Appointment time zones

This article emphasizes the importance of time zone awareness for therapists scheduling appointments across different states, some of which even have multiple time zones. We will explore how to navigate the complexities of scheduling in states with more than one time zone, using tools like Rula's provider portal and the Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. The article also provides guidance on how to ensure accurate scheduling to prevent misunderstandings and enhance client-therapist communication. Additionally, it addresses common questions and technical aspects of managing time zones on different devices, ensuring therapists are equipped to handle these challenges seamlessly.

Time zone awareness

We are rapidly expanding our therapy services to reach clients in all 50 states! Scheduling therapy appointments across time zones can create confusion and logistical issues if the time differences are not addressed carefully. To provide optimal care and avoid problems, it is essential for therapists to keep time zones in mind when booking appointments, even if the therapist and client are located in the same state. In this article, we will discuss the importance of accounting for same-state time zones when scheduling therapy sessions. Proactively addressing time zone considerations demonstrates your commitment to your clients and your practice. It benefits the client, strengthens the therapeutic bond, and reflects professional standards.

If you are located in one of the below states with two time zones, you may occasionally have a client on your roster who lives in a different time zone than you do.

State

Time Zone 1

(majority/default)

Time Zone 2
Alaska AKT HT
Florida ET CT
Idaho PT MT
Indiana ET CT
Kansas CT MT
Kentucky ET CT
Michigan ET CT
Nebraska CT MT
North Dakota CT MT
Oregon PT MT
South Dakota CT MT
Tennessee CT ET
Texas CT MT

 

Scheduling in the provider portal

Rula's provider portal currently defaults to the time zone associated with your computer. Click here to learn more about scheduling appointments in the provider portal.

This means that when scheduling appointments and viewing appointment data, the displayed time may not always align with the local time in which your clients are located. This could potentially lead to misunderstandings and scheduling issues. 

  • For initial appointments: Client appointment email reminders will show in the default time zone of the state, with the time zone shown next to it. There's a chance the client operates in a different time zone so please encourage them to check the time zone in the confirmation email and subsequent reminders they are sent.
  • For follow-up appointments: To ensure accurate appointment scheduling and communication with your clients, we kindly request therapists who schedule appointments with clients in one of the above-listed states to confirm the time zone the client is in before scheduling future appointments. You may do this during your initial appointment with them!
  • For therapist reminders: Therapists do not receive email reminders regarding their appointments. Rula suggests therapists routinely log into the provider portal, check their schedules, and utilize their personal calendars to set reminders.

Scheduling in the EHR

The EHR only allows one time zone per state. This presents a problem with scheduling for clients in another time zone. To ensure accurate appointment scheduling and communication with your clients, we encourage you to schedule all appointments in the provider portal instead of the EHR.

If you would still like to schedule an appointment through the EHR and notice that appointments are listed at a different time zone from your local time, please ensure you make a note on your personal calendar that the appointment will start at another time, for example, an hour before or after your local time. In addition, please confirm your clients’ time zones with them before the end of your initial appointments.

 

FAQs

  1. How will I know which time zone I am in? 
    • Answer: Rula's provider portal currently defaults to the time zone associated with your computer. You can see the time zone in the provider portal on your calendar under the Schedule tab.
  2. If I am in CT and my client is in MT time, how do I schedule?
    • Answer: On your schedule in the Rula Provider Portal, the time zone will show as CDT. When scheduling your client’s sessions, you'll want to let them know this and find a time that works for both of you. Please use time zones in any communications regarding appointments! Avoid simply saying "9:00" or "9:00 am." Here's an example email of what this could look like:
      Untitled design (26).png
  3. If I am traveling, do I need to adjust my time zone?
    • Answer: The portal reflects the time zone of your computer. If your computer has the setting to readjust to the time zone it's in, the appointments will reflect the time zone of the state you are in.
      Example: If your time zone is usually in CT and you have a weekly appointment at noon CT on Tuesdays and then travel to the East Coast, your calendar will switch to ET and that appointment will show up at 1:00 pm ET now.

  4. What will happen if a client or I do not show up to a session due to confusion regarding time zones?
    • Answer: As our emails will clearly state the time zone for all appointments with clients, the no-show policy will be the same in these situations. If you have a client with questions about or looking for more information about canceling in less than 24 hours from their appointment start time, please have them reach out to Support at support@rula.com. If you believe you'll miss an appointment due to a time zone issue, please let your clients know directly. We encourage therapists to establish communication norms with their clients during all initial appointments.

How to check your computer’s time zone

For PC:

  • Go to Start > Settings > Time & language > Date & time.
  • Make sure Set time automatically is set to on.
  • Your time zone will be listed at the top.

Untitled design 1170x602.png

For Mac:

  • Go to System Settings.
  • Search for Date and Time.
  • Make sure Set time and date automatically is set to on.
  • Your time zone will be listed at the bottom.

Untitled design 1398x672.png

Was this article helpful?

0 out of 0 found this helpful