is a great feature.” -Peter Adams, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Critical Care Medicine


We are happy to help streamline and simplify the 24/7 scheduling process for the Department of Critical Care Medicine.