The Virtual Waiting Room
Episode 572

Shelby Sanderford, CEO & Founder of DOCPACE

The Virtual Waiting Room

Waiting for your appointment in a doctor’s lobby can be frustrating. And in this time of COVID, we want to minimize being in public places as much as possible. Today’s guest in the podcast has a great solution to the waiting room problem. Shelby is the founder and CEO of DOCPACE, a virtual waiting room. In this interview, Shelby discusses how her company identifies bottlenecks within the appointment process and helps providers eliminate operational inefficiencies to make a seamless and easy journey for both patients and providers. Tune in and find out how DOCPACE can help your practice!

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The Virtual Waiting Room

Episode 572

About Shelby Sanderford

Shelby is the founder and CEO of DOCPACE. She’s bringing her passion for time efficiency and transparency to the health tech space. And she has a background in health care administration and a deep desire to transform doctor-patient relationships via patent-pending software and machine learning. She received her master’s in business administration from Tulane University and her Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Physiology and enterprise from Southern Methodist University. She just completed the Idea Village accelerator program, Village X.

The Virtual Waiting Room with Shelby Sanderford, CEO & Founder of DOCPACE transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

The Virtual Waiting Room with Shelby Sanderford, CEO & Founder of DOCPACE was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket. Saul Marquez is here. And today I have the privilege of hosting Shelby Sanderford. She is the founder and CEO of Docpace. She’s bringing her passion for time efficiency and transparency to the health tech space. And she has a background in health care administration and a deep desire to transform doctor-patient relationships via patent-pending software and machine learning. She received her master’s in business administration from Tulane University and her Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Physiology and enterprise from Southern Methodist University. She just completed the Idea Village accelerator program. Village X. She founded DOCPACE in 2014 with the mission to reduce wait times for patient-doctor visits and a vision to ultimately eliminate the need for waiting rooms, something that’s really really important here in the post-COVID world, the need to keep patients out of waiting rooms shifted from convenience to safety concern and necessity. As she continues to pursue her passion for improving health care, she’s grateful to have a product that can help the healthcare community during this uncertain time. And it’s going to be a privilege to have a great discussion with her around the company how they’re adding value Pre and Post COVID and during COVID so such a privilege to have you here on the podcast, Shelby Thanks for joining.

Shelby Sanderford:
Saul. Thank you so much for having me here today. I’m excited to dive deeper into conversation with you.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah likewise. So before we dive into the value add that Docpace provides health care Shelby, I love to hear more about what inspires your work in the health care space.

Shelby Sanderford:
Of course. This goes back to my younger days but I’ve always been very passionate about being able to make a difference in the world and having a positive impact on someone else’s life. And when I was an undergrad at Southern Methodist University I had an internship in Healthcare Administration and I was able to see firsthand the unsolved problems that were causing issues for both health care consumers and providers. I was really frustrated by the existing solutions to those problems. So I set out to find a better solution and one that would help both the provider and the consumer, not just a one-sided solution. There’s so much opportunity for improvement in health care and I truly believe that if we can help make the system more convenient for consumers then people will be more incentivized to prioritize their personal care. I want to live in a world where people don’t have to push their health aside because it’s not easy to get care. So with Docpace I’m helping with a tiny portion of this problem but have plans to expand our features to continue to improve the experience for health care consumers. With every additional feature, I’m always keeping in mind how can we align those needs with the needs of the health care providers?

Shelby Sanderford:
Well, Shelby. I think it’s you know it’s great work and the industry is is we’re being forced to be more consumer-centric. I know that for a long time there’s been a lot of talk but today more than ever you know digital health is being just accelerated. You guys are providing something really unique – a virtual waiting room. I mean this is something so key. So tell us a little bit about that but before you know just kind of let’s hone in on how you guys are adding value to the health care ecosystem.

Shelby Sanderford:
So what we’re currently doing is helping identify bottlenecks within the appointment process and helping providers eliminate those operational inefficiencies. When we do this we help make the process an experience for patients a more seamless and easy journey. So a little bit about the virtual waiting room and how it works essentially mimics the airline model for flight status. So everything that your airline does to update you on your flight status. We’ve adopted that and implemented it into healthcare and specifically doctors’ appointments. So for patients, we give them an update prior to their appointment let them know when they’ll be seen. We communicate all through SMS text messaging and we even provide the patient with a link to enter into their own virtual waiting room. And in this virtual waiting room there’s an appointment tracker and an option to check in remotely. So let’s say the patients arrived on site they can check into their appointment letting the staff know that they’ve arrived.

Saul Marquez:
So there’s a lot of different facets to it. Now is this E.R. Is this doctor appointments? Is that all of the above?

Shelby Sanderford:
So how it works is we actually integrate into the existing scheduling system of the provider. And we’re really focused on helping with all pre scheduled appointments so less so in the emergency room or urgent care space where they’re really focused on walk and appointments at day of appointments and we’re more focused on all those pre-existing appointments.

