There’s many different treatment styles that include overlapping or staggered appointment booking. These can occur in widely varied and unique ways, so we’ll offer some of the most common scenarios below, but it’s always good to test them out with your online booking once you have everything set up to ensure that the settings work for your practice.
Scenario 1: Staggered appointments. You work across 2 rooms or in a shared space and have the clients come in for offset start times. You want to visualize the entire appointment time and need initial assessments completely blocked for one-on-one time with no overlap from the previous appointment.
Scenario 2: Staggered appointments. You work across 2 rooms or in a shared space and have the clients come in for offset start times. You don’t mind having a subsequent visit finishing up while you begin an initial assessment.
Scenario 1: Staggered Appointments Booked in 2 Shifts
You can definitely set this up using the Rooms and Resources features.
Note that you’ll need to be logged in as a user with Full Access and have “Advanced Scheduling” turned on from the Schedule Settings tab under the clinic Settings area.
Step 1: Create Rooms as a Resource First go to Settings > Room Scheduling and create your 2 rooms. Check the box that reads “Make room available in Resource Booking”.
Step 2: Assign Resources to Treatments
To do that, head over to the Settings again, down to Treatments and then open up a treatment by clicking on it, or create a new treatment using the New Treatment button. There’s a section in this create/edit pane to assign resource(s) to the treatment.
Your initial assessments will require 2 Rooms to be available (so that nobody can overlap this visit), and the subsequent visits will only require 1 Room to be available to book, which will allow overlaps.
Step 3: Assign Rooms to Shifts
After creating your room resources and assigning the resources to your treatments, you’ll need to create multiple shifts and assign each shift to a room. You can press the letter “D” on the keyboard to squish the shifts so that you can easily add shifts on the same day. Here’s what that looks like:
Step 4: Staggering Start Times
Next you’ll set up an online stagger for this practitioner that will force Jane to only accept bookings every 30 min or to whatever stagger you’re looking to achieve. To do this, go to the staff profile, click Edit, and then in the Online Booking section, set the “Stagger Online Bookings” option to 30 min.
And that should be it! Any appointments you currently have on the schedule will not have resources assigned to them, so these will need to be edited so you can manually assign a resource to the visit.
I appreciate that there are a few steps here, so don’t hesitate to reach out in case you need any help with this!
In any setup, you can test out how that looks from the admin side by using the Magnifying Glass feature on an appointment to light up the appointments that are being offered:
Or by heading to your online booking page to check it out from the patient’s view:
Scenario 2: Staggered Appointments Booked on ONE Shift
This is another way to do this, but does include the limitation of initial visits overlapping with subsequent visits. It does allow you to keep everything on a single shift and just block off half the amount of time on the schedule without worrying about rooms or resources. I think this simplifies the booking process and the way that the schedule looks to the admin.
For example, if you have 60-minute appointments, but like to have patients come in every 30 minutes, unless it’s an initial visit where you need the entire 60 minutes one-on-one.
Here’s an example of how that works with a single shift.
Number of Shifts: 1
Initial Visit Settings: 60-minute treatment duration and 60-minute scheduled duration
Subsequent Visit Settings: 60-minute treatment duration and 30-minute scheduled duration
And here’s what that looks like on the schedule.
This works because it blocks off the entire hour for those new assessments, while allowing subsequents to come in 30 minutes apart (even though they are able to stay in their room for a full hour).
The patient is still told that the appointment is for one hour in online booking, or you can remove any mention of duration within the treatment settings.
You can use notes on the appointment to assign or communicate which room the patient is in if necessary.
Downsides: You will have an initial visit starting when you have a subsequent treatment finishing up in another room. If you are comfortable with popping over to finish up with a subsequent while you are working with the longer initial visit (say to remove needles and release the patient), this could still be a clean and simple way to manage your schedule.