Niagara Health Saves Time and Reduces Costs with Automated Shift Fill

We asked Brandy Brandy Langley-Smith-Williscroft, Project Manager, about Niagara Health’s experience with Vocantas’ ASF Solution.

Ottawa, ON
October 28, 2020

Background

Niagara Health is a regional healthcare provider, located in Ontario, Canada with multiple sites and a growing network of community-based services. Their team is made up of more than 4,800 employees, 600 physicians and 850 volunteers who they count on to deliver extraordinary care to every person.

Brandy Langley-Smith-Williscroft

Project Manager, Information and Communications Technology Niagara Health

We asked Brandy about Niagara Health’s
experience with Vocantas’ ASF Solution.

What challenges were you facing before implementing Automated Shift Fill?

“Our biggest challenge was that we were using a manual process to callout open shifts. Our 20 schedulers would callout for shift replacements to approximately 3800 nursing staff, one by one every day. As a result of this manual process, they were always behind in filling shift offers. Our staff also experienced frustrations with this process because they were missing the shift callouts. Schedulers would call an employee but receive no answer, so they would have to move on to the next. By the time the first employee called back, they’d have potentially filled the shift. The manual process was not efficient and caused a number of grievances. Moving to Automated Shift Fill (ASF) made a big difference for everyone.”

“Presently, we still have the same number of schedulers, but the number of shift callouts they can send per month has increased significantly because of the ASF system — it’s phenomenal. Now, if employees miss the initial automated shift callout, they still have an opportunity to bid on the shift through the system within the set time window, and win the shift. Everything’s automated, so they can bid on shifts through the system without needing to get ahold of a scheduler. Our employees also appreciate how ASF offers multiple methods of communication, such as text (SMS), so they can choose what method works best for them without incurring additional costs. Needless to say, our staff are a lot happier.”

"The number of shift callouts they can send out per month has increased significantly because of the ASF system  — it’s phenomenal".

How and why did you select Vocantas as your solution provider?

“We were looking for a vendor that would be able to provide a solution quickly. At the time, we were rolling out Kronos, our human capital management system, so we wanted both systems to be set up at the same time to avoid additional downtime, and keep up with callouts. Many other vendors required more time to develop a solution, so the determination was to go with Vocantas. ASF seemed like the best plausible option for us since the solution already had the integrations built into Kronos.”

"What we like about Vocantas is the fact we came back with feedback about extra shift windows and reports, and the Vocantas team responded. They implemented what we needed".

What was your implementation experience like with ASF?

“Our schedulers still do their due diligence in Kronos before awarding shifts, but ASF has made them more efficient at doing it. Our schedulers are happy with ASF and it is a very stable product, which is pretty amazing.”

“Before going live with ASF, we gave each department a sample to show them how everything would work. By doing this, we were able to answer a lot of the questions ahead of time so when we went live, we had very few support calls as a result, which was amazing. What we like about Vocantas is the fact we came back with feedback about extra shift windows and reports, and the Vocantas team responded. They implemented what we needed and are still continuing to work with us on things that their clients are giving feedback on, which is excellent. That is what we really need. It’s great that everyone wants to be innovative, but if it’s not something that your clients are asking for then it’s wasted. Also, the support level in general is great. If we send an email, the Vocantas team gets back to us right away. It’s nice to have a vendor that’s like that, someone we can rely on. Overall it’s a very stable and well-done solution.”

How have your business processes changed since adopting ASF?

“ASF has made our shift filling processes more efficient and effective. For example, with ONA (Ontario Nurses’ Association), our employees have to work a certain number of overtime shifts to add to their pension. Before adopting Vocantas’ solution, schedulers had to manually callout those shifts to each person, but now they can post shifts easily via ASF.”

“We’re also planning on implementing the new ASF Planner feature, which will allow us to give staff one call instead of numerous calls. Staff will then be able to go to the portal to view the full list of available shifts. Planner will help improve our efficiency and reduce shift callout fatigue - making for even happier staff. With ASF, our schedulers can handle more capacity, so we’re able to redirect resources and funds to higher-value tasks. We also use the system for reporting and auditing, so we can easily validate if employees received a shift offer. The ASF system has benefitted us in ways we didn’t even know.”

Has ASF internally been viewed as a successful deployment?

“ASF has definitely been viewed as a successful deployment, and inadvertently saves us money in multiple ways. Our Chief Scheduling Officer (CSO)
can run reports to see how many callouts each staff member is sending out. These reports help her see how efficient her team is working, and identify if they can take on more capacity, or if she has too many people deployed.”

“Our CSO is also able to prove how many shifts are being filled now versus before. This information
is especially helpful in situations where there are open shifts insistently within a certain department. We are able to show managers that the schedulers have attempted to fill shifts by calling them out, but have not received any responses. This then gives the managers the option to converse with their staff or hire more casual people to put towards those shifts.”

“The Vocantas team created custom reports with a manager’s view so our managers could easily log in to the system and pull reports on specific individuals that they’re questioning. These reports save our managers’ time by highlighting where and when employees are accepting shifts. This functionality also saves the CSO from having to pull those reports because the managers can do it themselves.”

"With ASF, our schedulers can handle more capacity, so we’re able to redirect resources and funds to higher-value tasks".

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