4 Reasons It’s Time to Ditch the Spreadsheets for an OnCall Scheduling Tool


April 28, 2018
oncall scheduling ditch spreadsheets

How confident are you in the accuracy of your oncall scheduling spreadsheet? With so many changes occurring in rapid succession in healthcare environments, you can’t really on a spreadsheet to save a life. You need better tools, ones that allow you to know in real-time the physicians available. These tools also provide access to this information on a larger scale, outside of having to physically look at something printed out, or track down a shared document. Security is also a consideration, which is a failure with most other methods. A new tool will shift the responsibility, too, putting back in the hands of those closest to the information and need. Check out all four reasons it’s time to ditch the spreadsheets for an oncall scheduling tool.


Even if you use a spreadsheet now that offers sharing, you still face challenges. Google Drive spreadsheets allow multiple people to update. This is actually a concern for accuracy. It may become a mess that isn’t reflective of who is actually on call. Whereas, when it’s on a platform that is controlled by admins, people have roles to update and verify. Then you have real-time, validated data of who is on call across multiple departments. This kind of accuracy isn’t possible with spreadsheets, even in a shared medium.


With a sophisticated on call scheduling platform, the information is open to everyone in the network. When changes occur, everyone sees them in real-time. Used in conjunction with a HIPAA-compliant secure texting app, those oncall can be notified in seconds. This could be the difference in responding to patient emergencies—a few clicks on a smartphone versus seeking information from many sources. Access to information enables better patient care and the quickest reaction.Along with readily accessible views for all internal parties, you can share these schedules in a view-only mode via a URL. This is a handy feature when working with other organizations that might need this information.


Data in your on call schedule may not be protected under HIPAA because it isn’t patient specific. But it’s still confidential data and includes names and contact information of clinicians, which is at the least PII (personally identifiable information). So, it needs to be protected. Using a spreadsheet on your organization’s network through SharePoint or Google Drive spreadsheet has security weaknesses. On your network, it’s subject to all the requirements of your system. Firewalls don’t always work. Hackers have and will continue to breach healthcare networks. In 2016, 88% of the ransomware attacks in the U.S. were directed at healthcare. Moreover, 89% of the healthcare organizations studied in the Ponemon Institute Report had experienced a data breach.

The Real Story on Google Drive

Whereas, with Google Drive, the hack is less likely, you just don’t have full ownership of it. You’ll retain the intellectual rights to the data. Google does not “own” user-uploaded files per se. They can, however, do what they want with it. If you read the Terms of Service, you’ll find it says this “When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works, communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content…This licence continues even if you stop using our Services.”Looking at these terms, it’s clear that Google has a lot of latitude in how it can use your data. Unless your documents in Drive are set to public, Google won’t use your data without your consent. But if they are, that’s considered consent. If you upload an image, you just might see in in a Google ad, per a Wired article. The better choice of security and ownership is to use a platform that offers cloud pass-through.Cloud pass-through means none of the data or communications are stored or accessible for the third party. In addition to this, use a system that meets and exceeds HIPAA and other regulations related to personal data.

Shifting Ownership

Spreadsheets often fall under the authority of administrative staff or oncall operators. They often don’t know the most recent updates about who is on call and for what time. When the onus is on an uninformed party, mistakes will be made. When using a dynamic platform, the ownership shifts to individual departments, which of course have more intimate knowledge of their oncall needs. This type of solution also permits physicians to add preferences for scheduling and update any phone numbers or contact information. They can even leave notes for their peers about different patients.

Oncall Scheduling from QliqSOFT: Enabling Better Care

When you add oncall scheduling tools to the Qliq app, your team will be able to view live, up-to-date calendars by department. Efficient and easy to access straight from your smartphone. With features like the ability to assign shift members as primary or secondary as well as customizing shift definitions and integration with call centers, you’ll find it to be an essential communication tool. See it in action right now by watching our video.

The Author
Ben Henson

A lifelong communicator, this Tennessee native got his start in broadcast news before branching out into public media, corporate, communications, digital advertising, and integrated marketing. Prior to joining QliqSOFT as the company's first marketing team member, Ben shared his talents with organizations that include the University of Alabama, iHeartMedia, and The Kroger Company.

Related Content

Customer Success Story:

No items found.
Related Story:


Want our blogs in your inbox?
Subscribe for more!

Thank you!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.