Time bars are a visual representation of provider time on the schedule and individual appointments. They help you identify when a provider is free - a must when you're double-booking, dovetailing appointments, or just want to ensure the doctor has time to perform hygiene exams. They also tie into the appointment search feature, which makes it easy for you to find appointment slots that fit a patient's needs.
The example below shows provider, appointment, and operatory time bars. Each time bar, and things that influence them, are broken down on this page.
Procedure Time Bars/ Time Pattern
This option makes global changes to your procedure.
Each procedure has a Time Pattern, as set up through Lists > Procedure Codes. This is the foundation for using time bars. These already come set up for you in Practice-Web, so you may not ever need to edit or change them.
As you'll note in the example, the Time Pattern is /X/ and it notes the appointment is 45 minutes at the bottom.
- / references non-provider time. It means the patient is in the chair, but is likely being seen to by an assistant.
- X references provider time. It means the patient is in the chair and with the dentist or hygienist.
The time increments will match your selection in Setup > Appointments > Appointment Views. In the example, we're using 15-minute time increments, so there are three spaces in the 45-minute appointment. Because the pattern is /X/, we know that the assistant will be in the room for the first 15 minutes, the doctor will come in for the second 15 minutes, and the assistant will take the closing 15 minutes.
If you're changing the Time Pattern for all future appointments by procedure, you'll simply click the / or X to toggle between them. You can change the amount of time being scheduled by dragging the slider below / and X up or down.
When multiple procedures are grouped together in one appointment, Practice-Web will automatically group provider time together. For example, if a procedure with the pattern /X/ is scheduled with a procedure with the pattern /XXX/, the appointment pattern will show /XXXX/.
Operatory time bars show when a provider is available. In the example above, three operatory bars are circled. The colors correspond with the provider who is scheduled in that operatory. In this case, Dr. Sam Q. Public/SQ is scheduled in ops 1 and 2, while our hygienist, Tima/TSrdh, is scheduled in op 3.
The presence of Operatory Bars is determined by provider schedules, as set up through Setup > Schedules.
This setup is ideal for offices that have providers who conduct treatment between operatories and have no fixed operatory assignment under Setup > Appts > Operatories. It also allows you to use the automated search tool to find appointments for patients as shown below rather than clicking through days to find an opening.
Provider Time Bars
Provider time bars appear on all Appointment Module views, at the far left as shown in the image below. These indicate the total amount of time a provider is present in an appointment within a given time span.
We can see that the doctor is with patients from 1:15 until 2:15 even though "his" patient has an appointment from 12:45 to 1:45. The extra time represented here is carried over from the hygiene exam he's performing. There are no scheduling conflicts because he finishes with his patient before he needs to do the exam.
But, let's say we decide to bring the hygiene patient over to the doctor's side at the same time he's already seeing a patient. You might get an error like the one below preventing you from double-booking.
The option to prevent bookings this way is set up via Setup > Appointments > Appointment Rules.
If you don't have a rule set up to prevent it, you'll see diagonal lines in the provider time bar at the left. That indicates the provider is double-booked. If three appointments overlap, the spots will be solid black.
Specifying Provider Time in an Appointment
Appointment lengths can be locked or unlocked by default from Appointment Preferences. If locked, the appointment length will not automatically change if you add or remove procedures later.
You can adjust provider time within individual appointments too. This is helpful if you know the patient hasn't been seen in some time and will need more time during a comprehensive exam or if the doctor/ hygienist reports a procedure will take more time than usual. To make an adjustment, simply open an appointment and look in the upper left corner.
In the example above, the white squares represent non-provider time and the blue squares represent provider time. The provider color is determined by provider's appointment color.
Again, this uses the time increments based on the view, which is 15-minute increments in our example. Therefore, the assistant will be in the room for the first 30 minutes, the doctor will be in the room for the next 45, and the assistant will take the final 15 minutes. The bottom portion, which reads 1:30, shows the total time. You can drag it up or down to add or remove time from the appointment.
In this next example, we have two providers represented in the time bar. The hygienist is in column one with four purple blocks and the doctor is in column two with two blue blocks.
Here is another example. We have a doctor in operatory 1 and hygienist in operatory 3.
You can see the doctor's appointment (in blue on the left) is one-hour long. The first two time increments are white and the last two are blue. That means the first 30 minutes is assistant time and the last 30 minutes is time with the doctor. In the hygienist's appointment (in purple on the right), you'll see white, purple, and blue. The white at the start is assistant time. The assistant will be seating the patient and taking x-rays. Then, the purple is for the hygienist's time and the blue represents when the doctor will come in for the exam. The assistant will end the appointment.