As a society, we are inundated with messages that ultimately tell us one thing—faster is better. Faster service. Faster food. Faster results. We’ve come to expect by default the immediacy of now.

For healthcare organizations seeking an automated physician scheduling solution, it’s easy to assume that schedule auto-generation in a matter of seconds is superior to auto-generation that can take minutes-to-hours. But the default expectation of the immediacy of now is something to reconsider when it comes to automated physician scheduling because faster isn’t always better. Here’s why:

Scheduling data is complex.

Automated physician scheduling solutions deal with a very large amount of complex data to generate an end schedule. Consider this: the number of possible scheduling solutions for a month-long schedule for two providers and two assignments is 1.2×1081, which is greater than the number of atoms in the universe. Add in more providers, assignments, departments, specialties, and locations and increase the scheduling timeframe, and the number of possible solutions grows even more complex. It’s difficult to imagine a software capable of auto-generating an optimal schedule by organizing all of the atoms in the universe in just a matter of seconds.

The “measure twice, cut once” approach guarantees better results.

The time-tested adage “measure twice, cut once” is a saying most often associated with carpentry. Take, for example, someone building a tree house who double-checks his blueprint to ensure that he is making the correct cut on the correct piece of wood. The same “measure twice” principle exhibited here can be applied to physician scheduling as well. An automated physician scheduling software that “measures twice” considers at one time all of the moving parts involved in a schedule and uses this big picture perspective to optimally map resources. The alternative is a physician scheduling software that “measures once,” utilizing a one-step-at-a-time approach to schedule the most readily available provider without considering the potential domino effect of consequences on the end schedule, such as unassigned shifts or unbalanced workloads. It’s similar to the person building a tree house who immediately starts making cuts without consulting the blueprint or assessing the available resources. Measuring twice takes twice the time on the outset, but the guarantee for an optimal end result is much greater.

Time is money.

An automated physician scheduling solution that generates a schedule in a matter of seconds or minutes requires very little of a scheduler’s time in auto-generation, but suboptimal results require hours or days of a scheduler’s time to remedy the schedule. This time spent is a less than ideal use of costly resources, especially considering the goal of a physician scheduling software vendor should be to save time for the scheduler, not the software server. An automated physician scheduling solution with optimal results maximizes an administrator’s time to devote to tasks and responsibilities outside of physician scheduling. And although optimal results can require minutes to hours, that is time a server is scheduling, not an administrator, and with optimal results, a scheduling administrator spends only minimal time approving the end schedule before publishing.

When the immediacy of now is beneficial to automated physician scheduling…

Because physician schedules reflect real life, changes to an end schedule after auto-generation are inevitable. When the need for schedule changes arises, the immediacy of now is extremely beneficial in the ability to quickly make any necessary changes. An optimal physician scheduling solution, such as Lightning Bolt, utilizes the latest technology to provide an ergonomic tool that allows administrators to quickly make changes that are reflected immediately on the schedule, resulting in no stale scheduling data.

–Rachel Worsham