Unexpected schedule gaps create havoc for healthcare administrators. Last minute physician callouts lead to scrambling locum tenens agencies, exorbitant premium fees, and care continuity headaches. But what if open shifts could get filled in minutes by your own internal roster? Enter open shift dispatching.
This innovative approach exposes unclaimed provider slots across your system to affiliated physicians for self-service claiming. It's like on-demand rideshare matching for clinical staffing needs. Through intelligent visibility and flexibility, organizations can align existing capacity to patient demand in real-time.
The benefits are transformative — reduced costs, care optimization, and workforce retention. Below we’ll explore how leading healthcare organizations just like you are using open shift dispatching with Kimedics to achieve rapid fill rates using internal roster providers. We'll share actionable strategies and real world examples of driving efficiency through self-service shift claiming.
Unexpected last minute schedule gaps create frustration for administrators and clinicians alike. The good news is that new approaches can turn open shifts from liabilities to assets. If that sounds good to you, keep reading to learn how to unlock the workforce capacity that is likely already at your fingertips!
What Is Open Shift Dispatching in Healthcare?
Before we go any further, you might be scratching your head slightly wondering what exactly open shift dispatching is. That’s understandable considering when you search the phrase in your favorite search engine you probably will either stumble upon software for sale or articles about law enforcement personnel attempting to fill open shifts.
Here’s how we define open shift dispatching, however: Open shift dispatching in physician staffing would be unassigned shifts in a schedule where a healthcare facility has a need for a doctor, but no physician scheduled yet. These open shifts would then be made visible to all physicians affiliated with that hospital or practice with the right specialty. Qualified physicians could claim open shifts through an app on their phone or computer when they have availability.
Once a doctor accepts an open shift, they would be allocated to the schedule. Powerful dispatching algorithms would enable optimizing shift assignments based on physician qualifications, hospital privileges, location proximity and other attributes.
Doctors with flexible schedules would appreciate getting first visibility into these unclaimed shifts to fill their availability. Facilities benefit from these shifts getting filled faster with qualified physicians.
Built-in location tracking would also allow administrators insight into when the incoming physician is expected to arrive on-site. Real-time dispatch facilitates on-demand matching of supply and demand for physician staffing.
Overall, open shift dispatching increases visibility, flexibility and efficient scheduling conversions to alleviate staffing gaps. The approach mirrors how on-demand delivery models work for other industries.
And, when you use Kimedics to manage your open shift dispatching, you don’t have to worry about things like:
- Privilege tracking and/or privileging waste
- Unfilled gaps in availability or premium fees to fill said gaps
- Expired licenses and other credentials
- Rate issues that often lead to payroll corrections, and so much more
5 Tips to Fill Schedule Gaps in Your Healthcare Organization
There are several approaches you can take to leverage your current physician and advanced practice provider supply to cover demand across your healthcare organization(s). Just five of them are:
- Enabling transparent open shift access for self-service claiming
- Motivating cross-functional/cross-facility shift coverage
- Tapping localized on-demand contractor talent
- Incorporating smart shift matching protocols
- Harnessing analytics to drive efficient coverage behaviors
Apply these field-tested shift gap strategies to unlock flexibility you likely did not realize existed in your own provider workforce. Prevent last minute scrambling while improving continuity in patient care. Now that you know the five best ways to fill schedule gaps, let’s break them down further so you can get started filling gaps in your own organization!
1. Enable Open Shift Dispatching with Provider Self-Service
Allow unfilled provider slots on facility practice schedules to be visible as open shifts across your entire roster of affiliated physicians and external locum partners. Qualified doctors from your roster can claim these open shifts directly from their phone when they have last minute availability.
Streamline shift self-staffing by allowing roster providers to configure their default locations, specialties, days of week, shift lengths and other preferences for shift claiming. Intelligent algorithms will automatically send notifications to ideal matches for open shifts based on doctor qualifications and privilege access. This facilitates faster and optimal fill rates.
Integrate automated check-in protocols tied to physician mobile devices upon shift arrival to validate accepted assignments. This creates efficiency for administrators while giving physicians independence in a self-service model.
