How to Set Up and Use Online Patient Scheduling

Online Patient Scheduling is a purchased tool that works in conjunction with the Patient Portal and allows patients to request appointments via the Patient Portal. This article will cover how to set up the Online Patient Scheduling options in MacPractice.

Something to keep in mind is that if you have EHR purchased, it will be possible to designate certain forms to be sent to the Portal once a patient requests an appointment, this way the patient will be able to fill out any appropriate forms from the Portal. You can read more about Sending EHR Forms to the Portal in this linked article here.

Setting Up Online Patient Scheduling

In order to make Online Patient Scheduling available to patients, a few things need to happen in the Schedule ability.

Configuring the Appointment Type
In the Appointment Type node, you'll need to ensure the Duration box denoting the length of the appointment is filled in.

The "Enable" checkbox underneath the Online Scheduling header at the bottom needs to be checked.


Forms To Complete will provide a list of available forms to send to the patient when they request an appointment (this is only available provided EHR ability and Online Registration have been purchased. Click Here for more information).

Next, the Reason For Visit Display Name will need to be entered. This is the type of appointment that the patient will see on the Patient Portal when scheduling their appointment.

The Patient Type selector will determine whether a new patient, a returning patient, or both will be able to choose this type of Appointment.

The Allow same day scheduling checkbox will determine whether a patient can schedule an appointment on the same day or whether they can only schedule an appointment on subsequent days.

Configuring Online Scheduling Rules
This node designates which providers will be able to be selected with each Appointment Type when the Patient is requesting their Appointment.

When you click the green plus to add a new Rule, it can be named anything. The specific providers associated to the Rule will be selected here. If all of the providers should be selected, there is a Check All box.


In the Appointment Types box, the Appointment Types that have been Enabled will appear here. If all of the Appointment Types should be selected, there is a Check All box.

Configuring Resources
The Online Scheduling Rules set in the Resources node allow for specific Resources to be designated for Enabled Appointment Types.


The green plus at the top right of the Online Scheduling Rules box adds any of the of the existing Online Scheduling Rules. If none exist, they can be created in this window.

There are two Copy buttons. Copy From will take existing rules attached to a different resources and copy them into the selected resource. The Copy To button will take existing Rules from the selected resource and move them to any other resource you choose.

Once selected, the Rule will display the name, days, start and end times, the users selected and the appointment types that are associated.

The days displayed in blue are the days that can be selected by the patient for their appointment request.

 When existing patients book an appointment online, it will appear on your schedule. For a quick visual way to see time slots on our schedule that can potentially be booked online, we recommend creating transparencies for the available times. This is not a necessary step, however. If you do this, you'll want to ensure that the Do Not Schedule and Confirm Appointment rules are disabled for this to work.

Using Online Patient Scheduling

This section will cover the patient's workflow when accessing the Patient Portal to schedule an appointment.

On the Portal site there is a bar that says Schedule An Appointment. Click this bar.


First, you will answer whether the patient in question has been seen by the office or not.

Next, you can choose the reason for your visit. This corresponds with the "Reason For Visit" Display Name in Appointment Types in the Scheduling Ability. 


Once selected, a calendar will appear which allows the new patient to pick a day for their desired appointment.


After a date is selected then the new patient will get to select the provider from a list generated by the Rules set up by the office.


A new page will appear asking for the new patient's name, email and phone information.


The next page is a confirmation of the appointment request.
Note: If the total time of the request has taken more than 10 minutes, the request will time out and the request will need to be filled out again.


When the appointment has been confirmed, they can click on the the Patient Tab and see the forms (if any) that have been sent to them through Online Registration.


If you have the Appointment Type set to include existing patients, then those patients just need to log in to their portal and click the Schedule Appointment button.


Clicking the Schedule Appointment Button will simply take you to the Schedule Appointment tab. At the first question asking if this appointment is for a patient that has been seen by the office, select yes.


Select the reason for visit, which corresponds with the Reason For Visit Display Name on the Appointment Type, found in the Schedule Ability > Appointment Type.

Once selected, a calendar will appear which allows the new patient to pick any available day based on the criteria set up by the office.

After a date is selected then the new patient will get to select the provider from a list generated by the Rules set up by the office.


A new page will appear with a drop down selector for the existing patient. If you didn't intend to schedule an appointment for an existing patient, you can add a new patient here if needed.


The next page is a confirmation of the appointment request. If they don't click "Reserve Appointment" within 10 minutes, the request will expire.

When the appointment has been confirmed, they can click on the their name and under the Register tab, see the forms (if any) that have been sent to them through Online Registration.

When a new patient reserves an appointment, it will appear as an Appointment with an orange border. It will also show in the Pending Patients node and in the Appointments node (in orange text) in the sidebar. You can see an example of this in the below screenshot, under the Dr. Heusinger Resource column, and the orange appointments in the sidebar.

Providers can also be sent a message via Direct Messaging to the "Portal" folder notifying them of the scheduled appointment. You can customize the recipient of this message via the MacPractice Menu > Preferences > Scheduling > Online Tab > User to Receive Online Appointment Notifications.

Existing patients who schedule appointments online will have their appointment appear as normal on the schedule.
NOTE: Creating transparencies for the times in which a patient is able to schedule online is recommended.

If a user needs to see the full pending patient list, the user will need to run one of the Appointment Reports under Reports > Marketing > Patients by Status.

Double clicking on a pending patient's new online appointment opens the Merge Tool.


The Allow This Portal User to Continue to Access This Patient checkbox will ensure the ability of the portal user who created the request to continue to have online access to this account.

The Patient's name will be displayed. If MacPractice recognizes a name similar to one in the database, any matching names will appear in the window and will be selectable. This will help eliminate any duplicate patient accounts.

When a patient account is selected, two columns are displayed, Entered Online and Final MacPractice Demographics.

The Entered Online column shows the information that was entered online. If the box next to the information is checked, then that information will overwrite any pre-existing information that may exist in the account already. If there is no information, then the checked box will ensure that the blank is filled in.

The Final MacPractice Demographics is a preview of the information as it will displayed in the patient's account once the Merge Tool has been used. Working in conjunction with the Entered Online column, it is possible to see what existed in any of the given fields by toggling the checkbox in the Entered Online column. If something existed previously, it will show here when the box next the name of the item is unchecked. Whatever is displayed in the Final MacPractice Demographics column is what will be displayed in the patient's account after the Merge Tool has been used.
Note: If there are multiple phone numbers listed, they can be manipulated into any display order wished by dragging and dropping them appropriately within the box.

If the patient is new and will be in their own account then clicking the Create button will make that account.

Clicking Add to Existing Account will allow the new patient to be added to an existing account.

If a patient is in the database but designated that they are new to the office, click Merge (which replaces Add to Existing Account) and their information will be input into their existing account.
Note: A patient that requests an appointment online and designates that the are new to the office will have their appointment outlined in orange on your schedule. Once the new patient has an account created, their appointment will appear like any other appointment in MacPractice.

The merge tool can be used from all the scheduling reports and the patient by status report.

Emails Sent to The Patient
From time to time, MacPractice will send a message notifying a patient of specific information.

A patient who schedules an appointment online will get an email that notifies the patient any time that appointment is rescheduled to a different time/date, or if the appointment is canceled by office staff.

If an appointment with forms scheduled, an email goes out to the patient with the appropriate forms attached.

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful