Saving people’s lives depends on timely responses to medical emergencies. That’s why minimizing risks and improving efficiency among emergency medical services (EMS) teams is paramount.
However, scheduling EMS teams is more complex than it sounds. Accomplishing this calls for an in-depth familiarity with your team members, their work processes, and the specifics of your local community. In addition, it calls for a sophisticated method of data gathering and analysis that can forecast future requirements and guide the planning process.
By adopting workforce management solutions, organizations can maximize their capacity for responding to emergencies on a wider scale. In this article, we’ll go through how to use workforce management to handle your EMS team effectively.
Proper Scheduling To Prevent Burnout
Research published in the Harvard Business Review suggests that workplace exhaustion and loneliness are on the rise. In fact, half of all workers in fields as diverse as medicine and the humanitarian sector feel burnt out from their work.
Burnout is a serious problem that no organization wants to face in the workplace. Although it may seem like a daunting task, minimizing employee stress can have a positive impact on the efficiency of your organization. One way to achieve this is with proper scheduling.
EMS workforce management involves more than just filling available shifts. Each member of the EMS team needs to be strategically placed in the schedule to provide adequate coverage without being overstaffed.
However, organizing and tracking schedules for employees can be a demanding and complicated task. It’s crucial to have access to up-to-date data to make well-informed decisions about matters such as overtime, paid time off, scheduling, and payroll.
Every EMS provider must deal with the constant stress and difficulty of scheduling due to the reality that call frequency and response times, as well as other variables, can fluctuate from day to day depending on things like weather, traffic, and unforeseen incidents like fires. Here are some other factors to think about:
- Employee availability and preferred shifts
- Assignment of shifts to employees based on the volume of work
- Providing adequate rest periods for workers
- Extra time worked in accordance with applicable wage and hour laws
Although there are many moving parts to scheduling, doing it effectively can positively impact your EMS team.
Utilizing Tools To Improve Accountability and Accuracy
As mentioned earlier, successful healthcare organizations rely heavily on efficient methods of scheduling their staff. That’s why it’s crucial for businesses to consider replacing time-consuming manual scheduling processes with cloud-based applications. Since manual scheduling systems are prone to human error, this can lead to missed shifts and negatively affect your organization’s productivity and bottom line.
Manual scheduling systems place an enormous burden on scheduling administrators in comparison to cloud-based scheduling solutions since they have to monitor the status of everyone’s availability every single week
Whenever callouts occur, most healthcare facilities have a dedicated staff member whose responsibility is to find somebody who will fill in. This person is in charge of contacting each possible replacement on a skills-based list. This is a huge time sink for the scheduling administrator and is also ineffective.
Additionally, manually arranging a schedule is a labor-intensive process that may or may not yield desirable results. There is a lot of pressure in the healthcare profession, and hard-copy timetables are more likely to have mistakes and misunderstandings.
As opposed to other fields of work, the healthcare industry places a premium on careful consideration and accurate execution. By adopting automated processes, a scheduling cloud drastically lessens the likelihood of errors and disruptions.
When managers use an VAIRKKO's Scheduling Cloud, they can arrange schedules that address projected budgets, workforce availability, and best practices. On the other hand, team members can check their schedules, make adjustments, and punch in/out through their mobile devices, thanks to this tool.
Knowing exactly when employees clock in and out is a huge help when it comes to time management, and an EMS scheduling cloud makes that a breeze. It can reveal which staff are chronically tardy, allowing you to request a formal explanation from them. Employee punch-in trends can be visualized in scheduling software, providing valuable insight for addressing possible problems.
Using cloud-based employee scheduling tools, you can also:
- Generate timesheets
- Log overtime hours
- Review data and adjust budgets accordingly
- Keep track of time off, vacations, and sick days
- Propose and accept shift changes
Together, these components form a comprehensive scheduling system that increases worker satisfaction and enthusiasm.
Monitoring Unnecessary Overtime Hours
Working overtime is typically expected of those employed in emergency services. However, as organizations attempt to minimize costs in the face of cutbacks and a general push to limit employee overtime, workforce optimization has emerged as a promising option.
If not managed, overtime can cost businesses thousands of dollars annually. It’s important to monitor and limit overtime spending to optimize profits and minimize inefficiency. However, it is extremely difficult for organizations that rely on manual systems to accurately track their employees’ overtime, sick days, and standard shift hours for every pay period.
In addition, errors made while managing schedules manually usually result in overtime. If one of your staff calls in sick, for instance, you’ll have to rush to find a replacement, which may result in overtime pay for those who step up at the last minute.
Expenses for overtime work can easily be monitored and controlled with the help of an EMS scheduling cloud. Accessing your team’s availability in real-time allows you to quickly determine who is available for extra or substitute shifts without interfering with the regular schedule.
EMS teams are already under intense pressure on a regular basis; issues with their work schedules should not add to that stress. However, regardless of the size of your response center, it’s likely that you’ll face significant difficulties while trying to manage your staff efficiently. Your staff expects flexible work hours even as you struggle to find the people you need to answer emergency calls, stay in compliance with the law, and follow established protocols.
With workforce management and the right tools, you can optimize scheduling to prevent burnout, improve accountability and accuracy, and keep track of overtime to minimize costs.