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Interior Health Automates Relief Staff Scheduling Using Vocantas Automated Shift Callout

Vocantas CallAssure™ Auto Shift Callout (ASC) successfully automates short call staffing process

Wednesday October 12, 2016

Interior Heath, (IH) one of five regional health authorities serving British Columbia to deliver a variety of health care services, recently deployed the Automated Shift Callout (ASC) solution built by Vocantas.

With the ASC solution fully integrated with the existing workforce management system, Kronos’ Workforce Scheduling Software – ESP, Interior Health is beginning to experience the benefits of the powerful combined solution.

Short call staffing has been a long standing pain point for hospitals. When a nurse or staff member calls in sick, or books time off with short notice – a manual process begins that is time consuming and error prone, in order to backfill that shift to ensure adequate staffing. To comply with union agreements that stipulate who gets offered relief shifts first, the scheduler previously had to pick up the phone and begin calling each nurse or other health care provider sequentially on the list hoping to connect with an employee that would agree to take the shift. Often, the IH Staffing Services schedulers would spend their day calling out to find relief for shifts, beginning the day with a backlog of shifts to fill and ending the day with just as many shifts to fill the next day – as more people would call in sick or book time off during the day than schedulers could call out for relief.

Now, with the ASC solution, schedulers simply click the “auto call out” button directly in their scheduling software. Vocantas then dials, texts and emails all eligible staff on the relief pool list simultaneously offering them the open shift. Staff respond interactively, by automated interactive phone, text, or email to express interest in the shift. ASC then notifies the scheduler that there is an employee that the shift can be awarded to. All of this activity is visible to the employee in a secure portal where employees can also bid on and view shifts.

After just 60 days in a live environment at Interior Health, the ASC system made more than 614,331 phone calls, delivered 831,101 texts and sent 198,584 emails. During this same time period, more than 25,610 relief shifts have been successfully awarded using the automated call out solution. Interior Health Staffing Services department has reported a steady improvement in filling relief shifts through the use of the new ASC system.

Interior Health is the second British Columbia health authority to deploy the Vocantas ASC solution. Island Health announced their successful deployment of ASC in February of 2016.

Interior Health chose the Vocantas automated, interactive voice, text and email solution to connect with staff in order to streamline communications and reduce costs associated with valuable time spent making 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 the system updates all information in an employee-specific, secure portal. Staff members can select their preferred mode of contact, whether it is mobile phone, text, or email, or all three simultaneously also via secure web portal.

“Vocantas has been working with Canadian healthcare for more than a decade, solving complex communication issues using innovative technology. Our ability to deploy these large scale solutions, now serving more than 37,000 healthcare staff in BC, is a testament to the expertise of our team and our dedication to solving real pain points, where automation has the highest impact,” said Gary T. Hannah, Vocantas CEO. “As we work toward deploying ASC to other BC health authorities over the next few months, and continue to collaborate with our healthcare partners on the ASC roadmap, our team is excited about the continued automation in healthcare scheduling that will change the landscape of every aspect of scheduling processes.”

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