2. Optimize Internal Roster Utilization First
Before resorting to expensive external agencies, closely analyze your existing internal physician and advanced practice provider roster at each practice location to identify hidden pockets of excess capacity. Establish appropriate compensation incentives to motivate internal providers to take on extra last minute shifts to cover unexpected scheduling gaps.
Categorize your roster into subgroups for care settings like hospital medicine vs clinic providers. Enable team member schedules to be visible to cross-functional peer groups to encourage shift coverage across departments. Marketing unfilled hospitalist shifts to primary care physicians with hospital privileges can uncover internal capacity.
Review physician shift trends over time by program and dig deeper into availability outliers. Use dashboard analytics for insight into peak booking periods versus flexibility gaps that could be tapped into for open shifts.
3. Curate a Local On-Demand Locums Talent Pool
Maintain ongoing relationships with a curated community of localized locum tenens partners pre-approved to fill last minute physician or advanced practice provider shifts across your practices.
Set up tiered pay rate packages for your top tier of locums partners to incentivize rapid response rates for claiming urgent open shifts. Enable customized shift preferences for individual locum partners to provide visibility for assignments aligned with their scope, availability windows and location proximity.
Streamline incoming transfer protocols and HR documentation for your top tier locums network. Automated compliance workflows will get reliable providers starting shifts faster. Quickly activate electronic scheduling requests instead of manual outreach when last minute needs arise.
4. Enable Intelligent Shift Matching
Incorporate automation into scheduling systems to increase efficiency around shift assignments to qualified physicians and providers. Configurable algorithms can assess open shifts against provider qualifications, existing patient panels, hospital privileges and other attributes to identify best matches with available capacity.
Powerful rules engine logic in automated platforms like Kimedics can pre-identify backup providers that align with specific locations, specialties and shift parameters so alternatives are ready when prime candidates are unavailable. Machine learning strengthens results over time for optimized physician-to-shift assignments.
Enable shift swapping capabilities between physicians to cover gaps by shift adjustments between internal roster providers. Alerts can notify other providers trying to claim an assigned shift that a swap opportunity exists for potential mutual flexibility.
5. Harness Scheduling Analytics for Optimization
Incorporate dashboards and reporting to reveal trends across schedules, providers, locations and specialties over time. Visualize peak gap periods by program and drill into specialty needs by facility.
Benchmark turnaround times to fill open shifts by provider type and proximity. Analyze causes of last minute cancellations. Enhance models forecasting patient volume and acuity to precisely align labor capacity needs in schedules.
Use analytics insights to adjust incentives structures driving provider behavior for open shift take rates. Refine recruiting pipelines based on undiscovered flexibility gaps. Quantify costs of gap coverage by internal team members vs. external agencies.
Filling unexpected schedule gaps need not be a manual, tedious chore. Today's scheduling tools like Kimedics can help healthcare organizations just like yours dispatch and align the right provider resources to deliver care. Streamlining this process is key to staffing success, and helping to alleviate burnout.
How Kimedics Helped a Medical Group Fill Schedule Gaps Through Our Open Shift Dispatching Capabilities
In a recent case study, we shared how a practice of 100 physicians was able to decrease their premium labor spend by 20% thanks to open shift dispatching. This particular group needed to schedule approximately 1,000 shifts a month, and didn’t have the time to manually fill schedule gaps. Thanks to Kimedics and its real-time roster data, this healthcare organization was able to share the shifts that were available with their internal teams first. Then, after that, any additional shifts that were available were broadcast to their third party locums partners. As a result, the team was able to fill all of their shifts while still saving more than $300,000 in premium labor spending costs annually!
That’s just one example of what Kimedics can do for HCOs. Another group was able to increase their shift scheduling capacity by 3X without adding any additional time to their scheduler’s workload. Being able to share open shifts directly with providers and agencies and allow them to claim those shifts in real time eliminated all the pesky back and forth of correspondence that tends to happen with traditional scheduling methods. Imagine being able to increase your scheduling capacity from 300 shifts per month to 900 shifts per month with no additional effort. Sounds almost too good to be true doesn’t it? But it is possible with Kimedics! Book a demo now to learn more about what we can do for you.