Debunking Common Hospital Scheduling Myths

Canada has a pretty strong healthcare system, which is often viewed as a point of pride for the country. However, it too has its fair share of challenges and hurdles, a lot of which have to do with managing hospital scheduling. 

Let’s take a look at a few myths about hospital scheduling in Canada and how they’re creating more hindrances for the healthcare industry. 

Manual Scheduling Can Be Used In Hospitals 

Many hospitals and healthcare organizations still use a manual scheduling system, believing it to be an effective and efficient way to track on-call schedules. However, this is hardly ever the case as most healthcare facilities have a large staff. 

Manual scheduling may work for private practices where the number of employees ranges from 2–5 individuals, but for larger or growing organizations, it simply won’t do. On the contrary, it can actually be quite stress-inducing and inefficient, resulting in a loss of productivity. 

Manual scheduling isn’t scalable. This means that the method isn’t equipped to handle an increasing amount of data and has more room for errors. If you adhere to manual scheduling practices in larger healthcare facilities, you’re putting yourself in a position that not only adds your work across multiple levels but also increases your chances of making mistakes. 

You’ll have to process several employee requests and applications, schedule work hours and shifts, and do multiple calculations. This will result in confusion, wasted time, and inefficiency, along with the possibility of errors. 

Time-Off Requests Can Be Addressed Via Email

 

In an ideal situation, this might work. In a hospital setting, however, emails aren’t the best way to handle leaves and days-off.

Think of the number of emails you send or receive on a regular basis. Businesses rely on professional emails to communicate with clients. Due to the continuous back and forth involved in emailing, it’s likely that your employee’s message will get lost in the sea of other more important emails you need to tend to urgently. You may read their request and even save it for later scheduling, but it may slip your mind when you come across another email from your pharmaceutical partners or a board member. In such a scenario, it’s likely that your employees’ leave applications go unaddressed for days till they remind you once again and you finally have to schedule it manually.

In a vast hospital network, employee emails related to days off or other similar scheduling concerns are more likely to be neglected. Relying on email for these types of requests is going to be rather ineffective for you and your employees.

Absence Management Systems Are Too Much of a Hassle

Quite the opposite, actually. Not only are they easy to set up, but they also serve as a more efficient and effective way to manage staff scheduling at hospitals. 

Unlike paper schedules that aren’t always accessible to everyone, this isn’t the case with absence management systems. Employees can keep track of their schedules, leaves, and work hours on their own without having to pester their supervisors and vice versa. This boosts both efficiency and workflow productivity. 

Andgo offers smart absence management systems to healthcare organizations and hospitals to help them efficiently fill shifts as required. The hospital management software has several different features that help organizations streamline scheduling processes and boost workplace productivity.

Reach out for more details on remote healthcare management

Understanding Employee Shift Management vs. Employee Request Management

Like it is for other organizations, the biggest assets to hospitals and healthcare practices are their employees. If your employees are dissatisfied with your management procedures and methods, however, your productivity and profits will suffer. 

Our employee management software helps prevent this. Read ahead to know how we incorporate shift management and request management features to ensure employee satisfaction and work productivity.  

Employee Shift Management

Managing employee shifts is an important part of an organization’s operations. Since many healthcare organizations have their staff working in different shifts that can vary in timings and hours, maintaining a typical 9–5 schedule isn’t a feasible option. Given the vastness of a hospital network and the fluctuation of available shifts, it’s imperative to have a proper employee shift management system in use to ensure efficient and productive business operations. 

Our employee shift management feature allows healthcare organizations to manage the process of allocating shifts to employees, making it easier for both parties. It’s also extremely useful for managing shift rotations and improving work efficiency as well as productivity. Users can use the following two features within the shift management software to further streamline the process:

Smart Call

The Smart Call feature facilitates automated communication and helps in the urgent allocation of available shifts to employees who’re eligible. The employee in question would receive a text message, a phone call, or an email containing the shift details, and they can respond accordingly. Smart Call helps the hospital’s scheduling staff select the most suitable employee for the available shift, taking into account their existing schedules.

Employee Self Service Shift Bidding

We also help with hospital shift bidding management. Vacant shifts can be announced well in advance, making it easy to fill these up timely.  The feature is an extension of the Smart Call module and helps in optimizing the process of filling in immediate as well as future shifts. Employees can fill out the applications for these shifts as soon as they’re made available, making it easy for them to track their future shifts. 

Employee Request Management

Employee request management is similar to shift management, with the difference being that instead of applying for available shifts, it helps employees apply for days off. Paid leaves are an important part of ensuring employee wellness. Individuals may take days off for personal errands, sickness or medical issues, or simply because they need a break. 

