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Using the Notes Ability

The Notes Ability is a built-in word processor that can be used to create note letter templates, which can then be used to generate patient notes from those templates. It's a powerful tool to save you time and energy when addressing any note letter needs.

This article will provide an overview of the functionality of the Notes Ability. We'll cover generating patient notes, building a note template, and show how you can set up your note templates to pull information already entered into areas of MacPractice so each note is automatically custom tailored for each patient.

Setting Up Notes Preferences
Before working in the Notes Ability for the first time, it's always a good idea to check and configure the Notes Preferences. Navigate to the MacPractice Menu and select Preferences. Then, search for and click on "Notes" in the Preferences Window sidebar.

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From here, you can adjust several different Preferences that impact the Notes Ability. We recommend you adjust the "Format Date As" field to fit your needs, and confirm that the print margins are correct. Once you are done, simply close the Preferences window.

Creating a blank or a template Patient Note
Patient Notes can be created from scratch or from a template.

Creating a Blank Patient Note

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To create a Blank Patient note, select the New Notes node in the sidebar, as in the image above, and then click the Green Plus above the sidebar. If a patient is selected, a new blank note will be generated for that patient. If no patient is selected, a patient search dialogue will pop up where you can search for and select a patient.

Creating a Note from a Template
Several methods can be used to create a patient note from a Note Template:

  • Select the template in the sidebar and click the plus button above the sidebar to create a new patient note.

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  • Drag a patient's name or a list of names from the List tab in the Drawer to the Note Template (this can be done in the Patients, Schedule, or Notes abilities). This method is typically used to create several patient notes at once.



  • Drag the patient name or appointment from the sidebar to the Note Template in the sidebar of the Patients or Schedule ability. This method is useful for generating a quick note when working out of the Schedule or Patients ability.
    If the Appointment pull fields (not the Appointment Table pull fields) are present in a template, the note must be created by dragging the appointment to the note template in the sidebar of the Scheduling ability. Otherwise, MacPractice will not be able to determine which appointment's information should be pulled into the note.

Managing and Editing Patient Notes
In this section we'll review all of the tools available to manage and lock down your Patient Notes.

Editing Patient Notes
The Note Editor functions as a basic word processor.

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From left to right:

  • Styles Drop Down Menu: This drop down allows you to set bolding, italics, outlining, etc. on any text entry.
  • Justify Buttons: The Justify buttons allow you to set text to be justified on the left side, right side, or middle of the page.
  • Spacing Drop Down: This drop down menu allows you to determine the spacing between lines. This is set to single by default.
  • Lists Drop Down: Lists allow you to add bullet points to a list, or a numbered order to a list. 
  • Fonts Drop Down: This drop down allows you to choose your desired font.
  • Color Selector: The color selector, when clicked, allows you to select any color for your text.
  • Image Selector: The image icon, when clicked, allows you to insert an image into the current Patient Note.
    It is important to note that the Images/Attachments Ability is more suited towards storing images associated to a patient. You can learn how to use the Images/Attachments Ability here.

Categories and Parts
Categories are groupings of similar Parts, which are pre-built sections of text that can be dragged and dropped into a Patient Note. These are useful if you have a few sections of text for situations that you plan on re-using. For example, the below screenshot has the "Cold" Part in the "Subjective" category. The contents of the Part are in the Note Editor. 

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To create a new Category, you can select the Categories Node in the Sidebar, then click the Green Plus. A new Category header will be created where you can name the Category.

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With a Category selected in the Sidebar, the Green Plus and Red Minus will appear next to the Category as shown in the above screenshot. This allows you to add and delete Parts. With a Part selected, you can then use the Note Editor to create that part.

To move a Part into a Patient Note, with a Note selected simply drag and drop the desired Part to the Note.

Locking Patient Notes
Locking a Patient Note will prevent any future changes from occurring on the Note. A note that has been locked cannot be unlocked, so it's important to ensure the note is exactly how you want it before you lock it. Locking a note can be important to ensure that a patient's history is retained, and it's helpful to lock down correspondence sent for auditing purposes later.

To lock a note, simply drag the note in the Sidebar into the "Locked" node. (The Locked checkbox is for usage with Templates instead of Patient Notes).

