Schedule in Partner with SAM

You can schedule patient appointments in the Appointment Book in PCC EHR.

This article is a reference to the previous scheduling system, the SAM program in the Partner Practice Management window.

Introduction to Sam

Partner’s scheduling module is called sam, which is short for “Scheduling and Appointment Minder.” The 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.

How to Schedule in SAM

The Partner scheduler has lots of features and tools, but you can learn to schedule appointments in just five minutes. Here are the steps:

Run sam

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 F2inquire to view or cancel the patient’s current and previous appointments. You can also add a relative using F5Next Relation, or jump to the checkin screen to perform other functions by pressing F6Demographics.

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, sam will 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. sam will 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 F1Schedule 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 F4Next 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 F2New 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 F1Schedule 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 F1Confirm Appt to finalize the appointment.

Note: Until you press F1Confirm 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 F2Use Last Patient and then press F2Inquire. Finally, you can quit sam by pressing F12.

Schedule Multiple Patients in SAM

To learn how to schedule siblings or multiple patients, check out the PCC EHR Appointment Book article, or watch the Schedule Multiple Siblings video.

The procedure below describes how to schedule multiple patients in PCC’s previous scheduling module, SAM.

Find the First Patient

When a caller wants to schedule two siblings or any two patients at the same time, the first step is to find the first patient. Run sam and enter the patient’s name as described in the sections above.

Add Additional Patients

After finding the first patient, press one of the following two keys on the SAM Search Criteria screen:

F3 – Find

Press F3 if you wish to find an additional patient by name, birth date, or other identification. You will see the standard Partner find routines, where you can find any patient or add a new patient. If you are scheduling the same patient for multiple providers, you can press F2Use Last Patient from the find screen to select the current patient a second time.

F5 – Next Relation

Use F5 to add a relation of the current patient. A relation is any patient who shares the same custodian as the currently listed patient. You will see a list of all patients who share the current patient’s custodian.

When you have several patients on the screen, the SAM Search Criteria screen will list them all at the top:

Review Patient Information

You can use the check box at the left to select each patient. Press the left arrow key to enter the box, and then arrow up and down to choose a different patient. The information window in the middle of the screen will change to reveal info for the chosen patient. If the caller is making appointments for physicals, for example, you can verify each of the patients’ last physical date before scheduling.

If you added a patient by mistake, you can remove them from the list by selecting them and pressing F8Clear.

Fill Out Criteria.

Fill out the Visit Reason and Provider fields for each patient. Note that an initial next to the Provider field indicates the patient’s primary care provider. You can select each patient and use F6Demographics if any changes need to be made.

Note: You can specify exactly which provider each sibling should see, or you can use provider groups. If you use a provider group, such as “any”, sam will attempt to find times when both patients can see the same provider.

Enter Time Frame

Enter a time frame and press F1Schedule to find open appointment times.

Note: If you are scheduling multiple patients for more than one provider, the default search is for “serial” appointments; sam assumes that you do not want the visits to overlap. A parent would want to attend the physicals of each child, for example, even if the visits were with two different providers. You can add the time frame of “concurrent” if the caller does not mind having their patients in two different rooms at the same time or if you are scheduling one patient for a simultaneous two-provider visit.

Select the Best Appointment Times

As with one patient, sam will next show you the Normal View:

The middle row shows you the first available times for the first child based on the time frame you entered. The top of the screen will display what time is held for each of the other patients. sam carefully selects available time slots in which all of the listed patients can fit. If you see any offerings, you can trust that all of the patients will fit into the schedule at that time. The Normal View’s columns and rows, however, can only show time selection and provider for one patient.

Always look at the top of the screen when offering times to the caller. The listed times are held by sam, and pressing F1Schedule will begin confirming those times for the patients listed.

Optionally, check the Patient View.

If you wish to see one column for each patient, press F7Patient View. The Patient View option only appears when scheduling multiple patients. It will show you columns for each patient you are scheduling and allow you to see existing appointments surrounding the selected time. If you are scheduling for more than one provider, the Patient View helps you understand each providers’ schedule for the selected day and time.

You can move from left to right to select a different patient. Use F3Previous Available and F4Next Available to scroll to other possible openings in the selected day with the selected provider. sam will continue to calculate the best available times to bring in all of the patients listed. You can return to the Normal View by pressing F8Normal View. The Normal View picks times for you for all patients and lets you move from day to day, but the Patient View helps you understand exactly where the visits will land during the selected day.

Schedule and Confirm the Appointment.

Whatever view is on your screen, press F1Schedule Appt to begin confirming the appointments. Remember that the times and providers you are confirming are always shown at the top of the screen. Read the section below for full details on how to confirm appointments.

One Patient for Two Providers: Do you ever schedule one patient for two different providers at the same time? Does your doctor need a translator, or do you need both a doctor and a nurse practitioner present during certain visits? Use the multiple patient features described below to find the same patient twice and schedule time with two different providers concurrently.

Force a Specific Day and Time: Do you want to use the Day View to force multiple patients into a day that is not offered on the Normal View? You can, but remember that the Day View only selects a single date, time, and provider. If you use the Day View to force in multiple patients, you will be booking back-to-back visits for the same provider starting at the selected time. If that is not what you want, use the Patient View or schedule each patient separately. As mentioned above, always review your selection at the top of the screen before confirming the appointments.

  • Last modified: March 23, 2022