Many healthcare practitioners dream of starting their own private practice such as urgent care centers, primary care physicians, optometrists, dentists, and home health care practices. Yet, those who actually own or run a medical practice know this dream can be more of a nightmare. Owners and managers of healthcare organizations have to be a jack of all trades when managing their business. The morning may consist of pouring over collections, accounts receivable, overhead, and payroll. Then later, they wear the hat of practice manager to train new staff, call patients, or handle insurance issues. Then at the end of the day, many shift roles to review reports or the latest healthcare regulations. Even more, many owners and managers might also be the physicians! Balancing work and family, not to mention getting in a few hours of sleep at night, can easily get out of hand.
While hiring an additional practice manager would lighten the load, this is an expense many owners simply can’t afford. There is a way forward – medical practice owners and managers can reduce their time spent on administrative tasks by embracing intuitive, affordable technology to speed up processes like creating employee schedules. By using simple, easy to use employee scheduling software, instead of Excel spreadsheets to schedule and manage employees, practice owners are freed up to spend more face to face time with their patients, thus growing the business.
Still not convinced? Here are 10 reasons why you should use employee scheduling software:
1. Adhere to Compliance
Now more than ever, it’s critical for medical practice managers to be compliant with healthcare and labor laws. Why? The Department of Labor regulatory enforcement and litigation spending is on the rise. The 2017 Annual Workplace Litigation Report by Seyforth Shaw, LLP reports that workplace class action settlements hit a total of $1.75 billion and the settlement value tripled in 2016 for litigations due to non-compliance and poor tracking of employee hours worked.
Medical practice owners can address compliance regulations with employee scheduling software as this solution includes proper tracking and documentation for employee hours worked. For example, Deputy’s time and attendance feature provides biometric facial recognition to verify the identity of a healthcare worker at the time of clock-in and out at an iPad kiosk set up at the practice. Additionally, to get a schedule ‘right’, each worker needs to be properly trained, certified, and credentialed for the specific tasks of the shift. If not done correctly, they can put their patients and business at risk. Deputy’s training and certification tracking allows the uploading of training and certification credentials with expiration dates. The scheduling tool will then prompt managers if the certification will expire before the scheduled shift. This can be managed within the Deputy scheduling app or synced to a Learning Management System (LMS) so managers never schedule a worker who has an expired certification.
Deputy’s employee scheduling software also includes a compliance rules engine which schedules the right doctors, nurses, caregivers and support staff based on the patient’s need, including proper certifications, distance, availability, overtime and other pre-selected criteria. More importantly, the compliance rules engine protects employers against the most common wage and hour mistakes. Each state has specific meal, rest, and overtime laws that schedulers need to be aware of. In the effort to match the right care provider to the correct patient, simple mistakes can be made that in violate federal, state, or local regulations. This built-in rules system not only provides the scheduler the information they need, but also gives employers the flexibility to update or create additional rules with ease such as paid break tools to record and accurately pay for these breaks.
2. Improve The Patient Experience
Many medical practices receive patient complaints or poor results on a satisfaction survey due to two common factors: poor staff training and scheduling errors. Employees who are not properly trained to handle certain transactions can make easy mistakes, making it difficult to control the quality of care. Even more, long wait times for both getting an appointment and while waiting in the practice office can significantly impact the patient’s experience.
Having the right employee scheduling software can help alleviate this problem. Labor forecasting features in employee scheduling software can ensure your physicians and staff are correctly scheduled ensuring minimal wait times for patients. Leveraging an employee scheduling software with strong communications, tasking and performance management tools enhances training among new team members. They can quickly jot down a process in a note, and managers and other staff members can leave tips and procedures for them as well. Managers can also provide instant feedback to employees to promptly correct any issues. Overall, these communication tools make for well-trained, engaged staff, which translates into happy patients.
3. Manage Multiple Locations More Easily
When managing multiple practice locations, keeping track of which staff member works where, and when, can be a mighty challenge. Sure, many rely on other practice managers to handle the scheduling and other day-to-day operations, but at the end of the day, everything still has to come through the owner or head manager, especially for payroll. In addition, managers or owners have to keep track of the productivity at each site to ensure they are turning a profit.
With a universal, real-time employee scheduling software, medical practice managers can make sure all practice managers and the rest of the staff at every location are on the same page. With up-to-date data at management’s fingertips, decisions can be made that affect one medical practice location or several. Managers can quickly make the most optimized schedules to run a more profitable business, even pulling someone (with proper training and certifications) from another location to cover an open shift somewhere else — all with just a click. In this way, the practice as a whole runs smoothly and remains in sync across all locations.
4. Save 20 Hours a Month on Scheduling
Another top reason to use employee scheduling software is to reduce management’s time spent behind their laptops. For years, medical practice managers have used basic programs like Excel to create staff schedules on spreadsheets — wasting valuable time doing so. Think Excel is the easiest way to create schedules? Let’s take a look at the typical process of creating a schedule spreadsheet with that program:
Not exactly a simple process, right? After managers have made it through that scheduling nightmare, they must be prepared to waste more time building another spreadsheet in a week or two. With an employee scheduling software, owners and managers can avoid that headache and make schedules in just minutes.
