How Thalamus Can Make Program Director Workflow Management More Effective

As a residency program director, you have a lot on your plate, and it’s not just during Match season. The often-unseen operational administrative duties needed to run a medical residency program at a teaching hospital or academic medical center can be overwhelming. To say you and your team have your hands full is an understatement. Whether it’s working ensuring that faculty and trainees meet ACGME accreditation standards, overseeing compliance, or one of the other multitude of tasks, including patient care, there’s a lot going on. And, when Match season heats up, there is even more to do when you work with the residency program leadership team to review candidates and select medical students for interviews. Anything that creates better workflow management and process improvement is welcomed. 

Time—is not on your side

Time management is a perpetual challenge in GME.  Even the most time-efficient residency program director might lose time each day due to some of the biggest organizational time wasters. Outdated technology can seriously hamper workflow management. According to a Business Wire article, nearly one-third of the working year is spent doing administrative work. The same report also showed that many individuals would embrace technology to provide them with more time throughout their day.  With a busy clinical practice, this becomes even more critical.

Even residency programs that have invested in updating their technology may not have thought about whether the various softwares and applications used work well together. In this scenario, you could use several mass market softwares. Still, you and your team spend more time bouncing in and out of applications, scheduling meetings, sending emails, and everything that goes with ranking and building reports during and after Match season. 

Residency Directors biggest workflow pain points

We know this isn’t an exhaustive list, but we also know that Thalamus can help with many of the daily challenges that residency program directors face and increase match success. We developed Thalamus based on our own experiences living the residency application and interview process first-hand. We also have interviewed and worked with thousands of directors and coordinators to learn what would help increase their overall success and create a system for better workflow management. The most significant issues that prevented their residency program interviews from running smoothly were:

  • Integration issues with interviewing applications (i.e., Zoom, Skype, Teams, etc.)
  • Internal communications processes
  • Scheduling conflicts
  • Waitlist management
  • Building reports
  • Candidate evaluation
  • Creating agendas
  • Data analysis

It usually wasn’t one or the other, but a combination of many or all preventing better workflow management. While all these are essential steps in the residency interview process, they can also take a long time to implement and coordinate across teams. Moreover, suppose you are a new program coordinator. In that case, you may just be settling in when Match season begins, so struggling with implementing a variety of programs and coordinating them is one challenge that you don’t need. Fortunately, Thalamus has the prescription for your workflow woes.

How Thalamus can create better workflow management

Thalamus was designed from the bottom up with one goal in mind—create a seamless residency interview process for residency program directors and coordinators, as well as applicants. Our team looked at every challenge that program directors and program coordinators face throughout their day and during Match season, and designed our platform to create a better workflow management tool. 

Better integration and communication

Integration issues aren’t just internal issues. They can affect how resident candidates view your program and the interview process. Even if you follow interview process best practices, a dropped Zoom call can prevent a candidate from giving you their best interview. Plus, a poor experience from a top candidate may have them second-guessing if your program is the right fit. 

Thalamus’s software features a built-in video-conferencing application that integrates directly with your program’s interview, calendar, scoring, and notes for each candidate. Our video software comes equipped with all the features you’d expect, including group meetings and breakout rooms. There is no need for your team or the residency applicants to download video conferencing software. However, if you prefer video conferencing applications like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or Webex, no problem. Thalamus easily integrates with many of the most popular platforms. 

Better scheduling

Scheduling conflicts can lead to a host of internal communication issues. Bouncing in and out of your teams’ calendars, ERAS, and/or SF Match to find interview times that work for everyone, while keeping departments functioning, is a significant time suck and can lead to frustration for residency program leadership and your program coordinator. Thalamus’s cloud-based Advanced Scheduler is designed for residency and fellowship programs of any size. The platform integrates with ERAS and SF Match, as well as other applications systems, and consolidates data into one comprehensive platform. 

Overall in our core platform, you can configure your preferred candidate mix for interviews with the advanced scheduler and our algorithm driven preferences, what we refer to as “Tracks” and “Tiers.” Using this advanced scheduler, you can also set any lockout dates while viewing email notifications and an activity log in real-time, helping you to create better workflow management for you and your program during one of the busiest times of your department’s year. Plus, our integrated itinerary builder and automated itinerary wizard allows you to build out individual applicant and faculty schedules specific to your program’s interview agenda. Your team can print individual and group schedules and scoring, allowing your team to be ready from your first to your last interview. Moreover, Thalamus’s mobile application ensures your candidates don’t miss an interview invitation or key program data.

Better waitlist management

Thalamus also supports the back end of the residency interview process, meaning you can save time and improve your workflow management from application to match. Waitlist management is one of the most time-consuming tasks of the medical residency interview scheduling process. With Thalamus, you can create an automated ordered or pooled waitlist to maximize your interview process, as well as private events for your preferred candidates. 

And when it’s time to send the candidate a message, you can do it straight from your program calendar and keep track of their responses through Thalamus’ internal email log. Like other aspects of our platform, Thalamus’s mobile app ensures your candidates get immediate push notifications and can respond in a timely manner. 

Better reporting and analytics

In medicine, you know that data-driven and evidence-based is key to providing the gold standard for patient care.  You also know that sorting through all the data and peer-reviewed journals can be time-consuming. During Match season, you can suffer from data overload, and analyzing can become a full-time job. Thalamus is equipped with data and analytics tools to help assist programs during the interview and match process. Using our basic and advanced filters, you can simplify the data and focus and instantly build reports for the most valuable metrics for your team.

You’ll be able to instantly create standard reports for GME tracking and oversight. Our platform also allows you to create scoring algorithms to determine optimal candidates for your program. Our platform is cloud-based and integrates with the NRMP R3 system, which means no more printing match lists, scoresheets or paper reports. You can easily export your scoring and ranking to your team, and they will have full access to the reports they need.

New for 2021:  Our team is expanding Thalamus Analytics to include an innovative institutional and program data dashboard to assist in end-of-season recruitment reports, promote holistic review, and assist with DEI and other recruitment initiatives.  Combined with Cortex, our AI application screening tool, the dashboard will offer the keenest insights available in GME.

Better is better.  And best.

Better workflow management helps your training program and leadership team achieve better overall success. At Thalamus, we believe there is a right tool for every job. Our platform is the only software management platform you need to effectively screen, recruit, coordinate, interview and rank your applicants and optimize your program’s match. Our platform takes all the hurdles out of the GME recruitment, interview and match process, while allowing your team to focus on attracting the best applicants and also presenting your program in the best light. Need more proof? No problem. We are happy to lead you through a free demo on how Thalamus can help you create a better workflow management process for your residency program.