Frequently Asked Questions

Can I transfer my current information from different software to Lightning Bolt?

Yes—if you’re currently using a different scheduling software, we make your transition easy by simply importing a spreadsheet of your past schedules. We can import all personnel and assignments, and even the possibility of assignment patterns, eligibility, and compatibility. You will have all your historical data in Lightning Bolt for running reports.

How long has Lightning Bolt been in existence?

Lightning Bolt was founded in 2002 and has been providing physician scheduling services ever since. Our clients have been very happy with our offerings for over 20 years!

What is the key difference between Lightning Bolt and other products on the market?

There are several products that simply provide an electronic version of the same scheduling process that is often done by hand. Lightning Bolt’s system goes beyond manual scheduling to use AI and machine learning to automatically generate the best possible schedule for your healthcare teams. The power of combinatorial optimization helps healthcare leaders build schedules that reduce physician burnout, improve patient access, and flexibly respond to changes.

Can I get my schedule on my iPhone/iPad/Android mobile device?

Yes, if you have both subscriptions, applications and can run the main site on the mobile app though the mobile browser.

Can I get a paper schedule as well?

Yes, you can print out schedules from the system. You can even customize the view that’s printed based on your specific needs.

Can I import my schedule into Outlook?

Yes, using our subscriptions feature, you can easily get your latest schedule on Outlook and have it automatically reflect any changes made since the schedule was generated.

Can I access my schedule via Google Calendar?

Yes, using our subscriptions feature, you can easily get your latest schedule on Google Calendar and have it automatically reflect any changes made since the schedule was generated.

Can the system be used to schedule nurses, mid-level providers, technicians, or physician assistants (PAs)?

Yes, the system has been designed with the flexibility to schedule any staff.

Can the system also be used for patient or appointment scheduling?

No, the Lightning Bolt system only schedules providers and other members of the care team staff.

What technology does Lightning Bolt use to develop the system?

We use a variety of tools and development platforms to produce our software, including the latest Web 2.0 and open-source technologies. We always try to find the best tool for the job!

What security provisions does Lightning Bolt implement to protect client data?

Lightning Bolt takes user data security very seriously. We store our clients’ data on secure servers in data centers with 24/7 video surveillance cameras, biometric (palm scanning) access, and lockable cabinet access. As an added security measure, we also back up data across multiple geographical locations.

Can I get help if I have questions about the software?

Yes, each client is assigned an application consultant who is familiar with the group’s unique scheduling requirements and can help you with questions specific to your group. Please also see the FAQ on technical support hours below.

What are the technical support hours?

Lightning Bolt provides two types of support to our users:

  • Our dedicated Technical Consultants can analyze your requirements and help configure the scheduling rules to create the best schedule possible. Our Technical Consultants provide this service during our business hours from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Eastern Time (5:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Pacific Time) or by appointment.
Our staff size varies throughout the year. How does this impact pricing?

The licenses you purchase are per seat. For example, if a provider leaves and another joins as a replacement, there is no impact on pricing. However, if there is a net gain in the total number of individuals being scheduled, you would need to purchase additional licenses.

What is the cost of the system?

Your investment in the system is in the form of a monthly subscription fee, which is based on the number of individuals on the schedule, each counted as a license.The monthly fee for the first year is different from the monthly fee for subsequent years as it includes the cost of professional services, technical support, and training to provide you with the scheduling solution that you need. Please call our analysts at 1-866-202-4323 for a specific quote for your group.

Can the system be used to determine whether a desired schedule is possible with available staff?

Yes, Lightning Bolt has built-in functionality that can determine whether a schedule exists for the available staff with the requirements and rules that you specify. If it’s impossible to meet all specified rules, the system can generate schedules that meet most of the rules based on your rule ranking.

We have some tallies from past data. Is there a way to initialize the system with past data?

Yes, there are two ways to initialize the system with past information. One way is to load the actual past schedules into the system. There is no limit on how much past data you can load. The other (simpler) method is to load summaries in the form of tallies. The system can then use these summaries to produce new schedules based on historical data.

Our organization is growing rapidly. What if the rules change after the initial setup? Who will change the configuration to adapt to these changes?

We include unlimited professional services and technical support. We are happy to configure the system to produce your desired results. We are also happy to help you make changes to your scheduling rules to create the best schedule possible. We equip our end users with the knowledge necessary to make changes to the configuration, and many of our end users prefer to do this on their own.

Will Lightning Bolt set up the rules for scheduling or will I be able to set up my own rules?

