At Your Service

Every culture around the world rings in the New Year slightly differently. Most gather in city squares or harbors, watch fireworks, listen to music and celebrate. Some observe descending time balls, switch the colors of their favorite buildings and even make them “dance” to the music. At DocMeIn, we paused to celebrate for a day, but were back the next day — hard at work delivering our latest set of new features. The most notable addition of our first 2011 release, made available in the first week of the year, is undoubtedly this: service.

Services allow you to define different types of appointments based on a set of criteria that make sense for your practice. For example, if you are optometrist, you can define eye exam services specifically for new patients, which might be an hour in duration, and separately the same service for existing patients, which might take only 45 minutes. Of course, you can define as many other services as you need: say, a contact lens check, which would only take 15 minutes per visit. You can even specify which services are available for patient self-scheduling and which are not.

All appointments can now be associated with these services, so you know what kind of care the patient needs when she comes in. Appointment duration will be based on whatever service is assigned to the appointment. But the most exciting benefits have to do with scheduling overlapping appointments, which many of you (particularly the chiropractors and the dentists among you!) told us you needed. No workarounds anymore — enter utilization!

Thanks to services, you can now have appointments that don’t block out the practitioner’s time entirely. Along with appointment duration, a service allows you to specify utilization level, which represents the specified percentage of the doctor’s time that the appointment will require for its duration. This means that multiple appointments can now be scheduled for a single doctor at the same time, as long as the total utilization of all overlapping appointments for that doctor does not exceed 100%. For instance, an appointment with a 33% utilization can be scheduled concurrently with two other such appointments or with one appointment that has between a 34 and a 66% (say, 50%) utilization.

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