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Manage your business visits and private appointments in a single mobile app

Posted by Resco Articles | Mobile & Embedded February 04, 2009
In this article i will create controls which are part of Resco MobileForms Toolkit.
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Introduction

There are many kinds of business applications where the user needs to plan and create appointments with his clients. An example is a patient care application where a medical doctor visits regularly his patients at home. Windows Mobile device with Pocket Outlook Calendar may come in handy, but this program is too general for the specific needs of a medical doctor. That is why medical doctors use a specialized mobile application where they can store additional information in an appointment. Because our doctor is also a human, throughout the day (or week or month) he also has personal appointments or duties which he needs to plan, e.g. lunch with his wife, tennis with his friend or picking up his son from school. Obviously, for these appointments he needs a different application so he decides to use Pocket Outlook Calendar that comes with each Windows Mobile device. However, soon he finds out that using different applications for two kinds of appointments is quite awkward. Each time he adds a private appointment he needs to find out whether it does not clash with a business visit and vice versa.

Patient care application

To deal with the problem, our medical doctor needs an application which is able to manage personal as well as business visits. Since Pocket Outlook data can be read by a custom mobile application, he is looking for a mobile business application which would display the business visits (from e.g. SQL Server Compact Database) and private appointments (from Pocket Outlook Calendar) in one user interface. So let us create it for him.

Usually the business visits are stored together with other business data in a mobile SQL CE database. Since Pocket Outlook data can be read by a custom mobile application, our application will read the appointments and display it together with business visits in one GUI. Our medical doctor needs two main functions in his mobile appointment scheduler:

  1. View the planned visits/appointments
  2. Add new:
    • private appointment
    • business visit

Viewing planned visits/appointments

The medical doctor does not want to spend time learning how to use the new UI. Therefore, let us create UI which is based on the similar UI as Pocket Outlook Calendar. Keeping in mind recent trends and requirements of the modern personal schedulers, the GUI was improved, the overall effectiveness of navigation was enhanced, and the transparency was increased.

Patient Care Today Patient Care Day Week Month

Daily agenda displays all visits/appointments in transparent rows. After the appointment is selected, action buttons allowing direct calls on a cell phone, or mobile phone are displayed. This composition increases user control comfort, and overall efficiency of the usage. When day, week, or month view is preferred, simple selection in the menu can be called. Notice that the different icons at private appointments (home icon) and business visits (briefcase icon) can be used to easily distinguish between them.

Adding new visits/appointments

When doctor needs to add a new appointment, he has two choices in the menu: private or business visit.

Patient Care Visit Patient Care Visit Note

As you can see the business visit form is divided into two tabs. Each tab contains fields related to the purpose of the application. Visit info tab contains patient's contact information such as name, address, date and time of the visit, and prescribed drugs. Notes tab contains relevant additional information such as diagnose details, reason of visit, or personal notes. The business visits are stored in SQL CE mobile database, because they presumably contain specific data related to the patient. That data cannot be stored in Pocket Outlook database.

Patient Care Appointment Patient Care Appointment Note

Now he decides to add a private appointment - lunch with his wife Mary. As soon as the user selects a function to create a new private appointment a form appears which prompts him to input necessary data. Private appointment form has similar structure as business visit. Basic appointment details are shown on the first tab while additional space for notes is located in the Notes tab. The private appointments are stored into Pocket Outlook database so that it is visible and accessible from the Pocket Outlook Calendar.

Conclusion

Managing business visits and private appointments in one application has many advantages. User does not need to switch between the applications just to check whether the planned appointments do not collide. All screens in this article were created using controls which are part of Resco MobileForms Toolkit. These are the benefits of using Resco MobileForms Toolkit for the appointment app:

  • Better screen transparency
  • Easier and more native control
  • More attractive GUI
  • Touch Scroll functionality

Patient care application is just one example of customized appointment app. There are even more mobile applications where the user needs to deal with the described problem. For example a sales agent who visits his customers and delivers ordered products, or a service technician who visits his clients to provide a service. Such services may include a regular maintenance of elevators, air conditioning system, plumbing fixtures, etc.

About Resco MobileForms Toolkit

The Resco MobileForms Toolkit is a suite of Visual Studio 2008 controls designed specifically for mobile devices. For more information about Resco MobileForms Toolkit, visit http://www.resco.net/developer/mobileformstoolkit/default.aspx.

About Resco

Resco is a developer of a wide range of mobile software products for Windows Mobile. Besides the best selling end-user mobile applications, Resco offers also powerful developer controls and tools as well as business mobile solutions.

For more information, visit http://www.resco.net/developer/default.aspx.

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