However, it can be quite taxing to fill out or approve leave schedules manually, and can result in confusion and overlap. This may prevent employees from taking the time off they need. Our software provides the following features to improve employee request management:

Vacation Bidding

Vacation Bidding helps facilitate the process of employees applying for days off, vacations, or other payout requests made online. It enables them to track their request status while also giving an insight into the chances of their requests being approved.

Quick Dial

Quick Dial helps in automatically receiving, redirecting, and prioritizing incoming phone calls. These are filtered through different categories on the dashboard, from where the department managers can then access them and prioritize them accordingly.

Andgo offers hospital management software to healthcare facilities with advanced features to help them streamline their scheduling processes.  Reach out to us for more details on remote healthcare management!

3 Must-Haves In An Employee Absence Management System

Employees are the backbone of any workplace, but managing a large workforce comes with its own challenges. 

Traditional attendance management systems relied on paperwork, countless spreadsheets, and manual timesheets. However, these tools can’t keep up with the ever-changing demands of the workplace today. 

Urged by this need for efficiency and optimization, employee absence management software has become a necessity to keep pace with the growing needs. 

These demands become doubly challenging when you’re working in the healthcare industry. The people-centric industry relies on its professionals to ensure the quality of service and 24/7 patient support is maintained. Thus, curbing overtime costs and high absence rates is essential for hospitals and the healthcare industry.

Employee absence management systems offer flexibility, ease of use, and cost-effectiveness. The right capabilities in your system will allow you to manage the most vital aspect of your organization: the employees. 

These are some of the essential features a hospital absence management system should have:

Mobile support

Cloud-based systems are increasingly becoming the norm, enabling access to vital systems from virtually anywhere. Owing to the ever-changing nature of healthcare workers’ schedules, providing a mobile-accessible system enables them to review and change their shifts throughout the day.

Not only does this simplify the process of managing the operations for the human resources department and managers, the remote capability also boosts employee productivity. Mobile compatibility isn’t just an additional feature to include, it’s imperative for smoothly-functioning absence management. 

Self-service option

Do your employees have to go through a tedious process to apply for leaves? Is it a hassle to find out their leave balance at the end of the month? Empowering employees is a necessity in any workplace, but it’s especially important in the healthcare industry. 

The self-service absence management system enables employees to apply for leaves, fill in available shifts, bid on vacant shifts months in advance, and put in vacation requests. Coupled with the convenience of a single solution to address various concerns, empowering employees with self-service leads to greater morale and productivity.

Integration with existing systems 

The best employee management systems are those that seamlessly integrate with your existing software. An efficient absence management system will enable communication of shifts to employees via various communication channels, such as phone calls, automated emails, or text messages. 

A well-organized dashboard will allow managers and HR professionals to have a clear and direct line of communication with the workforce. By automatically receiving and routing incoming calls, the absence management system will help you optimize the process of filling shifts and managing absences. 

Andgo offers all the features you need and so much more. Our Smart Absence Management Software allows hospitals and healthcare providers to manage absenteeism, fill shifts with the right people, and optimize productivity. 

Contact us to get a demo of our hospital Absence Management System.

Feature update: Annual Vacation Enhancements

Andgo is excited to announce the release of some exciting new enhancements to our Annual Vacation module. These enhancements will fine-tune functionality and provide enhanced overall usability and navigability. 

New Admin Tools

A key portion of the enhancements we tackled this year focused on providing organizations more autonomy before and during their annual vacation windows. We created new tools that give them new ability to set up vacation process rounds themselves and to create new vacation groups at any point during the vacation booking window.

vacation round blueprints

  • The new Vacation Round BluePrints tool allows customers to create and define their own vacation rounds within the application, rather than the Andgo support team modifying these settings behind the scenes

build vacation group

  • The new Vacation Group Builder tool allows administrators to add additional vacation groups at any point during the vacation booking window, ensuring that new units or those few that were forgotten at the start can still use the Annual Vacation feature.

 

Time Savers

We’ve added a number of new features that save you time by automating historically manual processes. We can now automatically create groups with multiple eligibilities and custom default quotas using a single file upload rather than customers manually merging and setting default quotas for every group. We’ve also improved the approval workflow by automatically processing and closing out rounds for groups with no eligible participants.

 

Streamlined Navigation

After several of our customers went through their 2020 Annual Vacation processes using Andgo’s system, we heard some feedback that some steps required a few too many clicks. We’ve added some new navigational aids that get you where you need to go as quickly as possible, adding extensive hyperlinking and a new consolidated menu for Site Administrators so everything they need is in one place.

