Wait List

We're excited to release Cliniko's wait list!

Adding a patient to the wait list

When a patient calls up looking to get an appointment ASAP, open the calendar and find the next open spot for an appointment. After filling out the usual appointment information, you can select Add to wait list.

add to wait list link

This adds some fields that allow you to choose:

  • when the patient is available
  • their selected businesses
  • practitioners they can see
  • if this is urgent
  • and any extra information that would be handy to know

add to wait list fields

Note: If your account has only one practitioner or one business, they will be used by default and you will not see the options to choose them.

When you click the Create appointment button, the patient is booked for this appointment and added to the wait list. If you don't end up finding an appointment for them sooner, they'll be automatically removed from the wait list on the day of this appointment.

Booking a wait listed patient

When you do have a space in your schedule to offer to a wait listed patient. Instead of searching for a patient, choose Select from wait list.

select from wait list

This brings up a pick list of wait listed patients. The list will only show patients that are suitable for the time slot you've chosen (including checking the practitioner and location too). The list is ordered by when the patient was added to the wait list with those marked as urgent grouped at the top.

wait list picker

When you select a patient from the list, you'll see their phone number and the extra info you wrote while adding them to the wait list previously. If the selected appointment type is different than the one the patient is waiting for, the selected appointment type will be automatically changed.

wait list note and phone

If the patient no longer needs the appointment you booked out for them earlier, you can choose to delete it before you save the appointment.

delete wait listed appointment

When you book this appointment, this patient will be removed from the wait list.

Managing your wait list

We hope that booking with the wait list as described above will be your main workflow. However, if you find the need to manage your wait list, click the Wait List button on the left side of the calendar. This button also shows you the number of patients currently on your wait list.

wait list button

From here, you can search the wait list for patients and filter by practitioner and business. You'll find the basics like editing, removing and adding here, as well.

wait list modal

Note If you add a patient to the wait list this way, you will not be given the option to remove their upcoming appointment when booking them from the wait list.

Go try it for yourself

We're so excited to get the wait list into your hands. Give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Want to see the wait list in action? Check out our demo video.

Have more questions? Submit a request


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    Fantastic, can't wait to try it!

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    Stephen Anderson

    Looks great, I'm sure this will be a well used feature. Great Stuff!

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    Sunil Mulay

    Well done team. 5/5, I think!

    Now you can start to think about how you might incorporate automatic notification to clients on the wait list when their preferred time becomes available....!



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    Peak Health Services

    Sigh, I love you guys. <3

    Marie, just click on the wait list button to the left of the scheduler, select add patient and fill in the details - it'll put them on the wait list, but won't schedule an appointment.

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    Joel Friedlaender

    Hi Marie,

    In that case, you just go to the wait list itself and add them there.  No appointment spot is taken.

    The scenario in the video is when you want to book someone in for as soon as possible, you find an appointment in 2 weeks time, so you put them in.  You also add them to the wait list in case something comes up sooner.  This way if you don't find something, they still reserved the next available time.

    You can use it either way, whichever suits you best.


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    This is AWESOME, so so happy & a solve to a busy practice's biggest pain. You guys ROCK!

    1 request would be to be able to search the waitlist for the appointment type (ie physio) so as to see when someone cancels who else might need that.


    Thank you soooo much for this wonderful addition!

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    I love this !! Thankyou - not sure if it possible to run a report on the wait list to track how long clients are waiting from referral date to allocation of appointment ??

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    Terry Wharton

    joel et al


    Excellent, waiting a long time for this.  Seems to work well and will be a much more efficient way to keep track of all the requests for appointments.  

    Some issues that I have are.  

    Can all the patient's contact details be available when you click on the waitlist "more info" button.  We sometimes are calling 3-4 phone numbers for a patient to find them, especially at short notice. Would also be helpful if the address is available.  We have patients drive up to 3 hours for an appointment and it would be helpful to know what community they live in before calling.  

    Another issue is that when I pull a patient off the waiting list to make an appointment in a slot it DOES NOT cancel the original appointment.  It therefore creates an additional appointment and if we forget to remove the original, which is not on the same screen, we will have an issue when the patient does not show up.  An option to cancel upcoming appointment, or a list of upcoming appointments may be of benefit.  

    Can the listing of appointment types be in some sort of order, seems to be random, needs to be alphabetical

    Does the length of time on the waitlist determine the order of listing, we tend to call people who have waited the longest, is this function available?


