WEST LIBERTY, Iowa—Entrepreneurs Jens and Megan Zalzala, co-founders of Shaking Earth Digital, along with Jaclyn Hall, have created another innovative digital product that can benefit the local community and people elsewhere. The trio developed Skilled Day, a scheduling software designed for use in skilled nursing facilities. Recently, the Iowa Finance Authority recognized the trio for the positive impact their software can have by presenting them with a $25,000 loan through the Proof of Commercial Relevance Funds program.
Hall, an administrator at a skilled nursing facility, saw a need for software that could better provide scheduling information to nurses, patients, and family members. To help address these concerns, she brought her knowledge of skilled nursing care together with the Zalzalas’ technology skills to develop the program Skilled Day. Hall elaborated, “In building this solution, we were able to engage patients and families in their care by providing transparency to the schedule.”
Hall and the Zalzalas piloted Skilled Day at St. Luke’s Transitional Care Center in Cedar Rapids in 2019. During this trial period, they received positive feedback from the patients, care providers, and families who used it. Hall detailed: “the software helps patients by offering clarity about their schedule, which leads to a more productive and enjoyable stay. It reduces waste and removes conflict for staff. In addition, patients’ families are granted access to the patient’s agenda, allowing them to become engaged participants in the care of their loved one.” Following Skilled Day’s success in its first trial, its creators would like to do an expanded trial at more facilities. They have also made it available for purchase for any facility interested in using it.
In order to continue working on Skilled Day and to help get word out about it to more skilled care facilities, Hall and the Zalzala’s applied for Proof of Commercial Relevance Funds for the project from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. After submitting their initial application, they also presented on the program’s capabilities to the Technology Commercialization Committee on Jan. 9. Their application proved successful, and they received the $25,000 loan they requested.
The group feels pleased with this positive step and looks forward to continuing to develop Skilled Day. “We are thrilled to accept this funding, which will assist us with product refinement and marketing,” said Hall: “This funding will help us to get this product in the market, which is so exciting for us because of the response we’ve gotten from people who have heard about it. We ultimately want to enhance the lives of patients and family members.”