The Schedule Ability is used to plan out your practice's day. You can schedule patients and simultaneously access their patient records and ledger. The Schedule Ability also contains several tools to keep tabs on the status of your appointments.
This article will guide you through the basics of the Schedule Ability. This article assumes that you have followed the steps in the Setting Up The Schedule Ability article.
The Schedule Documentation contains the following sections.
- General Navigation
- Recalls/Follow Ups
- Find and Find Next
- Viewing and Setting Goals
- Printing And Exporting Schedule Data
Schedule View and Resources
When you first enter the Schedule Ability, today's date will appear by default. All appointments scheduled for this day should be visible.
At the top of the Schedule view, you can see the Resources. Each Resource is a column in the Schedule. You can manage, edit, and re-order these in the Resources Node of the Sidebar.
You'll note that there is a blue bar present on the Schedule View, visible in the above screenshot at the 12:30 PM line. This blue bar indicates the current time of day, to help better distinguish what appointments are upcoming.
In the Sidebar, there are several nodes that organize appointments based on the state of the appointment. Scheduled appointments will reside in the Appointments node.
If you have no patient selected, the node will display all appointments. If a patient IS selected, the results will filter down to display only the selected patient's appointments as shown in the above screenshot.
We won't cover the function of each node in this guide. For a more thorough guide
The Small Calendar in the lower left provides an easy method to navigate from day to day. You can also select a column or a row by clicking on the header of the row or column. For example, if a patient calls in to schedule an appointment and is only available on Wednesdays, you can click on "Wed" in the Small Calendar. The Schedule view will populate the first Wednesday, and by scrolling right you'll see the additionally selected days.
From left to right...
- Date Range Backward (<<): Moves the Appointment Schedule back by the number of days currently selected on the Small Calendar.
- Day Backward (<): Moves the Appointment Schedule back a single day.
- Today: Moves the Appointment Schedule to display Today's date.
- Day Forward (>): Moves the Appointment Schedule forward a single day.
- Date Range Forward (>>): Moves the Appointment Schedule forward by the number of days currently selected on the Small Calendar.
- Horizontal Justify: Moves the Appointment Schedule to display all available time slots, without the need to scroll up and down.
- Vertical Justify (|||): Moves the Appointment Schedule to display all days currently selected on the Small Calendar, without the need to scroll left to right.
Right Click Menu and Enabling Secondary Click
By right-clicking on the Schedule View or on an Appointment in the Sidebar, a contextual menu will appear with several convenient options. With this menu, you can easily switch the status of an appointment, find the next available free spot in a resource, tie appointments to existing recalls.
If your mouse doesn't seem to have right-click functionality, this is likely because the "Secondary Click" option is disabled in the macOS System Preferences. You can enable this feature easily.
Navigate to the Apple Menu, and select "System Preferences".
The System Preferences window will appear. When it does, double click the "Mouse" icon.
Make sure "Secondary Click" is checked.
Creating appointments is as simple as left clicking and dragging on the schedule. This will create a block that will resize as you move the mouse. When you release the left mouse button, this will create the appointment block and immediately open up the Appointment Detail Window.
The example above shows the behavior when a user has a patient already selected before performing the drag and drop. You don't need to have a patient selected prior; you can simply create the appointment block. Both ways will open up the Appointment Detail window, where you can either search for an existing patient or create a new patient.
You can move around appointments by clicking and dragging the appointment to the desired location. You can also adjust the status of the appointment, or mark it as Missed/Cancelled/To Reschedule. Marking an appointment in such a way will move it into the appropriate Missed/Cancelled/To Reschedule nodes in the sidebar.
It is important to note that marking an appointment as "To Reschedule" will retain the original appointment on the schedule for tracking purposes. This means that effectively a new appointment is created when you reschedule an appointment.
The Appointment Detail Window is used to fine-tune the details of a particular appointment. It will appear immediately upon creating an appointment or when double-clicking an appointment.
If a patient was already selected when creating an appt, the Acct#, Last Name, and First Name fields will pre-populate with the correct information.
Otherwise, the window will appear as in the above screenshot. You can click the magnifying glass icon to bring up a search dialogue to look for the patient you'd like to schedule an appointment for. Alternatively, you can type in the last and first name, then press tab. This will attempt to search for the name of the patient you had entered.
It is important to note that to select a pre-existing patient, you'll want to double click the name of the patient within the search window instead of just clicking Save. Otherwise, with "Create New Patient" checked in the lower left of this window, clicking Save will create a new Account.
