OB-GYN physicians have the third-most complex schedules to manage in all of medicine–tied with anesthesiology and right behind hospital and emergency medicine. In spite of this complexity, many groups and departments today complete OB-GYN physician scheduling manually or with basic scheduling software. The result is often a time-consuming, inefficient process that drains schedulers and physicians, leaves gaps in patient care, and holds back organizational revenue.
Let’s examine what makes OB-GYN scheduling so challenging and explore new ways to cut through the complexity.
Challenges in OB-GYN physician scheduling
Why is OB-GYN scheduling so complicated? It all comes down to multiple variables and specific goals. Here are just a few of the goals and fluctuating components administrators have to keep in mind when scheduling OB-GYN providers:
1. Achieve balance between the expected and the unpredictable.
OB-GYN physicians must be available for unpredictable deliveries, predetermined clinical work, surgeries, and administrative duties. Schedulers are tasked with coordinating all of these variables and adjusting the schedule when changes occur.
2. Ensure adequate patient coverage.
For OB-GYN physicians and their patients, care continuity is a big deal. In addition to ensuring a patient is healthy over the course of pregnancies, diagnoses, or general well care, continuity builds invaluable trust between doctor and patient.
3. Keep burnout at bay.
With recent studies revealing that almost 44% of physicians are burned out today, it’s critical that healthcare leaders provide doctors with at least some semblance of work-life balance. Too many long hours contribute to dangerous physician fatigue and rack up exorbitant retention and recruitment costs.
4. Manage multiple locations and subspecialties.
From the clinic to the hospital, OB-GYN physicians must be on the go throughout the week and, therefore, scheduled accordingly. Different subspecialists may be necessary to perform a variety of procedures, so schedulers must always ensure adequate staffing to protect patient safety.
The benefits of optimized scheduling for OB-GYN groups
Optimized physician scheduling software has proven successful for many OB-GYN departments and groups when it comes to addressing the challenges described above.
Optimized scheduling is ideal for organizations with notoriously complex scheduling requirements and that need to maximize available resources.
Here’s how it works: AI-powered technology takes criteria you set on the back end—like physician shift preferences, fair on-call time management, care continuity, and subspecialist scheduling—and considers millions of possible variations to automatically deliver the best possible schedule option.
Examples of the countless types of rules you could set:
- Space call assignments to prevent back-to-back overnight and weekend calls in labor and delivery.
- Equalize OR shifts among all surgeons.
- Require a minimum of 1 surgeon on call every day in labor and delivery.
With the kind of power AI-optimized scheduling provides, you can:
1. Optimally utilize all physician resources.
Intelligent automation identifies and rectifies scheduling inefficiencies that could be detrimental to patient care, physician well-being, and revenue.
2. Maintain continuity of care.
Optimized schedules ensure more streamlined handoffs and efficient patient care. Set rules that mandate how many subspecialists must be available on any given shift to protect patient safety.
3. Provide physician work-life balance.
Build in contingencies to distribute call shifts equally and adjust for physician preference. Plus, give physicians flexibility and work-life balance to prevent costly dangerous burnout.
4. Get the information you need at a glance.
Provide access to a real-time centralized on-call schedule to simplify management of multiple specialists and locations.
OB-GYN scheduling at the largest maternity center in Canada
As the largest maternity center in Canada, Provincial Health Services Authority has complex scheduling needs when it comes to their obstetrics and gynecology department. After researching available options, they selected Lightning Bolt’s AI-optimized scheduling software, with fantastic results.
“Lightning Bolt enabled us to coordinate our numerous variables within an academic physician model into a condensed schedule,” said administrator Maureen Conlon. “The technical support has been exceptional in responding and customizing our requirements. In addition, the reporting capacity of the software is the best vehicle to monitor resource allocation. Once you surpass the documentation and fine-tuning of your scheduling rules, you reap the benefits of an automated system.”
Taking it home with you
The possibilities when it comes to shift scheduling for OB-GYNs are endless—literally, because there are more possible shift schedules in medicine than there are atoms in the universe.
But with optimized scheduling, you have the opportunity to choose the best one, every time.
Ready to learn more about Lightning Bolt’s optimized scheduling solution for OB-GYN groups and departments? Download and share this quick guide today.