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There are often times where patients require immediate assistance outside of a clinic’s office hours, so care teams must employ an effective on-call management plan that enables seamless patient-to-provider, after-hours communication.

If your care team does not have an on-call management plan, don’t worry, we are going to guide you through creating on-call rotations that will ensure care teams of all sizes can provide 24/7 patient care.

Key Elements for Healthcare On-Call Management



Assess Your Clinic’s Needs

Before building your on-call management plan, it is essential to evaluate the needs and requirements of your practice. This allows you to tailor the plan to the specific demands of your care team and patients. By evaluating patient volume, peak hours, services provided, and potential emergent patient needs, teams can utilize them to ensure efficient and effective processes. Plus, the proper allocation of resources can prevent provider burnout, ultimately enabling care teams to provide high-quality patient care.

healthcare professional assessing the needs of their clinic

on-call care team discussing their availability and translating it into an OnPage digital schedule



Discuss Staff Availability

Understanding the personal schedules and preferences of care teams helps to ensure that on-call rotations are both equitable and sustainable. When teams openly communicate about schedules they can identify potential coverage gaps, anticipate high volume periods, and ultimately prevent physician burnout. By realistically aligning on-call rotations with the availability of your team, clinics can deliver continuous care even outside of office hours.



Employ Clinical Communication and Collaboration Tools

Your on-call management plan is only as good as your ability to swiftly contact on-call care providers. So, it is essential for clinics to invest in robust clinical communication and collaboration solutions that will mobilize care providers during after-hours patient emergencies.

Doctor receiving critical "page" on their clinical communication and collaboration secure messaging application

How Small Clinics Can Manage On-Call

*As your organization progresses, it is critical to invest in automated tools that enhance on-call management.

Cons of Excel Schedules

health unit coordinator frustrated trying to create Excel on-call schedules

  • No Single Source of Truth: When updating and changing schedules, there may be multiple versions of the on-call schedule in circulation at the same time, increasing the chances of miscommunication and confusion.
  • Messy and Unorganized: Care teams will have to shuffle through multiple pages to find the most recent and up-to-date schedule that may have hand-written shift changes, oftentimes making them unreadable and messy. 
  • Care Teams May Not Have the Right Contact Information: When urgently trying to get in contact with a colleague, care team members may not have access to the on-call clinician’s contact information, making them impossible to reach.
  • Hard to Scale Up: As clinics increase in size, maintaining Excel schedules gets even more difficult when trying to keep track of the entire on-call team. So, care teams should be investing in digital scheduling solutions that will ensure future scalability.
  • Absence of a Backup Plan: Sometimes, an instance may come up where there is a gap in the on-call schedule, with no one to answer critical patient calls. Unfortunately, leaving the patient helpless until the next on-call clinician’s shift.

How Healthcare Teams of All Sizes Can Benefit from OnPage

Simplify On-Call Management

Single Source of Truth: Any changes to the on-call schedule are immediately reflected across all devices, allowing the whole team to access the most recent schedule.

Role-Based Messaging: OnPage’s digital scheduler automatically routes clincal communication, critical “pages,” and even phone calls to the relevant on-call providers.

Scalability: OnPage is there for you as your team scales up with a number of pricing plans and access to integrations that will ensure seamless interoperability between critical health systems.

Fail-Safe Digital Scheduler: In the case of a schedule misconfiguration, OnPage will deliver an alert to the entire care team to ensure someone is always mobilized to patient emergencies.

Automated Alerting: Based on schedule configurations and urgency, high-priority messages are sent to the provider’s mobile device, bypassing the silent switch and continuing to alert for up to 8 hours until acknowledged.




Doctor using the OnPage application for HIPAA compliant secure messaging. The image also displays the on-call digital schedule and escalation policies.

Downloadable Weekly Schedule Template:

on call schedule template *Important Note: This weekly schedule template can be useful for new healthcare teams, however as mentioned throughout this page, it is not a permanent scheduling solution. Teams must consider modern digital scheduling solutions that will enhance their team’s on-call management.

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