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Update on Physician On Call Schedules


RPIW 100 is a Rapid Process Improvement Workshop that began in late May. The goal of this RPIW is to streamline the ease of generating the monthly on-call lists and provide an effective way to generate accurate daily on-call schedules that are accessible to all who need them. Representatives from the various stakeholder groups were brought together on a team to work towards this positive change. There was great collaborative work done to improve the On-Call Schedule generation, distribution and updating process.

Over time, the specialist physician monthly on-call schedule evolved to serve several purposes.

To provide physicians with their on-call schedule and ensure proper compensation, and

To provide frontline staff with the name and contact information of the physician they should call 24-7 for patient care

While the task of RPIW #100 was to focus on the second purpose, we feel the recommended streamlined process impacts both positively. The goal was to identify a standard, streamlined and reliable process to ensure the right physician could be reached by frontline in order to get care to the patient.

Historically the Physician On-Call Schedules have been generated by a wide range of persons including section coordinators and administrative supports. These schedules are distributed via email, intranet, fax and paper to many stakeholders throughout the RQHR and private clinics often multiple times to the same end user. Given that there are in excess of 60 different Physician On-Call Schedules and literally hundreds of End-Users needing to access this information, there was a great need to standardize the On-Call templates. Two standardized monthly templates for Physician On-Call Schedules have been established – a simple format and a complex format. Each on call service will utilize one of these templates for monthly completion and posting to the RQHR intranet site. This will provide ease and consistency of access for the internal end-users. The schedules will also continue to be distributed to the various external stakeholders such as community clinics, physician offices and out of region organizations as determined.

In addition, the RGH Switchboard will build and post to the Intranet a daily Physician On-Call List, to provide the internal end users with one consistent and accurate access point for daily on-call information.

A new process for communicating all updates and changes to on-call schedules will also be implemented; this will eliminate accuracy defects that are currently evident. Key to the success of this process, however, is ensuring physicians communicate any changes they make to their schedules so they can be reflected in the call lists – monthly and daily. If changes aren’t communicated, the risk of incorrect calls remains.

What do we need from physicians? You will be required to provide reliable, current contact information for times when you are on-call. This contact information will be available on the monthly and daily on-call lists for end users to contact you. RQHR will no longer permit physicians to use Switchboard as their on call contact number. There are various acceptable methods of connecting with on-call physicians, some of which include pagers, direct dial numbers, physician group answering services, or physician group single call numbers forwarded to the on-call physician’s cell phone. If you are currently using Switchboard as a contact number for when you are on call, please plan to provide updated contact information in the near future.

November 1, 2016 is the anticipated go-live date for the posting of the new monthly and daily on-call schedules. Stay tuned for additional information regarding the new communication processes and work standards related to this exciting improvement.