A precondition to running a successful home health care agency and maintaining an exceptional patient and caregiver experience is setting up a well-planned and balanced schedule.
Working in the healthcare industry carries a huge responsibility.
We’re talking about a fast-paced work environment with no room for mistakes. On top of all that, home health care nurses have to be mobile and punctual. And let’s not forget that exercising patience, compassion, and kindness is a must in this line of work.
It’s true that home health care managers don’t have a magic wand, but nurse scheduling software is the closest thing to it.
Here’s why you should invest in a nurse scheduling app and make both your and your nurses’ lives easier.
What Is Nurse Scheduling Software?
In short, nurse scheduling software is a tool that helps managers create schedules for caregivers and nurses quickly and efficiently.
Such a solution gives you a complete overview of your daily, weekly, or monthly schedule so that you can easily see in real time where every caregiver should be, who’s available, and whether all the shifts are covered.
This is convenient for your employees, too, because they can have their individual schedules at their fingertips, which significantly reduces the possibility that they will miss a shift.
The importance of nurse scheduling software lies in its ability to provide visibility and transparency that enable employees to always be in the know when their shift starts and where.
At the same time, managers can rest assured everyone on their team is up to date with the latest schedule changes.
Maintain Hassle-Free Shift Management
One of the most challenging parts of the scheduling process is trying to fill every shift and doing your best to accommodate your staff’s personal scheduling requests. And in most cases, someone isn’t happy about their schedule.
Doing this manually, by using paper or electronic spreadsheets, is a time-intensive and error-prone procedure. You will end up wasting hours trying to organize shifts and risk double booking an appointment or leaving a patient without treatment.
And things get even more complicated if we factor vacations and days off into the equation.
Automated scheduling takes the hassle out of the process, eliminates endless phone calls or back-and-forth messaging, and the struggle to decide which nurses should be assigned those unfilled shifts.
Reliable nurse scheduling software will enable you to streamline and facilitate the schedule creation and communication process by automatically matching available candidates to shifts you created and notifying them about a job offer, via a push notification on their smartphone.
This way you can prevent scheduling conflicts and ensure that there’s always someone who can jump in and take over a shift in case of a last-minute cancellation.
Timeero, a powerful time and mileage tracking solution with scheduling functionality, takes things to the next level by offering an interesting feature - Who’s Working.
When you click on this tab, you’ll immediately get a list of all your available employees. This comes in especially handy when you suddenly have to fill a shift.
Enable Effortless Communication
Nurse scheduling software allows managers to instantly communicate with staff via email and text messages.
In addition to that, Timeero features push notifications that will immediately alert a caregiver about their assigned task or changed shift. With it, you don’t have to worry whether your employee has received and opened your message.
This helps managers alert staff about the latest schedule changes as well as fill open shifts fast.
By letting your employees wait for you to post the next day’s schedule online or on a notice board every day, you show that you’re not respecting their personal time. Follow the best practices of effective communication by informing them about the work arrangements as soon as possible so that they can organize their personal lives better.
Ensure EVV Compliance
Creating a perfect schedule isn’t the only task nurse scheduling software can help you with.
It can also ensure your agency is EVV compliant.
Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) is a mechanism for verifying that home health care visits are really taking place. Authorities introduced this solution in order to protect patients and prevent Medicare fraud.
By implementing nurse scheduling software with an EVV system, you will be able to document the exact dates, times, and locations of all visits. To be more precise, EVV systems are capable of capturing when a visit started and ended, as well as the accurate GPS location of a caregiver providing the service.
These electronic records can’t be altered or tampered with, and they will serve as evidence that your employees provided home care service to a particular patient in case of an audit or lawsuit.
It’s worth mentioning that this mandate will come into effect in January 2023, meaning that if you don’t have an EVV solution in place, you risk having your Medicaid claims denied.
Provide Better Patient Experience
Home care is perceived as personal and somewhat invasive. Caregivers become part of the clients’ daily routines due to the nature of the activities they handle. And they can do their job properly only if they manage to build rapport with their patients.
That’s the reason why you need to connect each caregiver with the right client and vice versa.
If a client prefers a specific caregiver, try as much as possible to fulfill their wish to match them. Of course, the schedule relies on other criteria too, including:
- Distance. It’s best to match a caregiver with a client who lives close to them and cut on transport costs.