Saul Marquez:
Got it. Got it. And so you’re helping really manage the flow of just routine visits that people are making either primary care or say something more like specialist care.

Shelby Sanderford:
Exactly.

Saul Marquez:
Got it. OK. And so what would you say makes what you guys do different and better than what’s available today.

Shelby Sanderford:
Great question. So in the healthcare world today most of the companies that are solving a similar problem to Docpace are like I was mentioning in their emergency room or urgent care space so they’re really focused on day of appointments and they follow a virtual queuing model where the patient is see a doctor today and they can get in line from home. We’re dealing with pre-existing appointments where the patient has made an appointment maybe months ago just like the airlines do we send the patient and notification two hours prior to their appointment with a real-time update of when they’ll be seen. In addition, we provide the patient with a link to access a real-time appointment tracker where they can continuously see updates until they’re seen. Our virtual waiting room even lets patients check-in from the car when they arrive to the office. Now the patient can go straight from the car to the exam room and the need for the waiting room has been completely eliminated.

Saul Marquez:
Sign me up for that. I mean you know my wife took my son to get his checkup. And you know the kids they’re gonna get their checkup. So you know we’re like we waited we delayed it by a month and still you know she stopped and then had to they went into the office. You know how cool would it have been if that pediatrician who’s great and we love by the way you know had this resource where they could just wait you know chat in the car watch something on the iPad and then when it’s time actually go straight into the exam room. I mean that that would be great.

Shelby Sanderford:
Absolutely. The doctor’s solution is really you know a win-win for both health care providers and healthcare consumers. So not only does the patient not want to have to wait to see their providers, now they don’t have to wait in a waiting room with other patients. And what’s currently happening within doctors offices as a result really of COVID it is that the staff is having to notify the patient ahead of time and ask them to call when they’ve arrived on site and the staff has to keep that patient updated of when the room will be ready. Once the room’s ready the staff to place the call the patient back. So there’s a lot of back and forth communication that’s happening. What Docpace has done is streamlined and automated this back and forth communication making it a better experience for patients and less work for the office staff.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. And you know we’re also busy and you know you probably are listening to this and you have your team that runs whatever you do. And these physician offices are no different. Their teams are already super taxed and they have they’re stretched thin. And on top of that have to call people for when the room is running when it’s not. I mean that’s just a pain.

Shelby Sanderford:
Exactly.

Saul Marquez:
So there’s turnover, there’s satisfaction from both ends like you mentioned Shelby there’s the satisfaction of the employees that are working for you but there’s also the satisfaction the patient and patient scores.

Shelby Sanderford:
Right. Exactly and that’s what we always try and keep in mind is you know how can we align the interests of both the health care providers and health care consumers so whatever solution we’re coming up with let’s make sure that it’s benefiting both sides of it.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. So Shelby how has what you do in the doc pace team improved outcomes and business?

Shelby Sanderford:
So the main thing is that we’re really trying to help both sides of the health care providers and the health care consumers and making this journey for both a better experience. So what we’ve really done is helped eliminate extra work in order to improve the experience for the patient. So we’re always analyzing and looking at trends that are happening within the practice and extracting you know where operational bottlenecks might be occurring for operational fit inefficiencies and then incorporating that data into the future scheduling so that we can actually help these practices better schedule out in the future. So how can we eliminate these delays from ever even happening. And that’s really taking a look at how scheduling is done right now and how can we use what’s happened historically to improve scheduling in the future. That actually allows us to optimize patient flow for the providers so they can end up seeing more patients for the same amount of time. So we’re really ultimately helping them increase their billable hours. So we have an initial goal to help practices be able to see an additional patient per month and that ultimately covers the costs of the product itself actually and then increasing that overtime to help the provider be able to see an additional patient per day. So really helping them optimize their time and provide more care to the community.

Saul Marquez:
That’s great. So you’re really focused on both helping them deliver better outcomes but also helping their top line faculty. Love it, Shelby. That’s so great. You know and there’s never been a more important time than now for a product like yours. And you know I’ve talked to people across the space and you know the areas that are less fortunate like elective procedures right and they’re running into some challenges. So I mean talk about a pandemic proof business here.

Shelby Sanderford:
Yeah. The timing has really been quite crazy of everything. We really also we really only became available to the market this past May. So pandemic hit it became more relevant or the need became more known that there needed to be a virtual waiting room solution. And then our product launched on the market in May. So the timing of everything has been. We’re very grateful that we were available to the market during this time.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. Now that’s awesome and kudos to you and your leadership there for getting the team rallied and up and running in this time because a lot of systems are depending on you guys now. So as you reflect on that you know the building of the company you look in the rearview mirror what would you say is one of those biggest setbacks and what did you learn from it.

