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Adopting Online Nurse Scheduling and Staffing Systems

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Publication Date: September 2005

Publisher(s): California HealthCare Foundation

Author(s): Lauren Sabet

Topic: Health (Health services administration)

Type: Report


As hospitals and health care professionals struggle with a chronic shortage of nurses, Internet-based software packages are being developed that can make the staffing and scheduling process more efficient. This analysis by the First Consulting Group examines how technology can help address challenges related to nurse staffing and scheduling. Six case studies suggest not only that self scheduling is becoming more prevalent, but also that a variety of integrated software products, ranging in price from $60,000 - $150,000 for a 300-bed hospital, offer a range of benefits. Examples of the benefits include:

*Optimizing staff resources and minimizing use of agencies; *Boosting staff satisfaction and retention; *Streamlining traditional management processes; *Expanding personal accessibility, flexibility, and choices through staff bidding and self scheduling; *Improving control of staffing costs and potential cost savings (one hospital realized savings of $1.7 million over three years); and *Simplifying management of regulatory requirements.

Successful implementation hinges on several factors, including a clear strategic plan; targeting a level of software integration; choosing the right application; and providing high-quality training to staff. While few health care organizations are now taking advantage of online scheduling and staffing programs, findings indicate once nurses start using online tools, other departments begin to demand them.