    All in all should be great and I am sure that as requests for streamlining appear that you will deal with them.  Looks like a complex addition and I am sure you have all be working hard, thank you 





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    John Colvin

    Hi Leona,

    When someone cancels an appointment, instead of going to the wait list looking for someone, try booking a new appointment in that spot and choose "Select from wait list". This will show you who can take the spot with the appointment type listed next to their name.

    Give that a try for a while and let us know what you think. If you find that filtering by appointment type is something that would still be handy for you, let us know.


    • John
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    John Colvin

    One more thing I forgot to mention Leona,

    When you're booking a new appointment and choose "Select from wait list", Cliniko uses the practitioner you've selected for the appointment to filter the wait listed patients you can choose from. This means you'll only see people waiting for appointment types that the practitioner offers.

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    John Colvin

    Hi Terry,

    Glad to hear you're liking the wait list so far.

    I'll make a note about seeing more phone numbers in the wait list. The address would be harder to get in there without adding a lot to that little window. For now, if you have a patient that travels many hours, I suggest jotting that down in the wait list note so you'll see it when you book them.

    The wait list only offers you the option to delete an upcoming appointment if you added the patient to the wait list while booking an appointment for them. I'm guessing you've just transferred your paper wait list into Cliniko. Since those were not added with an appointment, you won't see the delete option. Hopefully this is just part of the transition. Going forward, if you use the workflow described at the beginning of this post, the option should do what you need.

    The wait list is sorted in order that people were added with the urgent ones grouped at the top. If you pick the person at the top, you'll get the person that's been waiting the longest. Because of this ordering, we can't order by appointment type.

    Thanks for your feedback,



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    Katherine Creighton Crook

    Question re: online bookings - if a client is trying to book online and doesn't see availability for what they want, is there an option to add themselves to the waitlist for a particular day/times, or is the waitlist option only available to admins booking people in? Am asking because we have our online booking in an iframe and over it says 'if you'd like to be on the waitlist for a specific time please contact us' which wouldn't apply anymore if they can waitlist themselves. Just asking as I didn't see anywhere if the waitlist appears for online bookings (sorry if it's there and I missed it!). Thanks for this, this will definitely make it easier for waitlisted clients!

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    Bart Lewis

    Hi Katherine! It it just on the admin side right now. We hope to add waitlist to online bookings at some point in the future. 



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    Katherine Creighton Crook

    Thanks Bart! That's great, will keep an eye out so I know when to change the website. In the meantime, thanks again for this - it looks like it was really complicated to code but will be a great help :) 

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    Tracy L Hannigan

    Thank you this is great!! 

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    Lisa Fruhstuck

    This is a great addition to cliniko! We are a multidisciplinary team would be perfect if we could have individual wait lists for speech, OT, PT and Psychologist. Any chance this will happen?

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    Janet Walker

    Great addition, thank you.

    I correspond with clients almost exclusively by email so it would be great if their email address would show up in the Wait List. That way I can easily email them to let them know I have an opening and be sure they want it before booking.

    Adding feature to online booking would be over-the-top amazing. But need class feature group class more urgently. :)


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    The Osteo Group

    Looks good, will start using it but I agree with Terry - contact information would be useful. We don't put the patient name into the available appointment time until they have told us that they can take the appointment (we usually have many wait listed patients to choose from) so will have to go to the file (and there's no link) to get the phone number.

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    Jim Sadusky

    Just wanted to highlight - if you select a patient in the new appointment window on your wait list, their phone number will appear then:


    You'll need to pick the patient from the drop down list, but you won't need to go to their details page.

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    The Osteo Group

    But this only happens if you are actually making an appointment, right?  If you just click on the wait list to see who's there there are no contact details available unless you have put them into the "extra information" box.


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    Ian Lawson

    Does the wait list not allow you to put someone on it for the same day? The most common scenario for us is that someone will call up trying to get an appointment that afternoon, but often we're fully booked so we tell them that if anyone cancels we'll give them a call. But I just tried to add someone to the wait list for this afternoon and it wouldn't let me? Said it had to be in the future?

    Is it possible to just have a wait list for a specific period of time? (ie. someone needs/wants to come in, say, tonight, or tomorrow, but once that time passes they are removed from the list?)

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    Clinton Beeken

    The Osteo Group, that phone number will appear in the Wait List pop up, however only if you click "More Info".



    That is able to handled by the Wait List. If you "Add To Wait List", pick tomorrow as the "Remove On" date, and then they will only be on the wait list for the day.

