The healthcare or medical industry has become the epicenter of attention over the last year. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought intense pressure on healthcare workers all over the world with millions needing to be hospitalized. We owe our thanks to these modern-day heroes.
But healthcare workers are only human, after all. According to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet, about 33 percent of critical care nurses and about 45 percent of critical care physicians experience severe burnout syndrome – and this is just under normal working circumstances. Imagine the stress and burnout these healthcare workers feel with the tremendous strain imposed by the unprecedented influx of patients caused by the COVID virus.
The immense responsibilities of healthcare workers highlight the need for ways to improve their ability to work and also to enhance the whole system that supports the healthcare industry. In this regard, the need for proper scheduling among the different healthcare functions will have a significant impact on the whole healthcare infrastructure.
The need for effective scheduling is crucial for the healthcare sector. It eliminates many inefficiencies within the system and also streamlines the whole process of healthcare management. It promotes organization in teams and departments. It also ensures that regular department operations, which can sometimes get complicated with this industry, run smoothly. This is the reason why scheduling software for healthcare staff is essential.
The Issue Of Time Theft
Time theft is a term used for when employees get to receive pay for hours where they were not actually working. It is surprising to know that the healthcare sector is one of the three sectors where time theft is most prevalent. A recent study on theft statistics showed that over 80 percent of time theft that occurred within the healthcare sector happened because the culprits wanted to get a financial benefit from this act.
The fact of the matter is that employers are bound to lose 4.5 hours every week for every employee because of time theft. Time is an important, even an essential, factor in the healthcare and medical sector so this kind of theft is not only going to affect productivity but could also negatively affect people’s health and welfare.
One of the most common forms of time theft is what is called buddy punching. This is where an employee would punch in the time card of another employee, either because the said employee is going to be late or actually has no plans of reporting for work. This is the kind of behavior that can be eliminated if an organization will use effective time scheduling and time tracking – most especially with scheduling software.
Other forms of time theft that are commonly committed by employees include taking extended breaks, going on unauthorized overtime, starting late at work, finishing early at work, and doing personal errands or activities while punched in at work.
The Benefits Of Scheduling Software
Regardless of where you work within the healthcare sector, effective time tracking and scheduling will benefit both the organization and the employee. Being able to effectively schedule and track time has inherent benefits for the healthcare sector. Among them are the following:
Reduced Human Error
There is a level of accuracy and attention to detail that is required within the healthcare and medical sector. By implementing accurate and effective healthcare staff scheduling, errors are significantly reduced. Administrators and even the employees themselves can reduce the errors in scheduling shifts and this also addressed potential errors in timesheets. With good healthcare staff scheduling software, the organization can even monitor the level of fatigue of their staff by being able to look at their workload and shifts over a period of time. By being able to check on their employees’ health, human errors caused by stress and tiredness can be reduced, if not totally eliminated.
Scheduling software can also allow the organization to check on the staffing levels to ensure that the ratio between staff and patients is always ideal. For example, California passed a law that mandated a nurse-to-patient ratio of five patients for every nurse in medical-surgical units. Other states in the US and in other countries, on the other hand, have policies in place that allow for medical organizations to provide a general plan to manage the nurse-to-patient ratio. Managing these ratios can be tricky. Scheduling software can be a helpful tool in keeping these ratios to follow regulations and also to ensure that employees are not overwhelmed.
One of the characteristics of working in the healthcare industry is having long work hours and extended work shifts. Because of this, it is important to have a highly effective employee tracking system that will enable administrators and staff to schedule their work schedules accurately. Effective scheduling also means being able to swap shifts on the fly with zero errors. Other benefits of streamlined scheduling through the use of scheduling software include being able to clock in various authorized locations through the use of a time clock app and also being able to accurately track personal time off.
An additional benefit of effective scheduling is that it enhances the ability of managers to view the time cards of the healthcare employees and make edits where necessary.
Software to manage and implement healthcare staff scheduling also gives organizations a way to save not just on hours but also on cost. Scheduling software automates many of the tedious processes that would usually take time and manpower to implement and maintain. For example, wage tracking, monitoring of leave credits, timesheet management, and even payroll management, can take a lot of time and effort. The best scheduling software can also provide these features regardless of the size of the organization.
Effective time management and staff scheduling are crucial for the healthcare sector to maintain a consistently high level of service but also ensuring that employee welfare is ensured. Scheduling software can help in providing a good solution for many organizations that grapple with the challenge of time tracking and schedule management.