The Calendar feature allows non-integrated practices to publish their available appointment times online in a familiar, calendar-style interface. It also means less manual publishing with the ability to repeat published appointments on certain days of the week, every week or every fortnight.
This article covers how to access and use Calendar. If you do not yet have access to this feature and would like to use it, please contact your Customer Success Manager (CSM) to register your interest in the feature.
To jump to a specific section within the article, please use the links below.
- How to access Calendar
- Using Calendar
- How to change your advance publishing preferences
- How to create available appointments using Calendar
- How to modify available appointments using Calendar
- How to delete available appointments using Calendar
- How to view, cancel or reschedule bookings using the Calendar
- Things to look out for when using Calendar
How to access Calendar
To access Calendar, navigate to the 'Settings' section of your Practice Admin account and click on the 'Manage availability' menu item.
Please note that Calendar is only available for non-integrated customers at this stage and is incompatible with "Schedules" (AKA "Auto-Publish Rules") and "Book Now". If you do not see Calendar on your account and you would like to use it, please discuss this with your Customer Success Manager.
Calendar displays one day of availability for all practitioners associated with your HealthEngine online bookings. The default view is of the current day, but you can navigate to a different day by using the < or > arrow icons in the top left of the interface, or by clicking on the calendar icon to the left of the arrows to select a specific date.
If you haven't set up any practitioners for appointments in HealthEngine, your Calendar will appear "blank" with no columns (see image below).
To resolve this, you'll need to add some practitioners to your appointments. You can do this yourself in the 'Settings' > 'Manage Practitioners' menu in Practice Admin, or if you would like assistance, a Support staff member here at HealthEngine can arrange this for you. Alternatively, if you do not wish to have any of your practitioners set up for appointments, you can continue to use Sidebar or the "Manage availability" page to publish your appointments.
To change the zoom level, simply click the + or - icons on the left, just above the times shown in the main calendar section. We recommend zooming out to the maximum level when starting out to get a full view of your schedules.
How to change your advance publishing preferences
To change your advance publishing preferences, click on the gear icon in the top right (next to the 'Create schedule' button).
This will open a form that enables you to click a drop down list of options for how far in advance you wish to display your available appointments online for patients to book. The default is 28 days in advance.
How to create available appointments using Calendar
To create available appointments, click on the 'Create schedule' button in the top right. This will bring up a form that looks like the image pictured below.
First, start by selecting the practitioner for which you wish to create available appointments. You can do this by clicking on the drop down under 'Schedule for' and selecting the relevant practitioner from the list. The form will select the first practitioner in the list by default.
If you have a lot of practitioners to choose from, you can narrow down the options displayed by typing in the practitioner's name until the relevant option becomes visible in the list.
Once you have selected the relevant practitioner, be sure to check that the date shown under 'Date' matches the date for which you wish to publish available appointments. Note that the form will always default to the date currently displayed in Calendar.
Next, choose for which specialty you wish to publish available appointments for the selected practitioner. The form will select the first specialty in the list by default.
If you have a lot of specialty options to choose from, you can narrow down the options displayed by beginning to type the name of the specialty for which you are looking until the relevant option shows.
The next step is to decide whether you wish to publish just a single available appointment or a block of available appointments. If you choose 'Single appointment', the form will look like the image below.
If you choose 'Block of appointments', the form will look like the image below.
For this example, we will choose 'Block of appointments'.
The next step is to choose the time that the available appointment/s should start. The default is 9:00am. If you've chosen 'Block of appointments' as we have in this example, you will also need to choose a time for the block of appointments to end.
Note that if the practitioner for which you are creating available appointments requires any breaks during the day (e.g. for lunch), you will need to create a separate block of available appointments on either side of the break/s.
Once you have chosen the start and end time for the block of appointments, you can select the appointment length that should be applied for these appointments. The default is 15 minutes.
Finally, you can choose whether the available appointment/s should only be available on the selected date or if you would like them to be repeated into the future. If you only want the available appointment/s to be published on the selected date, you can go ahead and click the 'Add appointments' at the bottom of the form.
If you would like the available appointments to repeat, choose between the "Weekly on", "Fortnightly on", or "Every weekday (Monday to Friday)" options from the drop down list. Selecting "Every weekday (Monday to Friday)" will create the available appointments on every weekday until the specified end date (or indefinitely if no end date is specified). Note that only appointments within the window specified by your advance publishing preferences will appear online for patients to book (e.g. 28 days ahead).
Alternatively, choosing "Weekly on" or "Fortnightly on" will give you the option to choose which days of the week the available appointment/s should be published on each week or each fortnight.
