Your provider’s time is one of the most important resources of your office. Managing that time is vital. Partner’s scheduling module is called
sam, which is short for “
sam program is a patient scheduling system that finds the best appointment time for your patients while helping to ensure your provider’s time is used well.
SAM or the Appointment Book?: PCC offers two different sets of scheduling tools. This article refers to scheduling functionality found in the Practice Management system, where you schedule with SAM. For help with PCC's Appointment Book, the visual scheduler found in PCC EHR, visit Schedule a Patient.
Here are some of the key features of
Automatically finds the best open appointment times based on your criteria
Provides quick access to all open time slots
Allows convenient patient scheduling by multiple people simultaneously
Offers appointment openings based on your providers’ individual needs and preferences
Manages dozens of providers easily
Searches through multiple providers’ schedules at once using provider groups
Can find concurrent or adjacent appointment times for siblings or schedule a single patient with both a provider and an assistant at the same time
Synchronizes scheduling information with the patient record or your EMR
Coordinates schedule information with the rest of Partner to produce visit and/or provider specific encounter forms, handouts, and charge-posting screens.
Reserves sick time and other types of “blocks” throughout your schedule
The Partner scheduler has lots of features and tools, but you can learn to schedule appointments in just five minutes. Here are the steps:
You can run
sam from within several programs, such as Patient Checkin (
checkin). You can also run
sam directly by selecting the Patient Scheduler option from your Daily Operations window (shown below) or by typing
[keycap]sam[/keycap] at a UNIX prompt.
Find a Patient
If you have not carried over a patient from another program, the next step is to find a patient. Follow the instructions on your screen. Finding a patient in
sam is identical to finding a patient in any other program.
Optional: Review Demographics, Other Tools
Once you have found your patient, the screen will show you patient information and allow you to enter the type of appointment you wish to schedule.
Notice that from this screen you can press F2 – inquire to view or cancel the patient’s current and previous appointments. You can also add a relative using F5 – Next Relation, or jump to the
checkin screen to perform other functions by pressing F6 – Demographics.
Enter Appointment Information
At the top of the screen, enter the visit reason, provider, location and time frame for the appointment. You can move among the fields by hitting the ENTER key or the TAB key.
Here are some helpful tips:
An example visit reason for an appointment today might be a “sick” visit. Your office has its own list of visit reasons; use an asterisk (*) to select from that list.
The initial of each patient’s primary care physician (PCP) appears next to the provider box. If the patient is not assigned a PCP, you will see a dash (–).
For the Time Frame, enter the time you would like to start looking for an appointment opening. You can enter a time (“10:00am” or “2pm”) or a date (“10/25/04” or “Oct 25”). The Time Frame field also understands days of the week, names of months, and many other things that a person needing an appointment is likely to say: “Mondays,” “afternoon,” “in 1 month,” and “ASAP” are all time frames.
If you leave the Time Frame boxes blank,
samwill look for the first available time in the next four days that the selected provider has available time.
If you are trying to schedule an appointment for today, just use the word “today” or “sick” as your time frame.
samwill find you available times for today only.
F1 – Schedule
When you hit F1, the computer will take the information you have entered and find the best available times.
Choose the Best Time for the Patient
On the resulting page, you will see a calendar grid showing dates and times based on the information you entered. The best matches for the criteria you entered are in the middle row, which is highlighted. The earliest date and time available are highlighted for you, in the middle of the left-most column, ready to be confirmed.
In the example below, 3:15pm on September 16th with Dr. Kotter is selected. Press F1 – Schedule Appt to start confirming the selected time.
If the patient wants a different time than the one selected automatically, use the right and left arrow keys to move among the columns. The middle row shows you at least four available times, and if you arrow off the screen to the right your view will shift to show you the next available date. You can jump down to the next available appointment within each column by pressing F4 – Next Available.
No Times Available?: If a clinician is fully booked or has no room for the appointment you wish to schedule, you can use the Day View or Detailed View to review the schedule and force in an appointment, or you can press F2 – New Time Frame to return to the SAM Search Criteria screen and use a different time frame.
Confirm the Appointment
Once you have chosen an appointment slot by selecting its box, press F1 – Schedule Appt to start the confirmation process. If you choose the wrong time by mistake, you can still press F12 to return to the previous screen.
On the confirmation screen, you will see complete appointment information so you can confirm it with the patient a final time. Follow the instructions on the screen to add notes about the visit, and then press F1 – Confirm Appt to finalize the appointment.
Note: Until you press F1 – Confirm Appt, the appointment is not made. If you press F12, you will be returned to the Normal View to make a different selection.
There is No Step Eight
You have made the appointment. If the appointment is scheduled for today, an encounter form will print out immediately.
What do you want to do next? You can enter a new patient name and continue scheduling. If you want to check your work on the visit you just made, you can press F2 – Use Last Patient and then press F2 – Inquire. Finally, you can quit
sam by pressing F12.