How to prepare for self-rostering

November 07, 2017bestpractice

Once you have set the roster start date (see earlier post), you need to prepare properly: rushing a self-roster process results in bad roster outcomes and unhappy administrators and doctors.

You should start your planning a few months before the first shift is scheduled to commence. The timeline that seems to work best for our customers is described below.

Plan: 4 months before the roster is due to start

Get the accreditation list in order. This defines who is allowed to be on the roster. If the accreditation list is not regularly cleaned up, plan to do a formal review. This is good housekeeping for the hospital, and also keeps the HosPortal user list - and therefore subscription fees - under control.

Determine exceptions. Many hospitals provide exemptions to the requirement to do on-call rosters, e.g. to senior doctors, or doctors with certain sub-specialities. Clarify the rules and work out who gets excused.

Analyse: 3 months beforehand

Determine what activity will determine the quotas. Many hospitals rostering anaesthetists use the number of regular operating theatre sessions, with the doctors that do the most sessions given the highest quota.

Determine how the quotas will be set using that activity. This topic is worth a blog post of its own. Simply, HosPortal allows 3 options:

  • Proportional. The quota is set in direct proportion to the chosen activity.
  • Tiers. An example is where everyone who does between 2 and 5 regular sessions gets an on-call quota of 2 slots.
  • Manual. Where the quota is set completely manually.

Complete roster: 2-3 months beforehand

If your roster is due to start in a holiday period (such as December or January in Australia), then 3 months' notice, or more, is recommended. Otherwise 2 months' notice is fine.

Open the self-roster window. Aim to keep the window open for 2 weeks.

Communicate the final roster to all participants. With HosPortal, the moment the window closes you can elect to automatically fill all un-selected shifts and immediately advise everyone of their shifts (whether they picked them, or were allocated them).

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