How to Use Online Overrides in Clockwise.MD
Technial Level: Medium
By default, Clockwise.MD will calculate the patients' visit times based on 'velocity', i.e., the number of patients seen per hour. But there may be times when the clinic wishes to choose which slots are available for online patients.This can be accomplished via Clockwise's Online Overrides feature.
In this article, we'll discuss how to configure the Online Overrides, what is affected by the overrides (and what is not), and when best to use the overrides to meet your clinic's goals.
The overrides configuration page can be found on the Clockwise Settings page (https://www.clockwisemd.com/hospitals/xxx/settings) and is located under the Available Times section.
Once on the Online Visit Overrides page, you will note that the override online times has two options: the ability to show the applied overrides to online patients as well as the ability to show the applied overrides to staff. Click on the button(s) that represent the offerings you wish to present. Unless you have dedicated staff for each provider/queue, it is often helpful to present the same available times to both patients and staff.
You will notice the first time you open overrides that there are no values for the Times Between Visits and therefore, no visit times are checked.
Once you have opened overrides, you can set the Time Between Visits (in minutes) by typing the number of minutes you want. In the example below, we have put Sunday at 5 minute intervals, Monday at 15 minutes intervals, Tuesday at 30 minute intervals and Wednesday at 60 minutes intervals. This is not a realistic workflow set up but serves to highlight the changes that take place when setting up slot intervals.
NOTE: you need NOT check every interval! Some clinics elect to uncheck some of the times immediately after the clinic opens to carve out times to see walk-in patients who may have been waiting at the door at opening. The same may be true for closing, i.e., you may have made a commitment to see any patient who makes it into the clinic before closing - but you do not want to offer online visit times in the last 30 or 60 minutes of the day, again, to preserve those times for your walk-in patients. Lastly, you may wish to block off a section of time during the middle of the day to thin out visits so staff can grab lunch. Just know that for each box you check, a visit time will be offered; for each box you uncheck, that visit time will NOT be offered.
You may also find that, given a large number of boxes to check, it is easier to click the Select All box, then DE-SELECT the boxes you do NOT wish to advertise as available visit times. Use whichever is easiest/fastest for you.
Here is the beginning section of a page whereby the clinic has elected to use online overrides Monday through Thursday, has configured overrides to offer the visit times five minutes apart, and has elected not to offer any times for the first hour (assuming the clinic opens at 8:00 AM).
Keep in mind that OFFERING visits five minutes apart does not necessarily mean that your provider(s) will SEE patients five minutes apart. There are two other criteria which can factor into your visit calculations: visit length and internal blocking. Offering visits at smaller intervals just ensures that your patients have the maximum flexibility in scheduling, and that you are not losing opportunities should the patient visit your page seconds after one available time passes.
Be sure that after any/all changes, you click the green Submit Selected Times button upper-right to preserve your changes. All your hard work configuring the overrides will be for naught should you forget to click this button.
Your clinic may know the length of time that is usually associated with certain types of visits, e.g., five minutes for a flu shot, or 30 minutes for a pre-employment physical. If you do know the length of certain visit types, you can assign these 'reasons' a static length and have Clockwise honor that length in its scheduling.
Without delving too deeply into reasons, overrides allow you to OFFER visit times five minutes apart, even if the known length of the visit is, perhaps, 30 minutes. Once the patient chooses a visit time for the 30-minute visit, Clockwise removes the number of visits which are encompassed by the visit length and then no longer advertises those visit times to the next patient. Again, this allows the clinic to offer the maximum flexibility AND to not lose opportunities if the patient visits the registration a few minutes after the last advertised time has passed.
The second limiter of online overrides is internal blocking. Blocking allows a clinic to determine the ratio between online visit times and walk-in visit times, and to balance that ratio by disallowing additional online visits for a certain number of visit slots. This may be a concern in the early implementation stages of Clockwise in which clinics may be concerned that online volume might exceed walk-in traffic and walk-in patients might face long waits with empty wait rooms. By blocking a certain number of visit slots from online visits, the clinic can more closely maintain the desired ratio of online-to-walk-in visits.
This is done by configuring the settings found in Online Sign in Page settings called "Minimum Consecutive Walk Ins" and "Maximum Consecutive Onlines."
Now let's assume that the clinic is using a velocity of 4.0, i.e., four patients per hour or fifteen minutes apart. If the internal blocking configuration is configured to:
Minimum Consecutive Walk Ins = 1 and Maximum Consecutive Onlines = 1 (meaning we block the slot before and after an scheduled online visit) and an online patient selects a visit time of 10:00 AM, the 9:45 and 10:15 visit slot are not shown to online patients and the next available online time becomes 10:30 AM.
The same, however, is not true for walk-in visits. There are no scheduling restrictions for walk-in patients.
You can learn more about online blocking at the following knowledge base article: http://clockwisemd.elevio.help/en/articles/47671
Configuring Time Intervals to Best Suit Your Clinic:
Figuring out which interval (aka time between visits) to use is one of the keys to having overrides work successfully. But before we go any further, let's take a moment and see which criteria Clockwise uses in calculating the visit times, and which of these has priority over or 'trumps' any of the other criteria.
At the heart of the visit times calculation is 'velocity', i.e., how many patients can your clinic see per hour with a single provider. Barring any other criteria, this is how Clockwise will 'slot' or gap your visit times. A velocity of '4' would be 'four patients per hour', and would result in times being offered 15 minutes apart. A velocity of '5' would yield twelve-minute visits, a velocity of '6' would yield ten-minute visits, and so on.
Closely associated to the default velocity is what we call the 'empty exam room velocity'. Basically, empty exam room velocity says, 'See patients at the default velocity... unless I have empty exam rooms - then see patients at 'this' rate-per-hour. This is sometimes used by clinics as they begin their day to fill the exam rooms as quickly as possible, but has the potential drawback of rooming patients faster than a provider can see them, thus creating an early bottleneck and leading to patient disappointment if an expectation is created which cannot be realistically met.
When you create online overrides, you're telling Clockwise to ignore the visit times offered that are calculated through default or empty exam room velocities, and to instead offer visit times based on the intervals you will create in the override section of settings.
While empty exam room velocity will always take priority over default velocity, online overrides will determine which times are shown to patients by using the velocity to calculate the actual time slot and then rounding up to the next available override time.
You will want to carefully consider the following when deciding which time intervals to use:
a) for what type of visits will I be seeing patients, and how do they differ in length?
b) how concerned am I about utilizing all of the time between visits?
Let's address the type and length of visits to be offered: if you know that a new patient visit typically takes 30 minutes, but an existing patient visit only takes ten, you might consider offering your visit times based on either a five- or ten-minute interval. Having visit lengths be 'multiples' of each other allows each to nicely fit in the time slots offered.
Let's consider an extreme example first, and then make more realistic application to normal visit scenarios. Let's assume that each of your clinic visits take 30 minutes, regardless of acuity or complexity. Now let's assume that you set your online override intervals to 30 minute intervals; i.e., 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, etc. What now happens if your potential online patient can be seen at 10:01? He/she only sees the next available slot as being 10:30 so you have potentially lost 29 minutes because your interval was set so high. If, however, you had created your intervals at a lower multiple, say, five minutes apart, your patient would now see the available time as 10:05, allowing the patient to select this time and avoid potentially losing the 29 minutes until the next available time.
Should you have any questions regarding this article, feel free to contact the Clockwise Support team at any of the channels shown in the right sidebar.