Case Studies » National Premier Dialysis Provider

Scheduling innovation

Scheduling has never been easy. But with COVID, it’s grown more complex.

In the new normal, how can I make sure that the right assets and the right employees are in the right place at the right time to serve my customers—safely?

Scheduling is at the heart of every service business. The schedule doesn’t just determine who sees whom and when; it’s at the heart of how people, supplies, spaces, and equipment come together to achieve customer satisfaction. Done well, you can exceed customer expectations while meeting the needs of the business. But the new normal means new complexity. Traditional SaaS scheduling tools are not designed to handle physical distancing or the uncertainties of markets which may be open today and closed tomorrow. Businesses need new ways to rapidly optimize schedules as conditions change.

Celerity knows scheduling. We know because we have deep experience optimizing and customizing SaaS scheduling platforms. That’s why a leading national dialysis provider reached out to us for an innovative solution. Across 2500 clinics encompassing approximately 30,000 dialysis chairs, they needed to be sure that their assets and their people were delivering the best outcomes for patients—safely. And they knew their SaaS scheduling tool wasn't able to manage consideration of the patient’s specific medical needs, their preferred schedules, the needs of practitioners, the number of available assets such as open dialysis chairs, physical distancing, varying re-opening regimes, and all the other needs of the business. They needed a new way to optimize schedules that would make it easier, faster, and more efficient to safely put the right assets and people together to meet the needs of the business—and the patient.

To meet this need, Celerity created a scheduling application—called Optimizer—that acts as a module which is integrated with traditional scheduling software. It helps manage additional complexity without itself being complex.

Developing an Easy Button to crunch 5 quinvigintillion possible permutations

Across the 2500 clinics and all the variables required to run them, it turns out that there are 5 quinvigintillion (that’s 5 x 1078) possible permutations. Finding the optimum outcome among so many permutations requires combinatorial optimization, a mathematical technique used to rapidly explore large volumes of data and identify the best answer. But we built the application in such a way that the user doesn’t need to know this:

We made using it as easy as pushing a button

By integrating it into the existing ScheduleWise® platform, the Optimizer tool uses data already gathered so nurses and clinical managers wouldn’t have to learn complex new software. One click sorts through all the variables and returns the ideal schedule for each patient, practitioner, and clinic.

We made reporting easy, too.

We designed and built easy-to-understand reports, instantly readable by staff, clinic managers and executives. These reports validated that the optimal permutation for the patients and clinics had been found based on the rules.

Finding the most efficient schedule begins by defining the business rules

All scheduling tools are built around a set of assumptions—business rules—that define key variables and optimal outcomes. Optimizer enables you to add to these rules. We worked with our client to uncover these assumptions by interviewing staff at every level. This discovery led to identifying 10 global rules, 25 scheduling rules, and numerous sub-rules dealing with exceptions, special circumstances, and changing regulations. Understanding the rules was fundamental to creating an effective outcome. So were:

Change management

Collaborating closely with our pilot group, we ran weekly reports and analyzed each result with clinic managers and executive leadership, fine-tuning as we went. Not only did this make the Optimizer a better tool, but the process allowed us an easy way to socialize the metrics set by management for each clinic. This meant clinic managers were not “surprised” when we released the Optimizer, and understood the power of the tool and its benefits.

Rapid Release Cycles

Using agile methodologies and release cycles of just two weeks, we are positioned to respond rapidly
to new and changing requirements, which is especially important in the age of COVID.

An innovative method for aligning resources and demand

As the new normal of physical distancing and varying openness establishes itself, the need to rapidly optimize schedules will become even more critical. Optimizer, propelled by a deep understanding of scheduling requirements, innovative mathematics, and user insight, enabled our client to solve a highly complex scheduling problem with the click of a button. A scheduling process that once took days to optimize now takes minutes, reducing costs as customer appointments, staff and physical resources are aligned more efficiently. Optimized scheduling has the potential to make a significant difference in their business—and yours.

Before Celerity

Manual scheduling that took days to optimize and was subject to error

Rushed schedules that risked producing downtime or insufficiently staffed clinics

Lack of visibility into enterprise-wide schedules, clinics, and needs

Too many variables to juggle in order to create a timely and effective schedule

With Celerity

Optimized scheduling available at the click of an “easy button”

Superior customer service and employee satisfaction through more efficient staffing

Transparent reporting enabling leaders to make better informed decisions for the company

Automated scheduling that sorts through quinvigintillions of options in seconds

Related Case Studies