5 Top Features to Look for in an EMS Scheduling Software
Emergency Medical Service providers today are under immense pressure to provide high service levels within a limited budget. As a result, most have had to figure out ways to improve efficiency without compromising their basic mission of providing emergency medical care.
EMS scheduling software, in particular, has been widely adopted by EMS providers specifically to help them improve their overall efficiency. When platforms are properly selected and implemented, they can give providers with smaller fleets and fewer employees the capabilities of their larger counterparts.
However, not all scheduling software are made alike. If you’re looking for specialized EMS scheduling platforms, make sure that the ones you shortlist have the five essential features below.
1.) Cloud Hosting – Anytime, Anywhere Access
All things being equal, locally-hosted systems tend to be less reliable than those hosted on the cloud. While you can certainly get a locally hosted system to run reasonably well most of the time, their downtime tends to be measured in hours or days, while downtime on systems hosted on remote servers tends to be mere minutes.
This discrepancy is often due to economies of scale and the ability of cloud-hosting services to maintain a workforce dedicated to server maintenance. EMS providers may have IT experts onsite, but they are unlikely to be as capable or as specialized as those employed by a remote hosting service.
Server downtime can cause staffing issues and other problems that distract from the job of saving lives. While scheduling delays due to server problems may not seem like such a big deal, in the context of EMS, every minute counts. Moments lost due to these seemingly minor issues can be a matter of life and death for people on the ground.
Another perk of cloud-hosted software is that they are generally designed to be mobile-friendly. Given that EMS providers are now more likely than ever to access their tools through a mobile device, the lack of mobile functionality or a dedicated mobile app can make EMS scheduling a lot less useful than it could be.
2.) Crew and Trip Scheduling and Tracking
The ability to schedule and track EMS crew members is essential for EMS operations.
First, because EMS providers operate around the clock, it can be difficult for one manager to track all events that happen in a day, especially ones outside their shift. Typically, there will be two or three shifts per day, with a different set of managers and administrators for each. Next, different levels of access should be available for all users who need access to the platform, as they may have different responsibilities. You don’t want unauthorized employees messing with crew and trip schedules, after all.
The ability to be accessed by multiple users with different accounts and access levels also opens up other possibilities. For instance, while they may be restricted from making direct changes, employees can now make requests for time off, shift trades, shift substitutions, and other schedule changes on the platform itself. This can keep employees and managers from getting bogged down in red tape, freeing up time to do more pressing tasks.
3.) Edit Assignments and Shifts in Bulk
Schedules change all the time. Sometimes, your crew members will have a home emergency they need to tend to. Other times, you may have an ambulance that requires immediate maintenance. It would be frustrating if you had to manually edit every single trip, one by one, to another crew or ambulance just because of that. Software is supposed to simplify work and help us operate more efficiently. That is why, when shopping for a EMS scheduling software, it is important to have the bulk edit feature.
4.) CAD Integration
Any EMS software that you use for trip scheduling needs to be fully integrated with your computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system. This will not only enable real-time communications between the dispatchers and the ambulance crew, but it’ll save hours that would be otherwise spent securing, communicating, and approving trips manually.
Being able to speed up communication between the dispatchers and crew doesn’t just benefit them, either. It also means the EMS provider can reach the patient and the facility faster, which will save lives without the need to compromise on service levels.
5.) Automated Notifications
EMS scheduling software becomes immensely more useful when it can notify employees and managers of new schedules, trip requests, trip statuses, delays, cancellations, and other important events.
Automated notifications are typically sent through email or a dedicated mobile app. This ensures that all managers and employees are aware of events that may directly impact them or their ability to meet required service levels.
Without automated notifications, managers would have to take time to make a call or send an email when there’s an update for each critical event, which can be quite frequent in EMS. Given how useful this feature is, you will want to think twice if the software you’re looking at does not include it.
EMS providers who are serious about improving operational efficiency should select their scheduling platforms carefully. While every agency might have different specific needs, it’d be wise to make sure your that EMS scheduling software has the features stated above.