How to get the most out of your EMS scheduling software
Time is one of the most valuable commodities to an EMS business. The duties of EMS employees in the field are causally related to time—they’re often working against the clock to perform life-saving functions.
It’s important to manage that time efficiently. EMS administrators can do so with the help of scheduling software specifically designed for the industry. While these programs make schedulers’ jobs simpler with templates and automated functionality, fully knowing all the duties a software program can carry out can help EMS managers maximize their time in ways they may not have thought of.
Scheduling software for providers
Software helps EMS providers manage their schedules, reporting, and their time off. With access to the program across mobile devices, providers can check the time shift they’re signed for, verify the accuracy of their timecards, and even arrange to switch shifts with other employees if company policy allows. They use software to request and schedule days off or vacations.
Scheduling software is especially helpful in reminding providers to renew their certifications. Alerts can remind them of upcoming expirations or lapses of the certifications they need to continue their work. If the scheduling software is integrated with approved educational programs or other certification software, this process can be handled more quickly and effectively.
Scheduling software for administrators
Administrators, of course, use software to manage their employees’ schedules. They can assign personnel to daily shifts and communication additions or changes through automatic notifications. Software helps managers approve or oversee paid time off, verify clock-in and clock-out times, and keep up to date on employees who have certification deadlines coming up.
EMS managers also use software to automate the collection and storage of data for use in generating system-wide or employee-specific reports, and for inclusion in individual personnel files. They can change or edit information quickly, and customize calendar, report, or data templates to best suit the needs of the organization.
Answerability is near the heart of EMS scheduling software. Using alerts and notifications ensures that managers perform all due diligence when distributing information. Setting up mandatory acknowledgment verifies that employees have received the notices managers send. Especially when the software is reproducible across all screens—now that mobile is most user’s default means of internet access—accountability is easier to guarantee.
Scheduling software is particularly powerful when it’s integrated with other “verticals,” like attendance or payroll programs. This can ensure the accuracy of employee reports and reflect the actual hours they work on their paychecks.
Keeping certifications current
Certification management is particularly important to EMS companies as it helps them maintain legal operation and contain risk and liability. Since certification requirements can change dramatically in the business, with innovative technologies and methods constantly evolving, administrators benefit from using updatable software to stay on top of employees’ certification and renewals.
Scheduling software can do more than inform employees of upcoming certification dates. Managers can always get a complete profile of their employee pools’ current statuses. When integrated with time management software, a scheduling program can even prevent employees with lapsed certification from logging in electronically.
Easy customization of scheduling software is also a major consideration. EMS companies have different priorities and focus areas, especially when it comes to scheduling practices. Modern software is designed from the standpoint that one size never fits all. Configuring a software program so that it fits your business—rather than the other way around—is one of the most important steps in ensuring you’re getting the most out of it.
Alerts and notifications
Notifications were made to be intrusive. This can be a double-edged sword with EMS employees, who are often in situations where intense concentration on emergency matters is written into the job description. A good EMS scheduling program balances an aggressive awareness strategy with the daily realities of the people it informs.
Again, customization is a primary factor. Administrators should be able to personally configure notification options to fit their business needs, whether it’s generating system-wide emails in case of schedule changes, or mobile notifications on an employee-by-employee basis. Allowing for employee acknowledgments via mobile devices is another efficient way to manage schedule communication.
More ways scheduling software helps
Other prominent features of scheduling software that can help an EMS business include:
- Coordinating time off. This can include updates on accrued vacation time, conflict notifications, and automated payroll information.
- Data integration for reports. Scheduling software helps EMS companies migrate data for internal budget reports, weekly or monthly activity logs, personnel records, accounting summaries, and more.
- Automated certification tasks. Integration with educational software helps employees take care of their skills testing and certification needs, with automated reminders and full access to relevant material.
- Team coordination. Scheduling software can help make team assignments by pairing employees with complementary skills or focus areas together on the same shift. Certification components also play a part in this process.
- Overtime management. Administrators can set limits on overtime policies, preventing exposure to liabilities and risks arising from employees who have been working too long.
Making scheduling software easy to run
Two keys to getting the most from scheduling software involve its ease of use.
While software is built to create more intuitive solutions for everyday tasks, it should be learnable for the employees who use it, especially mobile users who must work with compressed screen areas and minimized actionable components. The more scalable their input options are, the simpler and more streamlined their operations will be (and the likelier they’ll use them).
Software updates are also important, especially for scheduling programs that administer certification. Educational material and certification requirements are often updated in the EMS industry, so keeping software in line with the changes is necessary. Administrators should decide whether they can risk the downtime automatic updates often require, or whether they should assume personal oversight of required updates themselves.
Every EMS company is different, even if their general life-saving mission is universal. Scheduling software is becoming increasingly more holistic to help make those companies more efficient and responsible. By understanding its capabilities and potential, EMS services will find them to be powerful, irreplaceable tools.
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