RoutingBox Friday Recap: Scheduling on Spreadsheets
The importance of maintaining peak efficiency when it comes to scheduling within the NEMT industry is crucial. Scheduling on spreadsheets is a common practice that can be helpful for some, but for most does not provide the necessary validation or functionality.
One common misconception is that as long as everything is done “electronically,” then the company is being 100% efficient. Spreadsheets are electronic, so does that mean it’s efficient? Most providers have trips coming in from multiple sources in multiple formats. These providers may be working with a local facility, a health plan, or people calling for private pay trips. Getting all of these trips in one place can be a bit cumbersome.
This isn’t to say that this type of record keeping doesn’t work for certain NEMT providers. For example, consider a provider who may only work with one broker that delivers a spreadsheet file with a .CSV format. They may only need to view a very small amount of data from that one broker. In this case, since their functionality requirements are so low, the spreadsheet route may be their best option.
Recurring trips are a common issue for companies who schedule in spreadsheets. These trips are periodically repeated, usually once or twice each week. In a spreadsheet, the trip would manually have to be copy and pasted every week. If a passenger needed to be at their appointment every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, someone would be continuously adding these trips to the next Monday, Wednesday and Friday. While repeatedly copying and pasting this data, many things can go wrong. You may paste the trip on the wrong day, or you may “cut” instead of “copy,” which may take the trip off the original day. These issues may seem trivial but, if you’re audited and can’t provide 100% validated and accurate data, you could lose money or face legal troubles. These common problems can be completely avoided, with all information validated, when using industry-specific software instead of taking the “manual data entry” approach. With a spreadsheet there is no way to assure all the entered data is accurate. Information such as names, addresses, and pickup times can easily be entered incorrectly. With an intelligent trip importer, information is input consistently and is also validated to ensure client data is complete and addresses are accurate. It’s best to protect your organization by validation.
Within RoutingBox, there are various tools that assist with scheduling.
- Recurrence Tool
Our Repeats tool prevents the previously discussed situation where people manually copy and paste information on a spreadsheet for recurring trips. This tool not only eliminates any missed recurring trips, but also intelligently helps you manage exceptions to the schedule. The recurring trips are automatically populated throughout your software, and when making updates, RoutingBox will offer to update the repeating schedule or just an individual exception.
- The Trip Importer
The Trip Importer is able to import information from a wide variety of file types, as well as through direct connections from common large brokers. During the import process, RoutingBox checks to see if trips are for existing clients or whether a new client profile needs to be made. This validation occurs on a variety of fields to maintain HIPAA compliance. The importer also checks addresses against the Microsoft and Google databases to ensure that your drivers will be traveling to a legitimate address. Lastly, the importer is able to remove duplicate information as well as update existing trips.
Once the trips are imported into RoutingBox, they’re easily accessible in the Trip Viewer. You have the ability to view and sort all trips however you see fit. If you want to view the trips in chronological order by pickup time, you can do that. Some trips are for picking up the passenger and some are for dropping them off. RoutingBox allows you to view the “important“ time. In other words, the time that the driver needs to focus on whether they’re picking the passenger up or dropping them off. It calculates the exact time the driver needs to arrive for pickup/ drop-off in order to be on time for each leg of the trip. For example, if a passenger has an appointment at 9 AM, the software will show the time the passenger needs to be picked up to be on time to their appointment at 9 AM. This type of functionality does not exist within spreadsheet scheduling.
It’s time to take control of your scheduling. By utilizing software to assist with your scheduling, you’re creating a more efficient process within your organization that doesn’t permit human error. Although spreadsheet scheduling may seem like the easier route, it typically creates more confusion and an increased workload for you. Trust in a scheduling software to provide 100% accurate and validated information every time.