5. Enhance Communication within the Team
Whether owners or managers operate one medical practice or ten, communication is often one of the biggest conflicts in the workplace. For example, with multiple site practices, communication breakdowns can quickly occur when staff members aren’t communicating their different responsibilities or tasks, leaving efficiency gaps or worse, negatively impacting the patient’s experience. Additionally, if someone calls in sick last minute, the manager is often left struggling to quickly get the shift covered with the right care provider. These are all unforeseen issues that practice owners can’t avoid, but they can significantly improve.
According to Forbes, two of the top five reasons employees are unhappy at work are directly related to a lack of communication. An efficient employee scheduling software with built-in communication features enables practice managers and staff to communicate updates and responsibilities directly and instantly with the team and make sure everyone is aligned on their responsibilities and schedules are quickly filled with the right employee (properly trained and certified) for the patient.
6. Increase in Productivity
As you know, employees often waste time at work. In fact, nearly 60% of all employees say they waste at least an hour a day while on the clock. The most common culprits are cell phone use, social media and untracked, frequent breaks. However, if a staff member isn’t sure what tasks need to be completed for the day or not well trained on how to conduct certain processes like medical billing and coding, productivity quickly declines, or worse, a costly error or non-compliance can occur.
With an effective employee scheduling software, these issues can easily be avoided. Medical staff show up to work, know exactly their protocols and checklists for the day when they clock in via tasking and can confirm the tasks were completed before they end their shift. What’s more, practice managers can leave notes that day about the performance of the employee or which tasks weren’t completed properly to quickly course correct.
7. Make Payroll More Accurate
It’s no mystery that payroll often takes hours and causes many headaches. In fact, nearly a quarter of all business owners spend at least six hours a month dealing with it. Additionally, there are many common errors healthcare managers and owners can make, such as listing employees as contractors, not reporting income correctly or forgetting to update employee schedules to accurately be reflected in the next paycheck. And here’s the kicker, according to a recent report finding in HR Dive, 49 percent of workers will start a new job search after experiencing only two problems with their paycheck.
With constant changes to shifts, ever-changing overtime regulations and many different tax reporting requirements, reporting payroll more accurately can be near impossible. However, having employee scheduling software that integrates fully with a medical practice’s existing payroll system can help eliminate these issues. This kind of integration takes the human aspect out of payroll reporting and instead uses a fully automated system to greatly reduce any errors that may otherwise have occurred.
8. Adjust Employee Schedules from Anywhere
When owners and managers are building schedules on a spreadsheet, they are glued to their desks. This wastes valuable time that could be spent with patients. With the right employee scheduling software, weekly schedules can be managed anywhere — straight from the manager’s smartphone, tablet or laptop. This offers greater flexibility for medical practice owners and managers who need to be out of the office, home with the kids or in transit to other practice locations.
For owners or managers on the go who receive a sick text from a staff member, they can simply log on to an app on a smartphone to find a replacement or give this power to the sick staff member to find a replacement (all based on settings to ensure the replacement has the proper training and certifications for the patient care needed). Even if they are in the office, getting the shift covered becomes much easier than sifting through an Excel spreadsheet and making calls to determine who is available, who has the right kind of training and who won’t go into overtime with the new shift changes.
9. Full View of Cash Flow
Time is money. It’s an old cliche, but it’s true. Building a schedule on a spreadsheet offers very little in the way of data analysis to determine how owners and managers can readjust medical staffing to save money. Employee scheduling software can enable acuity based staffing integrations that can provide greater insight into how many staff are needed during each day to improve patient outcomes.
With an employee scheduling software that integrates into existing systems, managers can view profits and how many employees are being paid, giving an instant, real-time view of the financial health of the business. With this data in hand, medical practice owners can determine which shifts should be cut and can quickly and easily make changes to the schedule. In all, the right kind of employee management software can increase profit margins by tracking the highs and lows of business.
10. Take Vacations with Confidence
For the medical practice owner, taking time off for vacation may seem like an impossible dream. In fact, half of all practice owners don’t take any vacation at all. This is because, as most business owners know, productivity — and thus profit — tends to go down when business owners and managers are away. Yet, not taking time away from work can have major negative effects on both mind and body. Vacation allows for the release of stress. When stress builds, it can cause sickness, insomnia, poor judgment and even increased substance abuse.
With the right employee scheduling software in place, medical practice owners and managers can have instant visibility of their business through their smartphone. This gives them peace of mind that, should any issues arise, they can be handled easily through through a smartphone app. They can enjoy time with the family, away from the stress of the workplace, allowing the entire family to disconnect and enjoy each other’s company.
Clearly, having employee scheduling software for medical practices can make the management and staff’s lives exponentially easier. Yet, choosing a complex software that requires intensive training can easily waste time between managers and employees. Finding the right employee scheduling software that’s intuitive and meets everyone’s needs is just as important as getting away from Excel spreadsheets.
Deputy has been lauded by healthcare leaders and clients alike for its ease of use and functionality. In fact, it was recently ranked as the best employee management software by GetApp, based on reviews, integrations, mobile availability, media presence and security. We have helped over 40,000 workforces, big and small.
Not sure if Deputy is right for you? No worries! Start a free, 30-day trial today to see if our employee scheduling software is right for your medical practice.