We can be involved as much or as little as you need or want us to. Certainly, we are involved at the beginning to help you get started and provide you with training. To get started, an application consultant would take your requirements and configure the system to produce schedules. Once configured, some of our users would prefer for us to maintain the system. Others prefer to be more hands-on. Either way, unlimited professional services and technical support are provided.

Is there a limit on the number of providers or shifts that the system can schedule?

No, we schedule multidisciplinary clinics, hospitals, and health systems with thousands of providers. We have fully automated the scheduling process for groups with as many as 150 doctors in one large schedule. There is no technical limit on the number of tasks/assignments or the number of providers that can be scheduled in the system.

Our provider scheduling requirements are uniquely complex. Will this work for us?

We understand that scheduling rules and requirements are unique to each group. Since 2002, we have not run across two schedules that are exactly the same. To accommodate varying requirements, we’ve built a flexible system that can be configured and customized to your unique needs. For a free analysis of what the system can do for your group, please call us at 1-866-202-4323.

How do I get started?

Here are a couple of ways to get started:

  • To speak with one of our analysts, please call us at 1-866-202-4323.
  • Register for a free online demo.
What kind of efficiency can I expect to get using the system?

Efficiency gains vary depending on the complexity of the schedules. In general, our users see a 90% reduction in the time required to create and maintain schedules.

Does it work on a Mac or only on Windows? How about Linux?

Every function in the Lightning Bolt system is available on Mac, Windows, and Linux platforms.

Is this a Web-based application or something I install on my computer?

Lightning Bolt offers a Web-based application. There is nothing to install on your desktop, laptop, or any hand-held devices.

How do you improve patient care with schedules?

We use combinatorial optimization to produce the best schedule possible. Lightning Bolt accounts for shift types, hours worked, time off, contractual agreements, and personal preferences, among many other factors. This creates better schedules for your staff, which means higher satisfaction and less overutilization of a physician’s time, resulting in better patient care in the long run. When an accurate, up-to-date call schedule is visible to the entire care team, providers are no longer contacted when they’re not on call, and there is less frustration for nurses trying to contact the correct on-call physician. We aim to improve staff satisfaction and ultimately improve speed to care!

Do you integrate with other solutions?

Absolutely. We recommend integrating solutions to promote a more optimal workforce and achieve operational efficiency. Check out some of our integrations here.

Why should scheduling serve as the foundation for healthcare workforce management?

Optimized schedules should serve as the foundation of healthcare workforce management for many reasons. Mainly, without an optimized schedule, the holistic view of your operations – including resource allocation, time, room utilization, patient access, equipment usage, and more – is disjointed due to siloed schedules that do not interact. Starting your workflow with ab optimized schedule across your entire enterprise allows for transparent, cohesive data and analytics for better system-wide business decisions.

We’re a small practice with non-complex schedules. Why do I need Lightning Bolt?

You may not have complex schedules that require advanced technology to auto-generate optimal schedules. However, our smaller practices love having up-to-date schedules in the palm of their hand. When a provider needs time off, they can easily swap shifts with a colleague without the back-and-forth emails and calls with an administrator. Our mobile application is another added benefit! Instead of having a paper schedule or a spreadsheet, users have visibility of their schedule within the mobile app.

What are your top outcomes after implementing Lightning Bolt?

We hear a wide variety of positive outcomes post-implementation. The common three we hear are improved satisfaction, increased time savings, and improved patient access.

Do you have a mobile application?

Yes, and it is a game changer for our clients. Check out more features here.

Do you schedule more than physicians?

Our advanced technology has the ability to schedule physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, and supporting ancillary staff. We also have the ability to assign operating room (OR) cases to anesthesia staff and schedule examination rooms and operating rooms, among many other resources. This also includes other providers outside of the “typical” clinical space, such as veterinarians.

How is AnesthesiaGo different from Lightning Bolt?

Lightning Bolt auto-generates shifts scheduled for your staff, including what day and time they are working, on-call hours, vacation time, etc. AnesthesiaGo, while similar, takes your staff schedule and the daily OR case schedule and auto-generates assignments of your anesthesia team to the appropriate OR case that day. On average, this takes a total of 12 minutes. Learn more here.

Can I use AnesthesiaGo as a standalone product, or does it have to be integrated into Lightning Bolt?

Absolutely. AnesthesiaGo is built to be compatible with your current OR case scheduling solution and your current staff scheduling software. It does not require the use of Lightning Bolt, though they can be used together.

Can clerical personnel make changes to the OR schedule on the same day the schedule has been created for in AnesthesiaGo?

Yes, schedules can be adjusted and re-generated on the same day that is scheduled.