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ASC frequently asked questions

Overview: Automated Shift Callout

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.

 

Call 1-877-239-4133, or email WorkforceSchedulingInquiries@vch.ca for assistance.

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 not be 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


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.

 

ASC supports better patient care by ensuring shifts are filled quickly and appropriately. We hope all staff will want to participate in this automated process that supports safe, quality care. It also offers you a number of benefits, including:

  • Options for how you want to be notified of shift offers—by text, email, or phone - or any combination of the three; and 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.

You can set up your contact preferences in the VCH ASC Employee Portal. All you need is about 5 minutes, a computer with internet access (at work or home) and your Health Authority username and password (the same username you use to log into a work computer and webmail).

If you have trouble with the Employee Portal log-in ask your Health Authority Service Desk for a "password reset for my network account". For other issues, email the team at WorkforceSchedulingInquiries@vch.ca

 

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…"

Preparing for ASC

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.

 

Your Health Authority username and password is the combination you use to log into a work computer when it is first switched on. You may also use it to log into VCH staff webmail. Your health authority

If you have trouble with the Employee Portal log-in ask your Health Authority Service Desk for a "password reset for my network account". For other issues please email the team at WorkforceSchedulingInquiries@vch.ca 

 

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 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.

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 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 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. 

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.

Y for “YES, I want this shift (or set of shifts)” e.g. Y12345

N for “NO, I don’t want this shift (or set of shifts)” e.g. N12345

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

M for “MORE information about the shifts in the set” e.g. M12345

You will always have at least a '15 Minute Window' to bid on a shift.

 

The '15 Minute Window' is the period of time during which bids for a shift offer are considered. The 15 minute window for a shift offer begins at the time the offer was made. Shifts cannot be awarded until this window ends.

 

Shifts are awarded according to current scheduling practices (i.e. fatigue policy and other scheduling rules). If no one bids on the shift during the 15 minute window, the shift offer will remain open and be awarded on a first come-first serve basis. 

 

Yes, you should bid on all shifts you are interested in. 

 

Awarding shifts

Shifts will be awarded according to regular scheduling guidelines, as they are now. The only thing that changes with ASC is the process by which shifts are offered and awarded. This will be automated through the new tool.

 

Shifts will be awarded according to regular scheduling guidelines, as they are now.

 

You will receive a notification by the selected contact method(s) when you have been awarded a shift. The notification includes: the shift icon (same as the unit schedule), start-end time, the unit and the shift offer reference number. 

Example of an award notification received by text:


By default, the option to receive a notification when you have expressed interest in a shift offer but are not awarded the shift is selected. If you leave this option selected you will receive a notification that the shift has been awarded to someone else.

 

Have another question? 

Call 1 (877) 239-4133, or email WorkforceSchedulingInquiries@vch.ca  for assistance. 

SOURCE: ASC frequently asked questions ( )
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