Published in the September 2016 issue of Today’s Hospitalist
MANY COMPANIES have recently sprung up with new software for physician scheduling. But one product—Tangier—has been on the market for close to 20 years. Tim Jones, sales and marketing director for the Maryland-based company that produces Tangier, says the software was first developed in 1998 when an emergency physician needed help with a complex schedule.
The company hasn’t looked back since and currently services nearly 2,500 clients and close to 100,000 providers. While Tangier was launched for emergency medicine, “we’ve seen tremendous growth in the hospitalist market,” Mr. Jones says.
“Clients range from five providers to 10,000, with everything in between,” he explains. “Size doesn’t always equate to complexity.” Scheduling a group with 15 providers “can be as complicated as one with 100. Tangier especially helps organizations with limited staffing resources who need tools to manage costs.”
One growing trend among hospitalist groups is considering more flexible scheduling over traditional block schedules. “Hospitalist groups are looking for a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining providers,” says Mr. Jones. “Offering scheduling flexibility may provide some benefits in a competitive field.”
Tangier works with each new client to configure a scheduling algorithm and generate test schedules. Once a schedule is generated and published, providers themselves typically initiate shift swaps, make time-off requests and request open shifts.
That gives physicians easy access to their schedule, he points out. It also keeps schedulers out of mundane, day-to-day scheduling tasks, giving them more time to analyze trends and manage expenses.
At the same time, “the combination of technology and a scheduler’s experience yields the best schedule,” Mr. Jones notes. If the algorithm can’t fill slots, scheduling tools provide options to address those open shifts.
“Providers and schedules are too dynamic to allow a program to break scheduling rules to fill shifts, even if those rules are weighted,” he says. “Those decisions are best left to the scheduler.”
Tangier offers services to integrate scheduling information with a variety of other functions including paging, secure texting and payroll. Because of the company’s experience and sizeable client base, says Mr. Jones, “Tangier is surprisingly affordable for a very sophisticated solution.” When considering a scheduling solution, “look for the right partner, not just a product.”
More information is online at www.tangiersoftware.com.