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ASC frequently asked questions

Automated Shift Callout (ASC) is a new tool that automates the process by which straight time and overtime relief shifts at short notice (within 72 hours) are offered and awarded to staff. This new tool makes it more efficient to receive and accept relief shift offers, using the contact method of your choice: text, email, or phone - or any combination of the three. 

If you have a question that is not answered on this page, email WorkforceSchedulingInquiries@vch.ca

Overview: Automated Shift Callout

ASC supports better patient care by ensuring shifts are filled quickly and appropriately. The existing, manual process is time consuming and does not always result in a shift being filled. With ASC, our existing protocols will be automated and all appropriate staff will be notified of shifts at the same time. ASC also offers you a number of benefits, including:

  • Options for how you want to be notified of shift offers—by text, email, phone call or any combination of the three. Plus an optional notification when a shift you bid on is awarded to someone else.

  • More time to respond to short notice shift offers. An immediate response is no longer required; you will now have at least 15 minutes to bid on a shift.

  • A call log (history) of all your shift offers and bids.

If Workforce Scheduling Services currently calls you for short notice relief shifts (from any of our staffing office locations) ASC will be used to contact you for shifts. If you are currently contacted directly by your unit or department, that will continue.

Exceptions, ASC will notbe used for staff working in:  

  • Bella Coola Hospital

  • Lower Mainland Medical Imaging employees in the Nurses Bargaining Association (BCNU)

  • Lower Mainland Medical Imaging employees in the Health Services Professional Bargaining Association (HSA/Allied)

  • Vancouver General Hospital - Operating Rooms

‎In addition to thorough testing of the automated Shift Callout system by VCH, it was tested and used live over the past two years by Island Health, Interior Health, Fraser Health and Providence Health Care. Many millions of shifts have been called out using the tool.

Straight time and overtime relief shifts at short notice (within 72 hours) offered by Workforce Scheduling Services will come via ASC (with the exceptions noted in the previous answer). Processes for long term scheduling are not changing.

 

Other health authorities are also introducing very similar tools. To avoid confusion, please make sure when connecting to the VCH Employee Portal that the URL begins with characters VCH - https://VCHshifts.vocantasonline.com

Shift offers from the VCH Automated Shift Callout tool will include the following identifiers.

  • Text contains "Vancouver Coastal Health Shift Offer"

  • Email is sent from VCH Shift Offer, contains "Vancouver Coastal Health Shift Offer"

  • Phone call says "Hello this is VCH Staffing calling…"

The help videos found on Youtube do not work in older browsers. On a work computer you can copy the website address into Google Chrome. At home you can use any modern browser.

Accessing the ASC Employee Portal

The ASC Employee Portal is a website that allows you to maintain your own contact preferences, view current offers, bid on shifts offers, and review your shift offer history.         

The ASC Employee Portal is available on the internet; at work, at home or anywhere else with an internet connection.                                  

                                  
 

The website for the VCH ASC Employee Portal is https://vchshifts.vocantasonline.com

Enter a username of the form DOMAIN\username. The domain your account is in depends upon which health authority created it and may be any of: VCH, VRHB, INFOSYS, SFHR or PHSABC

Examples of correctly formatted usernames are:

  • VCH\AUser
  • VRHB\AUser1
  • INFOSYS\AUser2
  • SFHR\Auser3
  • PHSABC\AUser4

Every VCH employee has a network account that can be used to access ASC. If you do not know your username and/or password you can call your Health Authority Service Desk and they will be able to tell you your username and reset your password.

 

ASC to allow access using network accounts from any lower mainland health authority. You may use any network account provided by VCH, PHC, Fraser Health, or PHSA. The account will only provide access to the VCH ASC Employee Portal if it is correctly linked to your VCH Employee ID. While logged into a health authority computer you can view your linked accounts at https://myid.healthbc.org. Please note that the employee number displayed on this page will contain more than 6 digits. The first 6 digits should match your employee ID (numbers after the first 6 digits can be ignored).

 

This message usually indicates that the network account and password combination has been accepted as correct, but that it is not linked to your VCH employee ID. While logged into a health authority computer please go to the page https://myid.healthbc.org, and follow the instructions to link your network account to your VCH Employee ID.

 

When you first use the ASC Employee Portal you will be asked to agree to these terms of use

Contact preferences

Go to the ASC Employee Portal: https://vchshifts.vocantasonline.com

On the Contact Preferences page, click Active to turn on the contact method you wish to use and enter the phone number or email. Note: click Inactive to turn off a contact method.

Remember to click the 'Save Contact Preferences' button before exiting.

Yes. You can choose to receive a text message, email, phone call - or any combination of the three.

Texts are quick to read and respond to. This may be your favourite way to bid on a single shift.

Emails can be longer, allow the detail of an offer containing multiple shifts (a set or block).

Phone calls take more of your time than the other methods. In environments with background noise the computer may not understand your voice commands.

You must enter a number for phone calls so that the Staffing Office can manually contact you about important scheduling matters such as pre-booking, partial shift awards, vacation or other leave requests. It will also be used to offer shifts to you in the event of an ASC system failure. If you do not wish to receive phone calls from ASC, you can enter the phone number then disable it.

