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Relief nurse scheduling improved using Vocantas

Gary HannahVICTORIA, BC – Island Health, one of five regional health authorities serving British Columbia, recently deployed the Automated Shift Callout (ASC) solution built by Ottawa-based Vocantas. With the ASC solution fully integrated with the existing workforce management system, Kronos’ Workforce Scheduling Software – ESP, Island Health is now reaping the benefits of the combined solution.

After just one month in live production, the ASC system made more than 269,000 phone calls, delivered over 312,000 texts and sent more than 71,000 emails. During this same time period, more than 10,700 relief shifts have been successfully awarded.

“We are thrilled with the outcome of this automation, for our Scheduling team, for our staff receiving the relief shift opportunities, and for our patients. Clearly a win-win-win for Island Health organization in every aspect. The power to connect with large pools of staff in mere seconds is outstanding; relief shift scheduling will never be the same – already we wonder how we lived without this solution,” said Shawn Robinson, director, staff scheduling, Island Health Authority. “The efficiencies created by this combined technology will ensure facilities have the right staff at the right time to deliver the outstanding care that Island Health is committed to.”

Across the organization, the benefits Island Health is already seeing are remarkable, proving that innovative automation for filling relief shifts is a leap in the right direction for healthcare providers:

• Schedulers would typically be able to fill 12 to 20 relief shifts per day, considering the time it took to manually phone staff in a sequential manner. Now, with the ASC solution, some schedulers are filling 40 relief shifts a day – doubling their efficiency.

• With increased capacity to respond to the volume of short-notice relief replacement, nurses are being given two or three days’ notice for relief shift opportunities – a huge win over the sometimes last minute notice provided before the ASC system was in place.

• Ultimately, ensuring the right nurse or team member in the right place in the hospital at the right time improves patient care at Island Health as units are staffed for maximum potential.

• In addition to increased short-notice effectiveness, shifts were offered using ASC that were as many as 20 days into the future, demonstrating the usefulness of the solution for advance booking, in addition to short-notice relief shift replacement.

• Within the first month of full operation, 119 schedulers at Island Health were trained and experienced using ASC.

Along with positive early performance indicator results, the human response has been overwhelmingly positive. Staff, schedulers and managers alike are reporting increased satisfaction with the relief scheduling process as a result of this innovative automation, integrated in real-time with the existing Kronos scheduling software.

Integration with Vocantas enables Island Health to automate their relief staff scheduling processes to maximize connectivity with staff members, filling more vacant shifts more quickly, and helping to ensure the right staff member is in the right place at the right time.

Island Health chose to procure an automated, interactive voice, text and email solution to connect with staff in order to streamline communications and reduce costs associated with tying up valuable time to make individual phone calls. The automated calls are quick and intelligent, asking staff to confirm their acceptance of full shifts or indicating their willingness to accept partial shifts and updating all information in an employee-specific secure portal.

Staff members can select their preferred mode of contact, whether it is mobile phone, SMS, or email, or all three simultaneously also via secure web portal. The system recommends shift award to schedulers based upon collective bargaining agreement requirements using pre-configured criteria embedded in Kronos ESP, as well as Island Health’s unit-specific business rules.

“When innovation and technology solve a real pain point for our customers, it is magic,” said Gary T. Hannah (pictured), CEO for Vocantas. “The powerful results of this solution speak for themselves. Schedulers can do their job with greater efficiency, staff receive more notice for relief shifts, and patients are cared for by the right people at the right time. Vocantas has been delighted to work collaboratively with the Island Health team to deploy such a successful application.”

About Vocantas Inc.
Vocantas develops hosted and premise-based interactive voice response solutions (IVRS) using advanced computer telephony and speech recognition technology to provide businesses and service providers with more efficient outreach capabilities. Vocantas solutions help organizations in the higher education, utilities, healthcare and customer service environments improve outreach and engagement while reducing operating costs. Visit vocantas.com for a free interactive demo of Vocantas solutions that intelligently responds to your customers.

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