- Availability. You can tweak the schedule to match a particular caregiver’s availability and a client’s daily plans.
- Experience. Some clients may require assistance from a more experienced nurse, so make sure to present them with the best and most appropriate options.
Nurse scheduling software will factor in all these requirements and produce the best possible schedule in no time.
Compensate Your Employees Fairly
Paying your nurses and caregivers adequately is not only a good investment but also your legal obligation.
If you fail to comply with federal minimum wage provisions, you are in for potential lawsuits and penalties. However, it’s worth mentioning that overpaying your employees is another costly mistake.
Implementing nurse scheduling software can help you avoid this, pay your employees what they deserve and keep your expenses in check.Timeero integrates with the most popular payroll and accounting tools so that you can easily export records after you approve them.
Promote Work-Life Harmony and a Healthy Work Culture
Nurses play a vital role in the healthcare industry. They work long shifts, sometimes around the clock, to make sure patient needs are met.
Given that nurses' and caregivers’ jobs are exhausting, both physically and emotionally, it’s not uncommon for them to experience burnout. According to a 2020 survey, 62% of the U.S. nurses reported burnout-related symptoms, and Covid 19 only exacerbated their already grave working conditions.
So, if you want to keep your employees happy, engaged, and productive, you should support their work-life balance. This means ensuring they are not overworked, underpaid, and stressed out.
Creating healthy, balanced work schedules for your employees is crucial in fostering a positive work environment and preventing caregiver burnout.
As a health home care manager, you want to meet the needs of both your patients and the nursing staff, which can be a daunting task. Thanks to nurse scheduling software, you can streamline the scheduling process and boost your caregivers’ job satisfaction. As a result, this will make them more engaged at work and, in turn, improve the patient experience.
Keep a Tight Rein on Expenses
Employees who work on the clock, such as caregivers or nurses, can forget to clock out - either accidentally or on purpose, leading to unnecessary overtime. And if you don’t pay attention, you will end up paying the price.
A study estimates that time theft costs U.S. employees a whopping $400 billion in lost productivity annually.
Using the right nurse scheduling software will allow you to optimize work expenses by preventing or reducing excessive overtime.
If you opt for Timeero, you won’t have to think about whether your employees will forget to clock out. It will automatically clock in and out employees when they arrive at the location and alert you in case of suspicious activity.
Running a home care health agency means that your employees work remotely and travel from one patient to another. All these trips add up, particularly if they take longer routes, and you could end up with hefty gas reimbursements.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Timeero has a core that makes it ideal for home health agencies - a time clock app with GPS. This practically means that you can always keep track of where your employees are while they’re at work and prevent them from taking scenic routes.
Since you can use Timeero to manage the time and attendance of your employees, it makes it easy to stay on budget. You can also set alerts to remind you and your workers about weekly overtime limits.
Boost Employee Performance and Productivity
Happy caregivers are engaged and productive, and that translates to satisfied clients.
It’s clear that this factor shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if we bear in mind that frustrated nurses are more likely to make errors, which can ultimately affect patient safety. The worst-case scenario is that a disgruntled caregiver may vent out toa client or provide subpar services, thus harming the reputation of your agency.
Similarly, embittered employees are more likely to leave your agency to go work for one of your competitors. Don’t forget that turnover can be very expensive - stats say that it takes one to two years for a new employee to reach their full productivity.
Giving your staff more control over their workload and schedules can significantly improve their performance and engagement. One way to do this is by including them in the scheduling process.
Of course, that would be impossible without nurse scheduling software capable of doing all the calculations and coming up with different combinations. And it’s a big plus that you won’t have to spend too much time on this tedious task.
Did We Convince You to Invest in Nurse Scheduling Software?
Nurse scheduling software can transform your messy scheduling process into a seamless one and free up a significant portion of your time. It’s a win-win situation since you won’t have to rack your brain trying to squeeze all the employee and patient requirements into a weekly schedule.
A neat nurse scheduling app will do all this instead of you, thus allowing you to focus on other high-level tasks that will spur the growth of your business. Finally, employee and patient satisfaction will boost your employee retention and attract top talent to your agency.