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VSS Pro Staff Scheduling Software Optimizes Pharmacy Operations at Swedish Covenant Hospital

Peninsula Regional Medical Center

"Scheduling takes me 1/4 of the time it used to, plus I know all shifts are covered."

 Ramesh Patel, Pharmacy Director, Swedish Covenant Hospital, Chicago, IL




Customer Profile

Swedish Covenant Hospital is a comprehensive healthcare facility providing health and wellness services to the communities of Chicago's North and Northwest sides. The Pharmacy Service & Clinical Research department staff of 30, comprised of both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, supports patients needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


With an around-the-clock operation in the pharmacy department, using a paper-and-pencil scheduling method was certainly not efficient. Any schedule change could often mean reworking the entire schedule in order to ensure proper shift coverage. In 1996, the department decided to use Visual Staff Scheduler® Pro (VSS Pro) scheduling software. “VSS Pro really meets our scheduling needs. It helps to attain the optimal staff coverage, and makes creating rotating schedules fast and easy,” says Ramesh Patel, Sr. Pharmacy Director at Swedish Covenant Hospital.


VSS Pro staff scheduling software proved to be an easy-to-learn and easy-to-use solution, yet with many powerful features that help optimize pharmacy scheduling. “With VSS Pro, I can view instantly the number of hours each person has been scheduled per pay period, which alerts me of any overtime situations,” says Patel. In addition, VSS Pro counts automatically the number of staff required versus scheduled. This makes it easy to maintain adequate coverage per specific shift, position, or area of responsibility. VSS Pro’s user-friendly display allows schedulers to instantly spot specific staffing situations. “VSS Pro’s highlighting feature helps me to quickly see all employees that are not available, due to sickness or vacation, plus personnel that still need to sign-off on the proposed schedule,” says Patel.


Since the pharmacy department started using VSS Pro to manage shift schedules, the Pharmacy Director has dramatically reduced the time it takes to create schedules and maintain schedule changes. “By automatically copying schedule rotations, I cut the time needed to create recurring schedules, and any requested or ad-hoc schedule changes can now be made instantly,” says Patel. “Scheduling takes me 1/4 of the time it used to, plus I know all shifts are covered,” he adds. The pharmacy department at Swedish Covenant Hospital also improved internal communication of work schedules. Finalized schedules are emailed directly from VSS Pro, giving Pharmacy personnel all necessary scheduling information, such as shift start and end time, area of responsibility, and names of coworkers working during the shift. “VSS Pro gives us a way to provide our staff with accurate and easy-to-read schedules. The messy and confusing shift schedules are now a thing of the past,” says Patel. “With VSS Pro scheduling software our life is so much easier. I definitely recommend VSS Pro scheduling software to other pharmacies,” Patel concluded.