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    When a patient uses the Online Diary system to search for an appointment slot, some customers have been confused by the results and believe that the system is not showing the correct results. This FAQ is designed to explain how the Online Diary determines which available time slots to show the customer.

    Let’s presume that a patient requies a 30 minute appointment with Dr John Smith next Monday. On that date, Dr Smith has the folliowing availability :-
    – 9:30am to 11:30am (2 hours free)
    – 2:00pm to 3:00pm (1 hour free)

    What time slots will be offered to the patient? The diary will offer the following slots :-
    – Monday at 9:30am for 30 minutes
    – Monday at 2:00pm for 30 minutes

    In other words, the Online Diary offers the FIRST AVAILABLE slot of any contiguous period of available time.

    Why does it work this way?

    Firstly, if you allowed patients to pick their own time slots then your diary would get in a real mess. If patients could pick any old timeslot, then they could enter something like 10:50 which essentially waste 20 minutes of the practitioner’s time from 10:30 to 10:50.

    Secondly, by far the majority of our customers have appointments of varying lengths e.g. 30 mins for a treatment, 1 hour for a consultation. If you allowed patients to pick appointments every 1/2 hour, then someone could pick 11:30-12:00 and another patient could pick 12:30 to 1pm, leaving 2 fragmented 30 minute slots. If a 3rd patient then wants a consultation (1 hr) it can’t be fitted in that morning and the practitioner is left with a fragmented morning which inefficiently wastes time.

    In summary, by only allowing patients to choose blocks of time which are contiguous, the Online Diary :-
    (a) maximises the efficiency of fitting varying length appointments; and
    (b) stops the practitioners diaries from becoming fragmented

    Q. What if a patient specifically wants an appointment in the middle of the morning e.g. at 11am?

    In that case, when the patient searches for their appointment they should select the time period when they are available – e.g. 11:00am to 12:00pm. In this case, the Online Diary would offer the intersection of when the patient is available and when the practitioner is available. Using the above example, this would be :-
    – Monday at 11:00am for 30 minutes

    Hopefully this helps to explain how the Online Diary reports on available time slots when booking in patients. If you have any questions, please feel free to post below.

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