Faces of the Frontline: Shannon and Carina from Solace Pediatric Home Healthcare share their Skedulo story
Based in Colorado, Solace Pediatric Home Healthcare (Solace) provides pediatric nursing and occupational, physical and speech therapy services to more than 3,500 children across the state.
The company manages around 200 clinicians who deliver in-home evaluations, treatment and support to children from birth to 18 years.
Shannon has worked with Solace for 12 years as a physical therapist. She is also the manager of onboarding, and helps train new clinicians while serving as a clinical mentor.
Carina is a care coordinator who joined Solace 2 years ago after working in a clinic and previously as a school teacher. Carina coordinates appointments between families and therapists; helping to connect the right clinician with each child.
Life on the job before Skedulo
In her 12 years with Solace, Shannon says the company had tried many methods to match clinicians with families and schedule appointments. In the early days this included carbon copy books, which was eventually replaced by emails and spreadsheets.
“Once we transitioned out of carbon copy, care coordinators would send out an email blast to clinicians when referrals came in,” says Shannon. “Clinicians often had questions about the referral, so there was a lot of emailing back and forth.
“It was also tough on clinicians because referrals were allocated on a first-come-first-served basis and we depend on referrals for our income. So if you were out in the field visiting families all day, you would arrive home to a bucket load of emails and you didn’t know if all the referrals had already been picked up and you had missed out.”
“Before Skedulo, I used to have to email care coordinators all the time to make sure they didn’t forget about me when they were allocating referrals.”
Carina also remembers coordinating clinicians and families could get very frustrating. “I always wanted to do more, but I couldn’t. And I hate mistakes, so I would have to spend a lot of time triple checking everything to make sure it was accurate.”
Managing cancellations was another significant challenge, as was deciding when to hire new people.
“We had no system to capture data,” recalls Shannon. “So we would have to guess if our clinicians were fully booked and we needed to recruit more. But if we hire too fast and there are no referrals waiting, new clinicians end up with very few visits which becomes frustrating. It was difficult to find the right balance.”
Life on the job after Skedulo
Shannon and Carina both say that since implementing Skedulo, life and work has changed significantly for clinicians and coordinators.
“Skedulo has improved our ability to efficiently match clinicians with families in ways we didn’t see possible before,” says Shannon. “We’ve come a long way — no more carbon copy and no more email blasts!
“Skedulo has taken the weight off our shoulders because we can count on referrals coming through based on whether we’re available, our skills and the proximity of the family to other families we already see. We don’t have to email back and forth constantly, and I feel Skedulo has allowed me to manage a steady flow of clients.
“It frees me up to trust our care coordinator to fill openings automatically. I worry less about how I will maintain a caseload and trust that it will happen. I no longer need to send personal emails to care coordinators all the time and remind them not to forget about me!”
“Skedulo allows me to focus on my patients because I’m not worried about getting back to my computer to check emails.”
Shannon says another great aspect of Skedulo is communication between herself and families. Skedulo automatically reminds families of upcoming appointments, and lets them know when she’s on her way. Scheduling is also much more efficient which allows Solace clinicians to help more children.
“I love that we can now see where we are going and how long it will take to get there. We can see more children in a day and still give quality treatment but just spend less time driving from home to home. It’s been a huge shift to be more strategic with referral locations so we can be as efficient as possible.”
Carina agrees, and says she can reassure customers about the communications they will receive before their appointment which helps them feel more confident. She also believes Skedulo has given her more confidence personally, and freed her up to do other important tasks.
“When we first started using Skedulo I would double check everything until I trusted the new way of working. Now I know I can depend on Skedulo to help me be more organized and efficient. I know I can schedule without mistakes, and I can schedule much more than I could before. For example, if I could schedule 5 appointments in a day before I can do 15 now with Skedulo.”
“I can now schedule 2 to 3 times as many appointments as before. I had always thought ‘I want this system to do what my brain wants to do!’ And that’s what Skedulo does. I get so excited when I schedule, because I know Skedulo is there for me.”
When it comes to resource planning, Shannon says data now empowers her to make informed hiring decisions.
“As the manager of onboarding, I can use Skedulo to hire with more accuracy. I can find out how many visits a clinician completes in a week, and whether we have families waiting because our clinicians’ schedules are too full. We can see how to grow Solace in a smart way, and hire based on how quickly families are moving through intake.
“From a training perspective, I often start with Skedulo because it’s so easy to train and learn on and new starters feel like they have a win straight away. I love that part of it.”
Having implemented Skedulo well before the COVID-19 lockdown hit in early 2020, Solace staff were able to transition seamlessly to a telehealth model.
“We were able to shift overnight from an in-person to 100% remote model using telemedicine,” says Shannon. “As a clinician I learned how to put caregivers in the driver’s seat to do strategies with the kids. Families embraced the new modality because they appreciated the access without exposure and felt safe.
“Skedulo put us in a good position to adapt to telemedicine quickly, and we feel supported and reassured because we have these systems in place knowing that telemedicine will probably be here to stay in some shape or form.”
I can be there to pick up my kids from school on time, and I can go the extra mile for our Spanish-speaking families.
Skedulo has impacted Shannon and Carina’s personal lives in ways they could never have imagined just a couple of years ago.
“I have a family with 2 kids, so Skedulo allows me to be efficient in the day so I can be there to pick up my kids from school on time. It helps me balance my office life, caseload and family life — and I spend much less time on admin tasks like emailing because I know the system just works.”
“I used to spend my personal time on the computer after the kids had gone to bed. Now I have the freedom to put my computer away. The quality of life is a huge bonus.”
Carina says the extra time she gains from using Skedulo allows her to spend more time walking and hiking.
“I love being outdoors, so Skedulo frees me up to be outside more. But it’s also so much more than that. I have more time to help families in other ways that are close to my heart. For example, lots of our families speak Spanish and not everyone speaks Spanish. I do, so it gives me extra time to speak with those families and go the extra mile.
“Skedulo is doing what I always wanted to do but didn’t have time. I’m so excited by how many more families we can connect with. I think it’s tremendous.”
“I can do more of what I love — connecting families with clinicians so we can be there for them.”
Darcie Peacock, CEO of Solace, also shares how Skedulo has helped the company grow and reduce inefficiencies (such as decreasing patient no-shows by a whopping 84%!). See Darcie’s interview.