Most other fields within the Appointment Detail Window are self-explanatory. With a new patient, you can fill out their birth date, phone numbers, and extensions. (Pre-existing accounts will auto-fill these fields)
You can also set the Appointment Type (required), set an initial status, provider, and you can tie this appointment to an existing recall. (You can learn more about Recalls here)
Sometimes you'll want to set up a weekly or monthly recurring appointment for a patient. You can do this by right clicking an existing appointment and selecting "Repeat". This will bring up the Drawer on the Appointment tab.
To set an appointment to repeat, you'll check the "Repeat Appointment" checkbox below the Repeats sub-tab. With that checkbox enabled, you can customize the repeat interval every X days, weeks, months, or years.
You can also set a repeating appointment to end after a number of times, or on a particular date.
Once a repeating appointment is set up, you can view all the linked repeating appointments by selecting the appointment and then viewing the Appointment tab in the drawer.
From here, you can also delete repeating appointments by selecting the appointment in the Repeats table, then pressing the Delete Key on your keyboard. You'll be prompted whether to only delete the repeat information or the original appointment.
Transparencies are largely used to organize your schedule. You can create types of Transparencies that cover general categories that aren't appointments. For example, you can set up a transparency type to mark off meetings, or denote a particular set of times you want a specific appointment scheduled.
If your office has the Patient Portal and Online Scheduling enabled on your license, a Transparency can also denote times when a patient can use Online Scheduling to set up an appointment without calling into the office. For more information on Online Scheduling, please refer to this article.
Recalls and Follow Ups allow you to keep tabs on your repeat business to ensure they don't fall through the cracks. They can be very useful tools, but they require some specific steps to configure properly for your office's needs.
For more information on Recalls/Follow Ups, please refer to the "How to Use Follow Ups/Recalls" guide.
From this screen, you can filter the results you'll receive by selected Resources or Transparencies, and narrow down the days or months that are available. Click "Start Search" to get all available times that meet your selected criteria.
For example, if you want to find the times Dr. Perdue is free in the month of December, Monday thru Friday, we would select Dr. Purdue's name in Resources, choose "December" in the Month list, and we could click Monday and hold shift, then click Friday to select Monday thru Friday.
If you find yourself in need to immediately reschedule an appointment, instead of using the Find Tool, you can simply right click the appointment and use one of the three "Find Next Free Slot" tools.
These options will help you find the next free space available for the right-clicked appointment.
"Find Next Free Slot for Appointment" will find the next free slot for the exact length of the Appointment.
If you're trying to find a free slot for the Resource, use "Find Next Free Slot For Resource".
The On Call node behaves similarly to a waiting list for your patients.
An On Call record is used to alert the user that a space on the schedule has freed up that matches the On Call record for a patient. Alternatively, it can be used to record that a patient was interested in a certain time slot if and when it frees up.
The other way to use the On Call node is to use it as a specific search tool to find open appointment slots that meet the criteria set.
You can set your overall goals in Preferences > Scheduling > Goals Tab, in the "Daily Production Amount" and "Number of Appointments" fields. These will be the default goals for each day on your calendar and takes into account all Resources on your Schedule. From Preferences, you can also choose to hide your goals if you don't want to see them.
On the Calendar Node, progress towards your Goals are noted on each individual day with an appointment, and for the month as a whole in the upper right hand corner. The bars describe, from top to bottom, the Production, Resource Hours available, and Appointment count.
You can also right click on a given day and use the "Set Production Goals" option to adjust the production goals for that particular day. You can also use the "Remove Production Goals", which will also adjust the monthly totals so it doesn't attempt to count for that day.
Many offices like to print out their schedules so they have a written copy available to reference throughout the day. You can easily print the Schedule by either pressing Command-P while on the Appointments Node of the Schedule Ability, or by navigating to the File Menu and selecting "Print..."
Both methods will bring up the Schedule's Print window.
The Schedule's Print Window has several options available to customize the appearance of the printed schedule. You can filter it to specific days or Resources, and you can also print it as a text format by changing the "View Type" selector in the lower left.
You can also export your Schedule to the Calendar app in macOS (iCal) by clicking the "Export to Calendar" button. This will generate an .ics file that you can import.
For more information on printing the Schedule, refer to our Schedule - Print article.
Finally, you can also refer to our Scheduling Reports to pull information from the Schedule Ability.