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Archiving and Unarchiving Notes
Archiving a note will remove it from the sidebar as if you had deleted the item, but it can be retrievable should you change your mind later or need to refer to the note. To archive a note, simply select the note in the Sidebar, then click the Red Minus button at the top of the sidebar. Alternatively, you can select the note and press the Delete key on your keyboard. A confirmation prompt will appear.

To unarchive a Note, you can navigate to the File Menu > Retrieve Archived > Notes.

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A window will appear with all archived notes, which you can unarchive as you wish.

Creating and Managing Templates
This section will cover how to set up Templates and get the most out of them to make creating Patient-specific notes as quick and easy as possible.

Creating a Blank Template
Creating a template is as simple as creating a Patient Note. Select the Templates node, then click the Green Plus above the Sidebar. The template's initial contents (pull fields, text, and margins) are pulled from the Default Template record.

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With a new template, you can begin to enter text, and drag and drop in elements from the pull field palette in the lower left that will pull in information for that patient automatically. When writing a Template, you want to write it in such a way that it can be used for multiple purposes. Here is an example for a new patient note template:

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All pull field elements in the above example are noted by <<>>'s, indicating that this information will be populated with the correct patient's data, as well as the office's data. If the office's demographics were to change, this note template would update accordingly due to the usage of the office pull fields.

When a Template is saved, it will have the Locked checkbox checked. This will prevent changes unless you intentionally uncheck the Locked checkbox.

Please refer to our Knowledge Base article on Template Basics for more information on how to create and edit Templates. For more information on Pull Fields, please refer to Notes - Pull Field Basics. Finally, don't forget that if you ever have any questions or you're having trouble achieving a specific result, don't hesitate to contact MacPractice Support!

Shared Templates
Within the Shared Template Node in the Notes Ability, MacPractice contains a library of templates created by other MacPractice users that can be downloaded and added to your office's database. These Shared Templates can then be customized to meet your specific needs.

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To peruse the available Templates, select the Specialties you'd like to peruse, then click the Apply button within the Shared Templates node. This will populate the list of available Templates for the selected Specialties. From there, you can select a Template and click the Download button to download the Template.

Downloaded Templates are stored in the Downloads node.

Uploading Templates
One convenient feature with Shared Templates is that you can upload your created templates to the Shared Template library, which will allow you to download those templates on different clients.

To upload a note template, you'll first want to save a copy on your disk drive. First, with the Template you wish to upload selected, navigate to the Notes menu and select "Export Template..."

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The Save window will open. Name the file and save the location to a convenient location you can refer to easily, then click Save.

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With that template file created and saved, navigate to the Notes menu again and select "Upload Notes Template to Server..." listed below "Export Template..." You will be prompted to select a file. Locate the Template you just created and saved, select it and click Open.
You'll receive an alert that will either indicate that the upload was successful, or that the note has already been uploaded. Once complete, you can then download that note from any other client.

If you encounter any issues uploading Templates, please contact MacPractice Support.

Note Template Groups
Note Template Groups provide a tool to keep your Note Templates organized for easy access in the future. They essentially function as Template folders.

To create a new Note Template Group, select the Note Template Group node, then click the Green Plus in the sidebar. From there, you can name and determine where in order the Note Template Group should be displayed in the sidebar.

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The first two nodes will always be Templates and Downloads (0 and 1, respectively).

Once created, a node similar to Templates and Downloads will be present, with your chosen name on the label.

Notes Images and Image Pull Fields
Incorporating Images into Notes and Templates is a relatively easy task.

First, you can add an Image directly into any Note by either using the Image Selector when editing a Note, or dragging and dropping an image into the Note.

Second, if you plan on using a particular image frequently, such as your practice's logo, you can add them to the Notes Images node by selecting the Notes Images node. Click the green plus button in the upper left hand corner.

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A Tag is needed to reference this Notes Image in your Templates. Enter a Tag that you can easily enter, and click Import to select the image. A new window will open - select the desired image, click Open, and the image will be displayed in the Note Image box as in the above screenshot.

Once the Notes Image is added to the Notes Image node, you can use an Images Pull field to access this Notes Image. Under Images in the Pull Field Palette, there will be a new entry with the Tag chosen in Notes Images. When this Tag is used, that imported Notes Image will be posted in the Note or Template.

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Third, there are several Image Pull Fields available that will allow you to pull in information from other parts of MacPractice. You can review these in the Notes - Images article.

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