  • Additional hyperlinking ensures you only need to use one search form to find what you need quickly.

  • The new consolidated menu in the main navigation bar provides Site Administrators quick access to everything Annual Vacation-related from one place.

 

Increased Auditability

To help our customers troubleshoot and respond to inquiries quicker, we’ve added some additional features that make it easier to audit decisions made through the Annual Vacation module. These include a new historical quota view and the inclusion of approvers on the Annual Vacation Participant search.

  • The new tabbed quota interface lets you check the quota from any round, helping you track changes.

  • Surfacing the approver on the participant search results gives you more info without having to drill down into the details of each request.

 

Check out more features here.


More about Andgo

Andgo Smart Absence Management was developed specifically for complex scheduling environments. By working with Andgo, you get the benefits of working with a knowledgeable and experienced team familiar with complex scheduling processes, procedures, and requirements.

Andgo’s Smart Absence Management system has created immense value for each of our clients through the automation of complex scheduling workflows. At Andgo we understand no two organizations are the same. With this in mind, we have designed our system to accommodate the unique requirements and use cases of your organization.

Follow us on Twitter for updates.

Meet the Team – Cam McHugh

Cam is a Senior Software Developer with Andgo and spends the majority of his time writing code. However, he also enjoys the opportunity to participate in frequent software design meetings, architectural planning, and helping out with operational issues. He’s been heavily involved in developing our integration with Kronos Workforce Dimensions, an industry-leading suite of HCM tools. This integration opens new doors for Andgo, allowing organizations on Workforce Dimensions to leverage our SmartCall, Broadcast, and QuickDial IVR solutions with minimal setup and configuration.

“It’s exciting to be a part of something that creates a significant opportunity for growth at Andgo.”

Cam was born and raised in Saskatchewan. He grew up in North Battleford, moved to Saskatoon for education, and remained here throughout his career. The thriving tech community, 5-minute commutes, and a slower pace of life are what he likes most about Saskatoon. He enjoys making the most of Saskatchewan summers, and yes, the winters too. In his spare time, you’ll often find him out on the water fishing, even when it’s covered in 3 feet of ice. Some of his other hobbies include kayaking, hiking, skiing, and adventuring with his family. 

cam family fun  Cam skiing

Cam joined the Andgo Team in February 2019. He was drawn to the idea of working for a small, but motivated and growth-minded Saskatchewan tech company. He also appreciated that our product significantly increases efficiency in managing health care scheduling, and ensures that the right people are always on hand to help those in need.

As with the majority of our team, one of Cam’s favourite things about working at Andgo is the people.

“We’ve done a great job of recruiting and hiring highly intelligent, motivated, and humble people. We care deeply about doing excellent work while remaining considerate and empathetic to each other.”

With a light-hearted, fun-loving culture, Andgo provides plenty of memorable moments, but one of his favourites was our rebrand launch party.

“Our party to celebrate the official launch of our Andgo rebranding stands out, as it represented a key moment in the trajectory of our company. The launch provided an opportunity to both reflect on the history of the company and its roots, and establish our vision for the growth and future of Andgo. Oh, did I mention there was also local craft beer on tap and an oyster bar?”

When thinking of past accomplishments, joining the team at Angdo is something Cam considers an accomplishment in its own right. Since joining, he’s assisted in solving performance issues that have allowed us to continue scaling our product, assisted with our migration onto the Google Cloud Platform, and has played a large role in our Workforce Dimensions integration. 

Cam in sand  Cam Peru Cam family

On a more personal note, a few of his favourite experiences include hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, visiting the Galapagos islands, completing a half-ironman triathlon, and the birth of his two children. 

Cam has cycled through a lot of interests and hobbies over the years, moving on after he feels like he’s done what he set out to do. So, it’s no wonder to hear that his core passion is learning and discovery. He’s truly up for anything that brings new experience or knowledge. And with two school-aged children, his passion has grown to helping them to discover the world and all it has to offer. 

Cam and son

Cam values the people and the work being done at Andgo and looks forward to many more years with the team.

What is IVR?

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an automated phone system. It can be customized to meet individual organizational needs. It is a technology that helps guide employees through an interactive menu to ensure they are reaching the department they need. The messages are pre-recorded and prompt employees to use their touch-tone keypad or speak up so that voice recognition can navigate them through a custom system. This ensures all of the employee’s information gets where it needs to go.

