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HM14 Special Report: How to Determine the Best Hospitalist Scheduling Model

Presenters: Todd Kislak, MBA, Brian Hazen, MD, Troy Ahlstrom, MD

Summation: Two hospitalist group directors shared their scheduling tools and philosophies regarding optimal scheduling options. Dr. Hazen does the scheduling himself and Dr. Ahlstrom uses a web-based scheduling program. They both acknowledged that provider retention and satisfaction are tightly wrapped up in how you schedule providers. They recommend that groups accommodate individual preference but also be fair and equitable to the entire group.

Key Takeaways

Dr. Hazen recommended:

  • Find good providers first and then try to determine their desires and fit that into the schedule as best as possible.
  • Protect your nocturnists- they burn out easily and provide a key service to the hospital and your group.
  • Find each person’s strengths and try to cater to those to make them most successful.
  • Design a weighting (or point system) for various shifts and ensure equality by using that system.
  • The last day on service is a day focused on “discharges” and other patients begin with a new provider coming on service (ensures continuity and lowers LOS).

Dr. Ahlstrom recommended:

  • Block schedules are hard to make flexible and do not always fit with the flux of patient loads and urgent needs of the group.
  • Designing and managing the schedule is a costly endeavor and they shifted this from a physician duty to an administrator’s duty. They used the Lightning Bolt solution and have enjoyed significant savings and profit.
  • The ROI is made up of increased encounters, increased provider retention, and decreased locums usage.

Greg Harlan is a pediatric hospitalist, medical director for IPC The Hospitalist Company, and a member of Team Hospitalist.

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