Shelby Sanderford:
Great question. So when I take a look at our you know how far we’ve come in the past five years we’ve really had two major pivot point stirring the DOCPACE product journey. So the first was in 2017 when we pivoted from our mobile application to this new kind of airline model that we utilized today. And the second was actually you know this past March when the covered pandemic hit and both required major product changes but both also drastically improved our product not only from a benefit perspective but really from a user’s perspective as well. And each time we’ve had a setback. I think the main takeaway is that it’s forced us to look at our product from a new perspective that was previously being overlooked. So I find that setbacks typically force you to be open-minded and see things in a new light. And when this happens is really when the outcomes become limitless. So sometimes it does take a setback to help get your mindset out of a constrained state. But through these experiences, I now try to actively practice ditching my limiting beliefs so that I can see other opportunities in a more positive light. So the thought might be crazy but it also might just work until you try. You really don’t know. And this has also helped shape one of our company values and that is constant iteration is what makes perfection. And as a team, we’re always experimenting and trying new ways which helps keeps us open-minded.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, I love it Shelby, and you’re committed. I mean you started this company in 2014. That’s six years ago and you had to make a couple of shifts and you know I think this shift is a one that’s going to set you guys up for some major success.

Shelby Sanderford:
Yeah. So you know that’s the other thing we’re always trying to keep in mind too is like where is the market going and how can we be there to help in this shift. It obviously happens quite suddenly so it required quick reaction time but you know how can we be there to help the healthcare community and what does the community really need right now. And that’s one of the things that I’m so grateful for right now as I have been working on this for quite some time now and it’s it’s rewarding to have something that can be of help during this time.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Yeah, and it’s certainly the great time for what you guys do virtual waiting rooms. All of us can benefit from it our loved ones. And if you’re running a health system and you’re listening to this and you’ve been looking for a virtual waiting room thinking there’s an opportunity here with with Shelby and the Docpace team so don’t be shy. Shelby is going to share the best way to contact her and her team so you can engage. But tell us a little bit about what you’re most excited about today Shelby.

Shelby Sanderford:
So let’s see. For me what’s the most exciting. I mean right now it’s incredibly rewarding to have a product that can be of help especially during such an uncertain time. With Docpace basically provide a solution that can immediately help solve others problems. And that’s where I wake up every day and I’m really excited to do. How can I get this product into the hands of more health care providers so both their staff and their patients can have a better experience by doing less work. And that’s what at the end of the day motivates me and excites me the most.

Saul Marquez:
And tell me a little bit about the typical timeline for implementation. You know if somebody says wow this thing that Docpace is doing is really interesting and they reach out to you. What is a typical timeline Shelby from that call to when they’re a]live and patients are actually waiting in the car for their appointment straight to the exam room.

Shelby Sanderford:
So we’re currently live on Athena’s marketplace. So how it works is we actually integrate into the existing scheduling software of the provider so that we don’t require any double inputting so everything just pulls automatically. So if the provider is using Athena health its actually quite a quick process. Once we’ve received consent from them to set up the connection then typically that can happen in a day or two and we can get them up and running within a week. Now if it’s on. Yeah it’s very exciting. And if they’re on another scheduling platforms it depends if we’ve integrated with that platform previously or not. But typically that’s a longer process than if we’re already on the marketplace. So the other thing I will point out is that if it is a web scheduling. So if it’s a web-based scheduling system we have a custom piece of technology that allows us to get those practices set up within a week as well.

Saul Marquez:
Oh really. So if they’re using a web-based one it’s also quick?

Shelby Sanderford:
It is. Yes.

Saul Marquez:
Got it. Now this is great and really insightful you know and so the message here for everyone listening is that it’s a great solution. So I encourage you guys to think about you know the value add that Shelby and the Docpace team is delivering to all of us. And the way we deliver care and the way that we experience health care and I think you guys would be in good hands with the team over at Docpace. So Shelby I appreciate you you answering those questions and before we conclude I know that the listeners may have more questions for you and may want to interact some more so why don’t you leave us with a closing thought and then the best place where the listeners could engage with you and connect after this interview.

Shelby Sanderford:
Saul, you know first I want to say thank you so much for having me on Outcomes Rocket. It is an honor to share my journey with your network and I truly love connecting with people so if you are listening and you’d like to learn more or just to talk. Please feel free to reach out. My email is Shelby at docpace dot com or you can always visit docpace dot come.

Saul Marquez:
Love it, Shelby. It is an incredible pleasure to have had you as well and definitely looking forward to seeing you guys continue to thrive as you help us during this tough time.

Shelby Sanderford:
Thank you.

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Things You’ll Learn

  • Setbacks force you to look at your products from a new perspective that was previously overlooked. Setbacks force you to be open-minded and see things in a new light,
  • Always be experimenting. Try news ways to be open-minded.

 

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