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Outlook Appointment Integration 

This describes a planned feature that is not yet part of Open Dental.  SoftDent has this feature.

There will be a button in Open Dental that the user will click to initiate a full sync with Outlook, which is also running on the local computer.  There may also be some options that come up, such as date range, which Outlook calendar to use, etc.

Meetings will then be created in Outlook that correspond to the Open Dental appointments.  An individual meeting might look like this:

Technical details: Microsoft is very good about providing rich automation that other programs can use to interact with MS products.  We already do this for MS Word.  Do a google search for "Outlook Object Model", and find the current documentation in msdn.  For example, here is the full C# code for adding an appointment to Outlook:  http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms268752.aspx

How will Open Dental know which appointments to add, delete, or move?  Those problems have actually already been solved for years, because we already sync appointments with a variety of other programs, such as our Mobile App and various Partner Apps.  We have a date/time stamp in our appointments table that keeps track of the last time each appointment was changed.  This will allow us incrementally sync only the changed and new appointments.  We also have a table in the database that tracks deleted appointments that will allow us to remove appointments from Outlook as needed.  So all the machinery is in place for us to add this feature with just a little bit of extra work.  It's competing with a few thousand other features, many of which are also fairly straightforward and useful.  So it's a matter of prioritizing.

 

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