Yes, ASC accepts a 10 digit phone number, and will dial long distance within Canada when necessary.

You may choose to only receive shift offers by phone, but many people will find text and email to be quicker and easier.

Yes, you can receive short notice relief shifts (within 72 hours) from ASC using your preference of home or work email address.

Yes. If you change your phone number in ASC and save, and then one second later an offer is sent to you, it will be sent to your new phone number. Edits to your phone number are copied to our ESP Scheduling system overnight, so the next day the staffing office will be able to call you on your preferred phone number entered into ASC.

It is necessary to carefully distinguish between the times when you would like to receive shift offers and your availability (or unavailability). For example, a shift offer goes out on Sunday for a shift that is to be worked the next day (Monday).

Unavailability: You might notify your portfolio clerk that you are unavailable to work on Monday. You would not be contacted for the Monday shift because you are unavailable on the day to be worked.

Contact Preference: You might set your contact preferences such that you are never to be contacted on Sunday. You will not be contacted for the Monday shift because you have indicated that you do not want to receive any shift offers sent out on a Sunday.

While you are out of the country shift notifications will continue to be sent via the ASC tool using the active contact methods specified by you. In the Employee Portal, you are able to inactivate any or all of the contact methods, and re-activate them upon your return. 

If you are going to be away, please remember to submit your unavailability to your portfolio clerk. If you notify your portfolio clerk of the dates that you will be away and unavailable for work, no shifts to be worked while you are unavailable will be offered to you via ASC.

Shift offers

A set of multiple shifts will be offered via ASC if the first shift in the set is within 72 hours, and scheduling guidelines specify that the shifts should be offered together as a set.

Shifts will be offered via ASC only during staffing office hours (05:00 to 23:00).‎

No, courtesy calls will not be made to the unit unless required by collective agreement. Specifically, an overtime shift with less than 24hrs notice for the Facilities Bargaining Association (HEU) will be offered to employees currently at work on the unit.

Cell phone guidelines are subject to change at the discretion of the Unit Manager/ Supervisor. Please review the current cell phone policy for your unit with the Manager/Supervisor. For units where cell phones can be carried, the phone must be on vibrate or silent and can only be used to receive and bid on shift offers.

Please note: Employees are expected to exercise professional discretion when using cell phones at work and VCH will not tolerate their use during patient care or in the presence of patients.

Staff working in areas with poor/no cell coverage might select all three options for receiving shift offers (text, email, and phone). 

Those with easy access to computers can receive shift offers via their Health Authority email. When connected to Wi-Fi at the facility you may view and bid using email or connect to the ASC Employee Portal online. 

Contact your portfolio clerk (Intranet) at your local staffing office. 

 

You should not expect to be offered every shift on the units where you work, only those that you might be eligible to work. Please note the cases below in which you are not eligible to be called.

A shift called at straight time will not be offered to you if

  • you are already working somewhere else

  • awarding you the shift would result in overtime pay

  • awarding you the shift would result in violation of VCH fatigue policy

  • you have indicated unavailability for the dates or times in question

Short notice shifts that remain unfilled at the time the shift starts will still be offered by the staffing office. You may bid on the whole shift on the understanding that should the shift be awarded to you there will be a reasonable period of travel time required for you to get to the unit. Your actual start time can be captured on the unit flow sheet to ensure correct payment for the shift.

 

The staffing office may offer a shift to you knowing that you will only be able to work part of the shift. If you are interested in working extra hours before or after your shift, please respond to the shift offer indicating the hours that you would be willing to work.

For example, if you are working a day shift from 07:00 to 15:00, and receive a shift offer for 11:00 to 19:00 on the same unit. You might reply that you are willing to work the extra four hours from 15:00 to 19:00. We may follow up to book you for part of the shift if we cannot find someone to all of it.

If multiple sick calls are received for the same occupation on the same unit at the same time, each will be offered and awarded separately. To maximise your chances of receiving a shift you should bid on all such shift offers. You can only be the successful awardee for any shift offered if you bid on the associated offer.

 

If you receive two (or more) shifts offers for different units at the same time you may bid on more than one shift, but you are not able to specify a preference. The staffing office may award you any one of the shifts you have offered to work. Once awarded one of the shifts, you are expected to work that shift, and will not be considered for other shifts at the same time.

 

Bidding on shift offers

Reply to shift offer emails and text messages with one of the following characters followed by the unique reference number given in the offer.

  • for "YES, I want this shift (or set of shifts)" e.g. Y12345

  • for "NO, I don't want this shift (or set of shifts)" e.g. N12345

  • for "I can do PART of the shift (e.g. 8am to 1pm)" e.g. P12345 08:00-13:00

  • for "MORE information about the shifts in the set" e.g. M12345

Any other reply will not be accepted.

For a single shift it is possible to express interest in only part of the shift. For a set of shifts you must only bid if you can work the full set. If nobody is able to work the full set, it will be broken up and offered again as single shifts; at which point you may bid on any of the shifts you are interested in.    

    

Additional FAQ 

Download ASC Frequently Asked Questions for additional answers for these sections: 

How long do I have to bid

Awarding shifts

Notifications of award and regret

Difficulties with text or email

Difficulties with phone calls

SOURCE: ASC frequently asked questions ( )
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