For vol 2 of 'equipment we use' I thought I would post what we have developed to handle a few problems we encountered over scheduling, booking, evaluation and statistics.
Our current simulation program has three locations - two simulation centres and a skills centre. Each of the three locations used to have paper calendars, no online presence, and users would have to call or email each respective location requesting a date and time.
Often requesting dates that are already booked, you can imagine the excessive correspondence back and forth. This process was inefficient and led to a poor user experience.
We decided to hire a developer to build our simulation program a website including an integrated online booking solution.
We started with an overview calendar (img1) on our websites front page. This gave users an opportunity to have a quick glance at location schedules (less detailed).
We color coded our locations to help differentiate them from one another.
Once users identified the location they want to book, they click on that locations button, bringing them to the site specific calendar (img2).
On the site specific calendar you get a more detailed view of the daily schedule. Once you identify an available date and time you start the booking process by clicking the 'Book Now' text on the upper left corner of the date you want. That launches our request form (img3).
The request form is too long to show here, but we capture all the information we need to run the course, invoice (if applicable) and collect statistics.
Once the form is completed and submitted by the requester, three things happen:
1. the requester gets a confirmation email that their request has been made
2. the sim staff get an email notifying them that someone has submitted a request
3. The time requested goes into 'pending mode' on the online calendar - so other users see that a request for that time has already been submitted. We follow a 'first-come-first-serve' policy.
The next step is for the sim staff to login to the back-end booking request list (img4) and review the request. Any requests that are 'pending' will be highlighted in red.
Once they open the booking request (img5), they can edit the form if needed and most importantly - they can add the setup and cleanup time.
Setup and Cleanup times (img6) show users that the location is busy from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, even though the course is from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
Once everything is reviewed, staff will approve the request. The approval automatically sends a confirmation email to the requester and the calendar goes from pending to booked.
We also have a 'reminder' emails automatically sent... 31 days and 8 days prior to their booking.
The final automated process is an online evaluation form (img7) that is emailed to the user a few hours after their session end time. This is an opportunity to receive feedback on our strengths and weaknesses, assisting us with continued development of the program staff, facilities, equipment and processes.
This new system also collects all the information submitted into a database, which we can manipulate for various statistics - from number of learners, hours booked, cadaver use, department statistics, etc...
Hopefully you found some interest and use in this edition of 'equipment we use'.
It is a tool that we are continuing to develop based on need and user feedback, but overall it has been extremely successful.
Please feel free to leave a comment below on your thoughts or your own solutions.
Thanks for reading.
FYI, you can check out equipment we use - vol 1 - communication with confederates / patient simulator voice here.