How To Schedule Teletherapy Sessions

Posted by Kristin Weingart on

So you've been told it's time to start teletherapy but now how do you schedule all of your kids with as little stress as possible?  At least that was the question I asked myself... Calendly honestly was the solution that I was hoping existed.  And no I don't get paid to say that.  You can get started using it FOR FREE and that is important during this time where there is the possibility or financial hardship.  This blog post is a bit dry as it is intended for you to have pulled up as you go to create your account.  I'm here to help walk you through setting up your account so you're not going through this alone. 

Important Considerations Before You Customize:
When you sign up you'll be set up with their free 14 day trial of the pro platform.  This is nice BUT it's important to note that you'll have access to more features during this 14 day period than you'll be able to keep during the free platform. (that's how they get ya!)  So be mindful of their pricing BEFORE you customize to your liking (click here for their plans).  I highly recommend setting it up and only using the free features even during this pro plan so that you don't have to pay after this period.  As an example, I had initially set up my calendly homepage with two events: one for a 15-minute session and one for a 30-minute session.  I've now reduced it to just one event so that at the end of my trial, things don't get messy!  It sounds complicated but it's actually SUPER user friendly.  I just want you to know that now going into setting it up so you don't learn the hard way or have to pay for something you think is free.  

Free Features Include: 
  • 1 Calendar/User (ex: your work calendar - and only you can use it)
  • unlimited events to be scheduled (ex: can schedule as many sessions as you need)
  • 1 event type (ex: pick one duration either 15 min or 30 minutes and stick to it)
  • automated event notifications 
  • ability to add the sign up to a website 
  • if you're using google meet you can easily integrate conferencing within this platform. 
If you want it to integrate with zoom or other video conferencing features you may consider looking into upgrading your plan after the free trial (depending on your preferences).
Initial Set-Up Steps: 
Step 1: Visit Calendly.com and sign up for a free account 
  • I used my work email - Gmail account so that I could sync my work calendar with this platform.  
  • Click Allow - to allow calendly access to your Gmail account.  This is to be able to update your calendar and invites for meetings (etc). 
Step 2: Decide Upon A URL You Want To Send Families + Double Check The TimeZone 
  • calendly.com/_____ (your URL here)____
  • Some examples include:
    • calendly.com/yourlastname-speech
    • calendly.com/yourlastname-teletherapy
    • calendly.com/Mr/Mrs____ speechtherapy 
Step 3: Make Sure The Right Calendar Is Connected 
  • This is important!  Make sure that the calendar is correct and shows your most up to date availability.  If you're not available, calendly will automatically not let families sign up for a time when you're busy!
  • Your sessions will also be added to this calendar. 
  • If you ever need to verify this is correct or change it later on it's under account > calendar connections
Step 4: Availability 
  • You can edit your availability later but put a rough start and end time and days of week that you plan to allow families to sign up for.  
Step 5: Select "Education" From The Roles Boxes
Customizations To Complete 
Step 1: Personalize Your Account Profile
  • Click "account" in the top right corner 
  • Click "account settings"
  • Upload a Picture!  This is a nice touch for families to see you before the video chats.
  • Add a Welcome Message: mine states... "Hi There! Welcome to my teletherapy speech sign up! I'm excited to connect with you and work with your child 1:1"

Step 2: Customize The Event
  • Name The Event
    • Example: Speech Therapy Session - 30 Minutes 
    • Location: I've selected Google Hangouts/Meet
    • Add a Description:
      • In the description I've reminded families to only sign up for one session per week for now through the rest of the year and that I'll let them know if we can increase the frequency to 2x/week to give everyone a chance to sign up 
      • Include your contact information

  • State When People Can Book
    • Under the Hours Tab:
      • include the duration that matches your event name
      • modify the date range (I allowed sign-ups through the end of our school year)
      • If you want to be unavailable one day, simply click on the date > click I'm unavailable (or make an all-day event that say's you're busy on your connected calendar).  
    • Under The Advanced Tab
      • You can set a max # of sessions each day
      • You can also prevent sessions that are last minute by preventing events a certain # of hours away.  I prevent events that are less than 8 hours away
      • Make sure to buffer your events!  (Allow for 5-10 minutes between sessions if possible! refill your water, go potty, take the puppy out, tend to your kiddos) Calendly allows you to automatically build this in! 
  • Customize The Invitee Questions (you can see what I added below)
    • I added a place for a phone number
    • I also added a space for family to attest that they'll be present for the session (yes/no)
    • I also added a space for them to indicate that they signed the consent form. 
  • Notifications + Cancellations: 
    • I turned on email and text message notifications.
    • in the cancellation policy I wrote the following: "Should you need to cancel your session for the week please know that there may be limited availability to reschedule."

When Your Families Sign Up:

  • I used my work email - Gmail account so that I could sync my work calendar with this platform.  You'll receive an email notification
  • You'll also be able to view the event on the calendar that you have synced with calendly
  • You can also find the events when you log in to your calendly account and click scheduled events.
  • it is under this section that you will also be able to cancel or reschedule a session if needed and review the families contact information.

Private Practice Owners:

You may wish to upgrade your account for your branding purposes and to be able to integrate (private pay) billing with your account. 

 

I hope you enjoy using this system and that it helps you streamline the scheduling process during this time.  If you have any questions or if you found a new way to use it or customize that I haven't mentioned please feel free to share below!  This is meant to start the conversation and help you as you navigate teletherapy services.  It's something I'm starting to implement for my caseload and I hope it is a beneficial read for you.  

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