ClickCare Café

How to Collaborate, Coordinate and Be Off Call

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Mon, Nov 21, 2011 @ 06:11 AM


The holiday season is descending up on us.  How do you know that? Two ways:  

  1. Christmas carols on the office radio. 
  2. Everyone starts writing on the on-call calendar, trading, prioritizing, discussing.

Telemedicine can make this easier or harder. One way to make it easier is to to be sure that you sign out your telemedicine responsibilities just as you do your patients. On-call and coverage are issues. Continuity and coordination of patient care are others.

Who is “on” is a big deal.  So big, as a matter of fact, that we found more that 20 words to describe it. We are sure that you have heard that Eskimos have 100 words to describe snow.

Calendars dictate on-call telemedicine.Hawaiians similarly have many words to describe the emotions of the ocean (full disclosure: some think that  this is an urban myth, see ( Hawaiians have many words to describe the many emotions of the ocean; these words describe their close relationship to their environment.

Beeper does not help collaboration

But have you thought about the fact that nurses and doctors have over 20 words for on-call and coverage?

In our solution, as we enter the crucible of the holiday season, we offer a system that lets users build there own coverage groups and on call notifications. Try to explain that to software engineers. We found that our everyday terms aren’t explicable to very smart people, and our developers are, indeed, very smart people! So, in order to help us clarify what we wanted to say, we started to place the very simple terms into a table. After a few minutes we had added row after row, and discovered nuance after nuance.

We even remembered, that in the modern day of medicine, there is yet another phrase: “Post-Call.” This is a phrase that makes collaboration and ClickCare even more important.

Please look through the table below and add your own words about call and coverage in the comments. But remember, as difficult as it may be, this is a family oriented site, so don’t offer the words that you really use when you have to cover and have to be on call! With great discipline and restraint we, ourselves, were very responsible and even controlled!

  Download our 10 stepsto simply collabora  


Root Word

When used

Root Phrase

Modifying Phrase



Talking to someone who needs to know your schedule:

I’m covering ___

the ER, at Hospital A, but not B, and I am on hand an plastic call

Overview: on call list checked


Talking to a patient who is another doctors patient and in the hospital, or talking over the phone

I’m covering FOR

Hello Ms Jones, I’m Dr Down, I am covering for Dr Salk this weekend.  How are you doing…

Overview: on call list checked


Answering: Who is in you coverage group?

I cover WITH

these other doctors

Coverage group



I cover

GI with Dr Wagenstein, but I cover pediatrics with Dr Down

Two organizations



Who is covering for

Dr. X?




Who is on call for…





Who covers with

the new doctor




…privileges to cover…

You are part of the ENT department, you do not have privileges to cover cardiac surgery

Departmental control (credentialing)



…in the department of…

I have a dual appointment in the surgery department, the vascular section and the radiology department

I have been trained, certified and credentialed in two specialities.



…in the department of…

The disciplinary action will be reviewed by the surgery department and then referred to the medical executive committee

Policy and procedure on done by department.  Often historical and anatomically based.

On Call

Talking to someone who needs to know your schedule:

I’m on call at__

the ER at Hospital A, but not B, and I am on hand an plastic call


On Call and Coverage


I’m covering ___

our practice, but I am not on call for the ER

Call vs coverage


Medical personnel,

regulatory agencies,

civil lawyers, criminal lawyers.

Expectation is that all patients need availability at all times.  To not provide it is abandonment both morally and legally. This is a long tradition.

I did not know I was on call.  I left a message I was out of town.

Did you contact your coverage and document that in the chart?


in the barrel, in the box,






On for what





my shift





on duty







Tags: medical collaboration, medical responsibilities, coordinated care, nurse practitioners, on call

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