Bookings and Appointments System
Custom Microsoft Access Booking Database with Office Automation
Living is a Bristol based charity offering impartial advice and information about equipment, or products, which help people with physical and/or mental impairments become be more independent.
Our client has to manage the allocation of staff and specialist rooms. Each room is equipped with products and adaptations for a particular area in the home, such as kitchen or bathroom. Service users can try out equipment with a qualified member of staff on hand offering impartial advice and information.
When booking appointments, the specific room had to be reserved together with a staff member with the relevant knowledge and skills. As availability was kept in separate diaries, finding free slots matching both the room required and a suitable staff member was a tricky process.
This was further complicated, as many of the Occupational Therapists have complex work schedules. Some work regular hours on a full or part time basis, but book out dates when they will not be available such as holidays. Others provide a list of ad-hoc dates when they will be available to work on a monthly basis. These have to be booked in as available to work, before they can be booked for an appointment.
Finally, many of the volunteers working on reception or on data input duties have impairments. Some can only use a keyboard, whilst others use specialist input devices.
PC Access developed an appointment system for Living that reflects the way they allocate their bookings. It automatically finds the next available slot matching both the room and the staff member. Staff can now see daily bookings at a glance, ordered by room showing which staff members will be using each room. Alternatively, they can switch to a screen listing appointments by staff member, which shows the rooms that they will be using.
Day sheets are printed, one per appointment, for distributing to staff members at the start of each day. These supply all the information they need for their consultation, together with sections for making their own notes which is fed back into system later.
The user interface is very easy to use, and has been optimised to match precisely the way staff enter and retrieve information. The customised screens allow staff to drill down with keyboard “hot keys”, mouse or a range of specialist input devices. With very little training needed to use the system, little time is lost when inducting new volunteers and part time staff.
The booking system has been integrated with their existing software (an enquiry database (previously developed by PC Access Ltd). This logs details of all calls and visits to the centre, collects statistics for analysis, and provides the reports as required by their funders. Office automation ensures that all relevant documentation is provided as needed.
Software of a similar nature has subsequently been developed for use by similar organisations including British Red Cross Leicester, the Independent Living Centre Dorset and Dialability Oxford.
We have been working with PC Access for over 8 years.
We only had a rough idea of what we wanted when we started developing our data recording system, but each year we have expanded it and added more sophistication. PC Access have always delivered the upgrades within budget and on time.
That the system has proved to be so reliable is testament in itself to the technical expertise of PC Access but they have achieved all this whilst remaining very human and approachable.
Clive Peters, Finance and IT manager, Living (dlc) - a Community Interest Company