The Problem: Assigning Clinicians Is Inefficient

Getting the best clinician to see the right patient can be difficult. There is a matrix of details in determining who is the best fit for a patient. Yet in the analog world we rely so much on memory and experience, some pieces are overlooked. Logistical considerations like minimizing mileage between patients and reducing clinician overtime are sometimes not even considered in the scheduling processes of today’s home health agencies. When notifications are flying off the hook and you’re scrambling to find the right individual for a client with specific needs you may end up with a wrong fit.

Let’s paint a typical sequence for the scheduler. When a patient is discharged from a hospital or referred by their primary physician for Home Health services, the case is assigned to a Home Health Agency.  Cases are either faxed to the agency of choice or for some there is an online portal.  The case will then go through intake for verification and when accepted the scheduler then assigns a clinician.  The scheduler’s job is to find a dedicated and qualified clinician who meets all criteria: the right skill set, region, distance, language skills, gender, and more.  The scheduler then uses a variety of communication channels to prompt clinicians including serial texts to multiple clinicians, e-mails, and phone calls.  

In a perfect world, all cases are assigned without hitches. The reality is there are several scenarios which slow down the process of getting a case covered.

The Clinician:

  • Might be busy out in the field with a patient and unable to quickly respond.
  • They may not have the mental bandwidth and parry the request to cover a case
  • The clinician is fully booked, unwilling to accept another case.  

As resources are stretched, organizing multiple clinicians who service several regions can be frustrating and overwhelming for schedulers.  Because no protocol exists currently for scheduling, clinicians are dispatched all over town. When it is difficult to efficiently schedule a clinician, costs for overtime, mileage and client satisfaction adds up.

A manual process of scheduling causes many inefficiencies and eventually a financial crisis to Home Health Agencies during those slower periods.  Managing schedules at scale becomes impossible when tasks are carried out manually.  Finding the right balance of technology and employees is paramount for a positive patient experience.

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