Scheduling Application Terms Decoded: What Do They All Mean?

A simple Google search for “physician scheduling” will yield dozens of different options for healthcare organizations to click. The number of options may be overwhelming, but to add to that, scheduling applications seem to have their own language that may be hard to understand, so what does it all mean? We have prepared a short list of common terms associated with scheduling applications and provided a definition of what it exactly means.

Automated Scheduling

A scheduling application may describe itself as “an automated scheduling application for physicians and staff.” This means that the application contains a scheduling algorithm that the system uses to automatically create a schedule and fill each shift with a qualified physician.


Physicians are always on the go, so it makes sense that schedules would be available on the go as well. Web-based simply means that physician schedulers are accessible anywhere there is an internet connection, including mobile devices.

Scheduling Algorithm

A scheduling algorithm is the brain of the scheduling application. This component of the application is the portion that analyzes your organization’s rules, policies, staff skills, demand, and preferences to create the schedule. The complexity of a scheduling algorithm is what separates a good automated scheduling application from a great one.

Staff Equity

Nobody wants to work more holidays or weekends than anybody else, so it‘s important that schedules be focused on staff equity. When a scheduling application discusses equity it’s talking about automatically ensuing that all staff have an equal or fair distribution of shifts across a set time period.

Request Management

Request management refers to the tracking of physician or staff time-off requests (vacation, medical leave, conferences, etc.), or shift swapping. When an application says it handles “request management” it’s saying it can take incoming time-off or shift swap requests from staff, notify the proper people, ensure that the request doesn’t violate any rules and keep a historical record of the information.