For each repeat option (i.e. "Weekly on", "Fortnightly on", and "Every weekday"), you can choose for the available appointments to either continue indefinitely or to end on a specific date.
Once you are happy with your selections, you can go ahead and click the 'Add appointments' button at the bottom of the form.
Once completed, you can see the available appointments in the Calendar, either on the day that is already open, or by navigating to the relevant date/s using the navigation buttons in the top left of the screen. This allows you to easily check if the correct appointments were added and, if not, to quickly rectify any mistakes.
Note that if you have chosen to publish repeat appointments, you will see these appear in Calendar up until the specified end date (or on all future days if an end date was not specified). However, only the appointments that are within your advance publishing preferences (e.g. the next 28 days) will appear online for patients to book.
This helps you to see what the system is planning to publish before the appointments are published online so that you can be sure that the correct appointments are always appearing online for your patients to book.
If you wish to cross-check the available appointments that are showing up in Calendar with what is showing up on HealthEngine for your patients to book, you can do so by visiting either your Patient Connect Profile on the HealthEngine Network or your Website Plugin on your practice's website to compare the available appointments displayed there.
How to modify available appointments using Calendar
Once you have created some available appointments using Calendar, you may wish to go back and modify them. To do this, simply navigate to the available appointment/s you wish to modify and click on it within the Calendar. This will bring up the 'Manage Availability' window, as seen in the image below, which allows you the ability to view the individual appointment times within a schedule.
You can then click the 'edit schedule' tab at the top of the pop up window to edit the actual schedule you created as shown below:
All of the settings originally entered when this appointment or block of appointments was created are pre-populated in the form so that you can easily change the settings as needed.
When you are happy with the changes, simply click "Update appointments" to apply the change.
PLEASE NOTE: If the appointment or block of appointments you're updating is set to repeat, the changes will be applied to all appointments in the repeat series, not just to the selected date. To make changes to only the appointment or appointment block on a particular day, please use the Manage Availability tab as shown in the next heading below.
How to delete available appointments using Calendar
Once you have created some available appointments using Calendar, you may wish to go back and delete them. To do this, simply navigate to the available appointments you wish to delete and click on them within the Calendar. This will bring up the 'Manage availability' form, as seen in the image below.
You can unpublish individual appointment times within the schedule (e.g. when a patient makes a booking over the phone or in the practice) by clicking the 'x' next to the appointment time.
You then have the ability to easily republish individual appointment times that were unpublished within a schedule by clicking the time slot again.
If you want to delete the entire schedule, click on the 'edit schedule' tab at the top of this window.
Then to delete the appointment schedule, simply click on the 'Delete' button in the bottom-left of the form.
PLEASE NOTE: If the appointment or block of appointments you're deleting is set to repeat, the deletion will be applied to all appointments in the repeat series, not just to the selected date. To delete only the appointment or appointment block on a particular day, please use the Manage Availability tab.
How to view, cancel or reschedule bookings using the Calendar
In the instance that a patient books an appointment and calls you to either cancel, or reschedule, you can manage this change through Calendar. To do this, simply navigate to the booked appointment time you wish to change and click on it within the Calendar. This will bring up the 'Manage availability' form, as seen in the image below.
You can view the booking at an individual appointment time within a schedule by clicking the eye icon next to the appointment time.
To cancel the appointment, you would just click the trash can next to the appointment time:
To reschedule an appointment, you would click the pencil icon next to the appointment.
Once you click the reschedule appointment button you will be presented with the alternative times available for you to reschedule the patient to:
Once you select the new time and confirm the change the patients booking details will be transferred to this new appointment time and they will receive an updated booking confirmation email just as if they had cancelled and rebooked the appointment themselves.
You will also be able to see the booking in the new appointment time in your Calendar:
Things to look out for when using Calendar
There are a few things to look out for when using Calendar.
The first thing to be aware of is that, as mentioned in previous sections of this article, changes to or deletion of existing available appointments that are set to repeat in Calendar will apply to all instances of that availability in the repeat series, not just the instance currently selected.
The next thing to be aware of is that there is some incompatibility between Calendar and Sidebar. For example, if you create some available appointments in Sidebar, they will not appear in Calendar. Additionally, any availability created in Calendar should be modified only in Calendar while Sidebar should be used only to "mark appointments as booked". The reason for this is that any appointments deleted in Sidebar are read by the system as bookings made by patients, and so they won't be republished by Calendar should you republish it on Sidebar. Therefore, changes to your available times created in Calendar should only be made within Calendar.
This will be addressed in future updates, but please be aware of it in the meantime.
We hope you enjoy using Calendar! Please don't hesitate to contact us by phone or email should you experience any issues with Calendar or have any feedback about the feature. We will be happy to assist.