Autism Scheduling

Scheduling autism treatment is highly complex — with complex recurring visits involving multiple therapists…exhaustive documentation requirements and a client base that requires a great deal of flexibility. “We were struggling,” says the founder of the agency. “We had paper flow charts taped all over the wall trying to match staff with students. It was a mess.”

SpectraSoft User Review:

Behavior Analysis Agency

The ABA agency in this case study has received many accolades for their work treating children with autism; but when it came to scheduling that work and documenting the hours, they needed some help themselves.

“We were struggling,” says the founder of the agency. “We had paper flow charts taped all over the wall trying to match staff with students. It was a mess.”

It’s no wonder. Scheduling autism care is extremely complex:

  • As many as five consultants meet with a child several times a week
  • Some kids receive as much as six hours of treatment a day
  • Additional sessions are scheduled separately with the parents/guardians
  • Regular team meetings must also be scheduled, which include everyone involved on the case
  • Even the consultant’s time spent on case management must be scheduled and documented in order to be funded
  • Cancelled sessions need to be rescheduled to maximize treatment effects for clients

Compounding the problem was the exhaustive documentation the agency had to generate for government agencies and school districts that provide virtually all of the funding for autism treatment. That’s when the agency called SpectraSoft.

Efficiency Begins with Visibility

Like most scheduling systems, SpectraSoft displayed the schedule for each consultant on a grid, like a traditional appointment book. What made it different was the ability to see the client’s schedule the same way, as a column on the grid.

The agency uses these columns not only for client appointments, but also to note a client’s “not available times,” such as when they are at school or in other activities.

Another unique feature of the scheduler was the ability to create custom views of the schedule on the fly. When cancellations occur throughout the week, a staff member can place that client’s schedule alongside those of the consultants working on the case. That way the scheduler can easily spot the best times to reschedule.

Increased Productivity Leads to More Revenue

By rescheduling more of their cancellations and reducing staff down time, the agency has already raised consultant productivity by 20 percent. That means consultants get paid for more of their scheduled hours; children receive more services; and the agency generates more revenue.

“After switching to SpectraSoft, we were able to deliver 89 percent of its approved treatment hours, a very high rate for autism home care.”

The scheduling system also provides color-coding options. The agency assigns unique colors to quickly identify consultant time spent directly with the client; indirect time spent on case management; school-funded visits; overlapping appointments with multiple consultants; client meetings and more.

Solid Documentation Ensures Payment, Reduces Audit Risk

Documentation is also a major challenge for any autism center. The SpectraSoft scheduling system keeps track of scheduled visits that are either completed or canceled and then prints reports of consultant hours worked, broken down by funding source. This has dramatically reduced the time needed to file for reimbursement.

The agency uses the scheduling system to print time sheets that are signed by the parent after each visit. This thorough documentation comes in handy when funding sources call with questions. During one recent review, the agency was able to present documentation showing that they delivered on 89 percent of the approved hours, a very high rate for autism home care.

Accessibility to the Schedule Makes Everyone More Productive

SpectraSoft’s Web-based scheduling solution makes it easy for supervisors — each of whom manage about 20 consultants – to keep track of where all those consultants are working at any one time and drop in and observe client sessions on a regular basis.

Better Information Improves Management

Another critical feature of the scheduler is the ability to track and analyze office activity and productivity, including:

  • Funded hours for a client
  • Actual hours delivered
  • Hours cancelled and made up

If cancelled hours have not been made up for a particular client, the agency can follow up with the scheduler or consultant to improve the situation.

SpectraSoft has also benefited from the relationship, incorporating feedback from the agency to create a scheduling system uniquely designed for the needs of autism.

“SpectraSoft has been great to work with,” says the agency founder. “They have created many custom reports for us. Their training and technical support have also been wonderful. It’s huge that we made this happen. We’ve come a long way from taping flow charts on a wall.”