IVR is often used for calling in sick in the workplace. The easy to navigate system allows employees to submit their absence and rest assured that the information is getting to the right department. Another common use for IVR is in shift replacement. Employees can call into the system to find out what shifts are available and place bids immediately.

In organizations without IVR systems, an employee may call in and leave a voicemail on a manager’s line. What if the manager is away on vacation or out sick as well? How does the employee know their message is being heard and if required, their shift being filled? An IVR system removes uncertainty. The system exists to ensure information is passed to where it needs to be. It provides employees and employers with peace of mind. IVR intelligently routes incoming employee calls, ensuring their message gets to the right person or department. 

 

Quick Dial          quick dial

Quick Dial is an IVR system that directs incoming employee calls. It alleviates pain points in a scheduling department by automating and sorting incoming shift-related calls. Through Quick Dial, incoming calls are captured, organized, and filtered through configurable categories on a dashboard where department Managers and Scheduling Staff prioritize and process them.  Each call and corresponding action is logged and can be reviewed in a searchable audit trail. Quick Dial optimizes the way scheduling departments receive, direct and process incoming phone calls.

Andgo’s Quick Dial IVR system is also able to capture basic information about the caller. This allows for important information required by managers and schedulers to be collected. The system is completely customizable and easy to set up. It manages the filtering of incoming queries and frees up time for managers and schedulers, allowing them to focus on meaningful work.

Quick Dial can be expanded to other areas of operations where a large volume of incoming phone calls are received. Each call is automatically supplemented with additional information such as employee name, number, home department, and time of the call.  This eliminates transcription errors and data replication.  

Quick Dial processing follows the same workflows as the Smart Call and Automated Shift Bidding modules.  Incoming call categories, menu options, and voice messaging can be configured to unique organizational requirements. Also, Employees have the option to connect directly with Scheduling Staff.

 


Are you looking for a way to quickly and efficiently route incoming calls from staff regarding shifts and scheduling queries? Contact us to see how Andgo can help you save time, increase transparency, and improve staff morale with our smart absence management software.

Andgo is excited to participate in the CTA bicoastal program

Andgo is proud and excited to participate in an amazing global initiative. The Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) bi-coastal program is dedicated to the development of high-potential digital health companies. The program has also partnered with industry-leading organizations at the forefront of digital health innovation. Read the full press release here.

Our team is thrilled to be a part of this program and can’t wait to see where it leads. We’re honored to participate as one of 11 digital health companies in this exciting accelerator. We couldn’t have asked for better company:

  • 360Medlink: Clinically-validated patient treatment companion tailored by therapy, language, and cultural preferences.
  • Careteam Technologies: Virtual care collaboration and communication platform that health organizations deploy to support all the needs of patients in one digital location
  • Conquer Experience: Digital simulation platform for surgical training and assessment.
  • HyIvy Health: Intelligent and holistic pelvic rehabilitation device for women.
  • IRegained: Neuro-rehabilitation for stroke patients looking to regain hand function.
  • InVivo AI: Novel algorithms designed specifically for use in drug discovery.
  • ManagingLife: A digital health solution lowering the human and financial cost of chronic pain.
  • OPTT: Clinical trial validated telepsychiatry solution powered by proprietary machine learning algorithms.
  • VoxNeuro: Breakthrough brain assessment measures neuro markers to reliably inform brain health management.
  • Zilia: Quantifying biomarkers in the eye for better clinical outcomes.

We’re looking forward to this journey and can’t wait to share more information throughout.


More about Andgo

Andgo Smart Absence Management was developed specifically for complex scheduling environments. By working with Andgo, you get the benefits of working with a knowledgeable and experienced team familiar with complex scheduling processes, procedures, and requirements.

Andgo’s Smart Absence Management system has created immense value for each of our clients through the automation of complex scheduling workflows. At Andgo we understand no two organizations are the same. With this in mind, we have designed our system to accommodate the unique requirements and use cases of your organization.

Contact us to see how Andgo can help you!

Andgo’s Annual Vacation Improves the Employee Experience

Gone are the days of the endless paperwork associated with annual vacation. Not only have we found a way to alleviate the back and forth headache and hours spent shuffling requests for vacation, we’re keeping it green as well!

The Annual Vacation Bidding module is a seamless extension of the Andgo platform. Organizations are able to facilitate their entire annual vacation process online. Our quota-based system ensures you have the staff you need when you need them. It helps reduce payouts from unused vacation hours. This is all done while eliminating feedback cycles and reducing processing time.

The Annual Vacation module is customized to meet the needs of the organization, with as many or as little approval rounds required. The smart processing dashboard recommends optimal approvals and keeps staff in the loop with real-time updates. Employees receive instant insight into the likelihood of their vacation requests being approved before submitting. Once they submit their request, they can track the status of their requests as the rounds progress.

