QHC adopted Automated Shift Fill (ASF), a module within the Vocantas Communicate™ platform that uses two-way interactive communications to find relief for open shifts. ASF takes all the manual effort out of contacting employees based on scheduling procedures and union rules.
Quinte Health Care (QHC) is an integrated system of four hospitals, employing over 2000 professionals and servicing over 165,000 people in Ontario, Canada. QHC offers health care services including, a rehabilitation day hospital, a children’s treatment centre, emergency departments, ambulatory care clinics, community mental health programs, and a range of diagnostic services.
In order to provide their patients with the highest quality care, QHC needs to fill shifts with qualified employees quickly, while following complex union rules. The manual process their scheduling department was using to fill shift vacancies was inefficient and costly. The process involved receiving fax messages, entering data into excel sheets, and calling a long list of eligible employees one by one. As a result, their schedulers were exhausted and unable to call out and fill shifts efficiently. They struggled to get through shift needs for each day and could not address future needs. To fill shifts promptly, schedulers would have to offer them as overtime.
"In terms of staff morale, schedulers felt like they were putting in a lot of effort without achieving any results"
Employees looking to pick-up shifts were also dissatisfied with this process. They often missed the schedulers’ phone calls or they would not have much notice before the shift. QHC needed a solution to automate this cumbersome shift filling process and improve employee satisfaction.
Saving time and money. QHC adopted Automated Shift Fill (ASF), a module within the Vocantas Communicate™ platform that uses two-way interactive communications to find relief for open shifts. ASF takes all the manual effort out of contacting employees based on scheduling procedures and union rules. Employees can respond to shift offers via text (SMS), phone (IVR), email, app, or online portal. Since implementing ASF, QHC has seen a significant return on investment. They can respond to more shift needs in less time with fewer schedulers, enabling staff resources to be distributed to other high-value tasks, such as patient care.
"We went from doing 5 shift callouts to 90 in a day — it’s amazing!"
The scheduling department can now address shift needs days in advance, reducing the need to call out shifts at overtime. “There have been large cost savings because we’re able to fill more shifts at straight time.” With ASF, QHC has real-time visibility into their workforce, allowing them to quickly adapt to resource needs.
Improving employee satisfaction and retention. ASF has proven to be a great benefit to QHC’s new and long-term employees through improved workflows. Notably, an employee of 40 years expressed how ASF makes her job as a scheduler easier and more enjoyable than ever before. Schedulers can manage multiple shift callouts simultaneously without needing to make time consuming individual phone calls.
"We can do a lot more with less staff, and we can service more units than before"
In seconds, schedulers can create shift callouts that will automatically be sent to qualified employees
for bidding. The system then recommends a list of candidates that the scheduler can choose from, or ASF can automatically award a winner. All activities are timestamped and are available in reports so that schedulers and managers can easily review the callout details for auditing purposes. “Our schedulers like how they’re more in control of their results. They see a lot of value in the solution and wouldn’t go back to the manual process.” Additionally, staff members can choose when and how they receive the automated shift notifications leading to a greater acceptance of shift callouts and work-life balance. “Overall, people are happy with ASF because they’re getting an equal opportunity at shifts, and aren’t tied to waiting for a phone call.”
By replacing their manual shift filling process with ASF, QHC has been able to save time, reduce grievances, improve employee satisfaction, and continue to meet the needs of the community it serves.
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