Staff scheduling can get messy sometimes: patients are distressed about the waiting time, healthcare workers are too stressed and busy to provide high-quality care, and everything turns into a barely manageable bundle of dissatisfaction. 94% of nurse managers believe that bad staffing negatively affects staff morale, and 70% think it affects the quality of care.
Schedule management for the entire healthcare organization gets overwhelming, but luckily, technology has come up with a solution to every problem. There are already advanced tools for healthcare staff scheduling that make the life of management, patients, and staff way easier. The medical scheduling software market is expected to reach USD 612.5 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 12.7% since 2018.
In this post, we will explore the benefits of creating healthcare staff scheduling software, end the war between ready solutions and custom ones, and discover how to develop a medical staff scheduling system.
What Problems Can Medical Staff Scheduling Software Solve?
The healthcare industry is not exceptionally welcoming when it comes to technology. For instance, 23% of nursing managers do not use any kind of technology for scheduling at all, and 19% of them use obsolete digital spreadsheets for the cause. However, medical staff scheduling software can solve so many problems, including:
Staffing Takes Way Too Much Time
10 hours are needed for a manager to plan up to 30 different kinds of shifts in Excel. The time is reduced to 4 hours when a more advanced scheduling tool is used. Thus, implementing hospital staff scheduling software can save medical workers up to 60% of their time.
Low Satisfaction Levels of Medical Workers and Patients
Basically, everyone will be angry at the manager who has created a weak schedule. Patients will have to wait plenty if there are not enough medical staff and will get even more irritated since they will not get all the attention that they need. According to a recent study involving 175,755 patients, a higher nurse staffing level decreases the risk of in-hospital mortality by 14%.
On the other hand, in case of an unsuccessful schedule, doctors and nurses will have to work extra hard, deal with annoyed patients, and get more stressed as they go.
If you have a schedule that fits everyone, you are less likely to run into these problems and gain new appreciation from staff and management. The software also analyzes historical data to predict busy days that will need more people on the shift, which will eliminate the understaffing problem. Building a medical staff scheduling system is the key to creating more successful schedules and boosting employee engagement by doing so.
High Costs of Bad Schedule
A bad schedule implies staff working overtime and unsatisfied medical workers leaving their positions. According to the 2019 National Healthcare Retention & RN Staffing Report, an average healthcare organization can lose between $4.4 million and $7 million annually due to the high turnover of Registered Nurses.
An insufficient number of employees on the shift will also negatively affect the hospital’s reputation among the patients, which would cause losses as well.
Good scheduling software can eliminate all these potential problems. In the long run, you will notice that the investment in the hospital management system was nothing compared to all the cut costs.
Should You Build or Buy a Scheduling System for Medical Staff?
There are many ready-made scheduling systems already with similar functionality. They seem to do the job, so why pay more for developing medical staff scheduling software from scratch?
It is a reasonable question. Let’s explore the benefits of both custom and off-the-shelf solutions to help you make the choice that is right for your business.
Pros and Cons of Custom Hospital Staff Scheduling System
Pro: Meets Your Business Needs Perfectly. If you make a hospital staff scheduling software, you can include all the unique features you want, avoid useless functionality, follow up your brand identity, and create a solution that actually fits most employees.
Pro: Easier Adoption. Every software has an adoption period where you try to educate the workers on the matter. If you build a custom medical staff scheduling system, you can create something similar in terms of navigation and design to other software solutions used by the clinic. The solution will already be more familiar and comfortable to work with. You can also ask staff directly what will make adoption easier and cater the solution to their needs and wishes.
Pro: Scalability. With a custom solution, you can do whatever you want: remove features, add new ones if there are new trends, improve storage space, add more employees, etc. With ready-made solutions, you must wait for new features and security updates or move to a new platform if the software can not handle that many people.
Pro: Integration. The scheduling software can easily become a part of your clinical software ecosystem or at least connect with other related tools. You will not have to download numerous apps and constantly switch between them.
Con: It Takes Time and Investment. The development process is longer than making a purchase of a ready-made solution. You will also have to pay developers and PMs. However, it is a smart investment that will definitely pay off later.
Pros and Cons of Ready-Made Solutions
Pros. Ready-made solutions have two main pros: they are less budget-demanding, and it is ready to use. They are a perfect choice for small clinics that can not afford a big project and need the software right now.
Cons. However, it will also take time to find and try a fitting solution, you will not be able to add the functionality as you go or choose features, and it usually supports only a limited number of third-party integrations. It is also notable that you can not line it up with your brand identity and easily scale up and down.
How to Create a Medical Staff Scheduling Software?
We hope you are motivated enough and can not wait to start creating medical staff scheduling software for hospitals. Unfortunately, it is not enough to decide to start. The creation process has some extra steps. So, we have created a step-by-step guide for developing medical staff scheduling software.
Step 1: Research
Research is an essential part of any development process: you will be able to create software that is actually helpful and up-to-date. By research, we mean three things: analyze existing solutions, define your business needs, and ask the medical staff and managers about their preferences. The insights collected would help us to define the functionality of your solution. Based on our experience creating medical staff scheduling software, we can tell that the following features are an absolute must:
- Employee management (track how many employees you have and their availability)
- Calendar view
- Automatic and manual scheduling
- Shift management (let employees view the schedule and changes in it, pick up shifts on their own, swap with other colleagues)
- Communication section (send notifications about changes in the schedule with one click, allow medical staff to send you requests for days off and sick days to store everything in one place)
- Attendance tracking
- Vacation and sick days tracking
- Predictive analysis (let the software analyze your historical data to predict what days require more staff due to big patient flow)
Step 2: Planning
Planning includes a detailed description of what the software will look like and what features it should have, a list of the tech stack, tasks, legal regulations to consider, responsible people, and a timeline with deadlines. You should also plan the budget.
Step 3: Development
At this stage, your main responsibility is to check whether everything goes according to plan and get involved when there are change requests. You can also let the project manager take over these tasks and focus on your other business needs.
Step 4: Testing and Maintenance
A tested IT product will not fail you when you finally adopt it and need it the most. It allows you to ensure that there are no bugs, and it can run on all devices.
Maintenance includes regular updates, security checks, and adding new features if you need any or the market comes up with something new and exciting.
Langate has worked with healthcare solutions and enterprise management for more than 17 years now. Our vertical-specific expertise allows us to predict what your healthcare institution will need, comply with security standards, and hop on the project as fast as possible. Our enterprise management experience taught us what problems with scheduling and staffing software could arise so we could tackle the issues in advance.
Overall, by knowing how to build a hospital staff scheduling software, we will be able to identify your business needs, suggest the best architecture and design decisions, and start the project in no time.
Developing a custom and secure scheduling platform requires time and investment. Still, the benefits are beyond expectations: you can boost satisfaction levels among managers, employees, and patients, reduce costs and focus on other important parts of healthcare rather than dealing with perpetual changes and spreadsheets.
If you need an experienced team to help you throughout all the steps of the development process, do not hesitate to reach out to Langate! Our wide database will allow us to quickly find you all the experts you need, including developers, designers, testers, project managers, business analysts, etc., so we can start working on your project in no time.