Employees receive notifications in the event their vacation requests are no longer valid (due to employees with more seniority selecting the same dates). This gives them a chance to update their requests before the round closes. This transparency reduces the feedback cycle and creates trust, which leads to higher stakeholder satisfaction. Also, the streamlined processing provides Managers and Scheduling Staff with substantial time savings.

Annual Vacation Highlights

In 2019, two organizations used the new module and saw significant efficiencies over their one-month vacation booking periods.

  • 13,500 employees participated
  • 37,000 vacation requests received
  • 1,600,000 vacation hours booked
  • 84% of top requests approved

An Andgo partner who used to manually process annual vacation found the paper-driven process to be incredibly labour intensive. The approvers would lock themselves away for weeks and work through all the submissions to ensure they awarded vacation in the proper order. Since partnering with Andgo, the approval process has been streamlined and it now takes hours, rather than weeks to complete. Andgo was able to reduce the costs of administering annual vacation while increasing employee satisfaction!

Check out more Andgo features here.


More about Andgo

Andgo Smart Absence Management was developed specifically for complex scheduling environments. By working with Andgo, you get the benefits of working with a knowledgeable and experienced team familiar with complex scheduling processes, procedures, and requirements.

Andgo’s Smart Absence Management system has created immense value for each of our clients through the automation of complex scheduling workflows. At Andgo we understand no two organizations are the same. With this in mind, we have designed our system to accommodate the unique requirements and use cases of your organization.

Follow us on Twitter for updates.

What is data residency and why is it important?

Have you ever wondered about “the cloud’ and what it means to keep your data secure on the cloud? Different countries and regions have different regulations around data security, one major part is data residency. Ensuring your data stays securely stored in your local environment is very important when handling sensitive employee data. Andgo takes this seriously and ensures we go above and beyond when dealing with data security and residency.

So, what is data residency?

Data residency means that your data is being stored in a specific geographical location. With Andgo, you have the option to keep your data in the country where it originated, not just for storage, but through any external services we use. Data residency is extremely important to us and we consider it paramount when discussing data management and safety.

But isn’t the internet everywhere?  How is this managed? 

We work hard to ensure that the data generated in your country stays within the country. For Canada, this is managed by only using data centers with guaranteed Canadian Data Residency. In fact, we take this so seriously that we created our own Interactive Voice Response (IVR) service because there were no vendors that could guarantee Canadian Data residency.

We continue to enforce these regulations when working with customers outside of Canada. Every country has its own laws surrounding data residency and security, and we build that into our plan to ensure the data stays local and secure.

Why is data residency important?

Data residency is important for health information. In fact in Canada, it’s the law. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) applies to transfers of personal information to a third party, including a third party operating outside of Canada, for processing. This act sets clear rules and regulations around data security and residency. 

Challenges to data residency

Hosting

This used to be very difficult. When Andgo first started, there weren’t Cloud Infrastructure providers that had Canadian data centers. Now, due to the demand for data residency, the big three Cloud providers, Amazon Web Services, Azure (Microsoft), and Google Cloud Platform all have at least one Canadian data center.

3rd party software (services)

There are a bunch of services we would like to use (Google Text-To-Speech, Twilio, etc.), however, depending on our customers’ data residency requirements this might not be possible, so we work hard to ensure effective alternatives are available. Until these services adapt to meet the requirements set in place by data residency laws they are functions we will be unable to utilize. 

How Andgo keeps data safe

Andgo prioritizes data residency and security. It has to be at the forefront of our operations so that we are able to confidently keep our customers’ data secure. Here are the ways Andgo ensures its customer’s data is safe:

  • We only store data that  is needed to provide our services
  • We are vigilant in staying up to date on leading data residency trends, technology, and regulations
  • We encrypt data at rest and in-flight
  • We have strong data access segregation (ie: No shared resources for customers)
  • We have strong data access controls. Only the people who should see the data have access to see it.

More about Andgo

Andgo Smart Absence Management was developed specifically for complex scheduling environments. By working with Andgo, you get the benefits of working with a knowledgeable and experienced team familiar with complex scheduling processes, procedures, and requirements.

Andgo’s Smart Absence Management system has created immense value for each of our customers through the automation of complex scheduling workflows. At Andgo we understand no two organizations are the same. With this in mind, we have designed our system to accommodate the unique requirements and use cases of your organization.

Contact us for information on how Andgo can help your organization.

Follow us on Twitter for updates.