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    Ian Lawson

    Ok, so let's say John rings up and wants an appointment after 6pm tonight. We say "sorry, we're fully booked, but we'll add you to the waiting list and call you if someone cancels". Someone then cancels, a spot becomes vacant, but then we still need to manually check the wait list to see if someone wanted an appointment at that time, is that right? What if the morning receptionist put them on the wait list, but then the afternoon receptionist takes the cancellation phone call and doesn't think to check the wait list, John may not get offered that spot. Am I understanding that procedure correctly?

    If so, is there a way that we can get notified as soon as a spot opens up that someone on the wait list wanted a spot at that time?

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    Joel Friedlaender

    Hi Ian,

    Firstly, I'd add them as "Urgent" in that situation if you want them to be on top of the wait list, otherwise they'll get added to the bottom and you won't necessarily offer the available spot to them first.

    As for the process, after a cancellation, the receptionist would click the empty space to create a new appointment, and then choose "from waitlist" to try and fill it.  It is a manual process, so they'll need to be cognicent to do so.

    We did consider tying it into the "cancel" functionality, to prompt to fill the spot right away, but didn't think it was the right thing to do.  We assumed if someone calls to cancel, you have them on the phone.  You cancel their appointment, and probably book them in again for a future time.  You wouldn't want to be interupted with wait list functionality while in between cancelling their appointment and booking the next one.

    We thought better to let you do whatever you're trying to do, then if you want to fill the spot from the wait list, it's easy to do.

    With all that in mind, do you still want to be prompted as soon as a appointment is cancelled?


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    John Colvin

    We've just pushed an update for the wait list to show you all of a patient's phone numbers instead of just one. You can see more details on the change in this post.

    Thanks for all of your feedback on the wait list so far!

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    Ian Lawson

    @Joel - can you make tie it in to the "cancel" function but not the "reschedule" function? (or not immediately anyway?) If someone calls to cancel but we move straight on to rescheduling them, we wouldn't select "cancel", we'd select "reschedule". In this case, we wouldn't want a pop-up offering to fill the vacant spot from the wait list getting in the way, or at least not until we'd completed the reschedule of that appointment. 

    I just can't see the receptionist adding an extra step (ie. trying to fill newly vacant spot) every time someone cancels or moves an appointment. In most cases it would be a case of "oh, someone just cancelled tonight, maybe I'll check the wait list and see if anyone wants to book in at that time", but 9 times out of 10 when no one wanted that spot it's going to mean the receptionist eventually becomes less likely to check the list "just in case" someone wanted the spot. If, however, we were to be told immediately "hey, you've got a vacancy at 6pm tonight and Fred Jones wants a spot at that time", then it's a failsafe procedure. Fred will definitely get his appointment, rather than relying on the receptionist remembering to check the list.

    But maybe I'm the only one with this thought?

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    Impressed with where this is at - BUT I always want more.  

    Scenario 1 - I have Patient X booked into a spot 6 weeks away - that's all I could do for them because I want to hold some white space for urgent patients.  I know Patient X is waiting for some test results.  Next week I get a copy of the test results for Patient X - and she needs to see me sooner.  But unfortunately all the white space has now disappeared - SO I go to the appointment in 6 weeks time and try to edit it to add Patient X to the Wait List - but I can't!!  Now you might be tempted to tell me I can just add Patient X to the Wait List from the main Appointments tab - but that doesn't give me a Wait List entry that is coupled to the appointment in 6 weeks.  How about letting me add Patient X to the Wait List when editing an appointment so I can keep it all tightly coupled!


    Scenario 2 - I'm really busy - patients I really need to see again in 6 weeks are being booked in after Xmas - BUT I really want to see them late in November or early December.  In the current paper based system I add them to the paper diary on Monday December 1 - LONG - Patient X - 0444 x3x4x5  See Jan 19.  So I only start looking for a slot for them in the week commencing December 1.  If nothing works out that week they get transferred to the following Monday and so on - they're on my paper-based wait list.  To mimic this existing system, I want to be able to specify a date on which a patient appears on the Cliniko wait list - so that when I make the January 19 appointment I want to be able to specify when Patient X will start to appear on the wait list.  Is this easily do-able??

    Thanks - John

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    Joan Marsden

    I'm with John for his scenario 2 - this is also what we deal with here at our clinic, and am interested in your feedback about this....

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    Vellore Chiropractic & Wellness Centre

    Similar to John, I can see value in being able to specify a beginning date for availability for patient on the wait list. But more importantly for me, it would be very useful to be able to specify _time. _Even a broad-strokes "morning" "afternoon" and "evening" choice in availability would be great. I have many massage patients who can only come in the evenings, which become backlogged and many are on a waitlist. But it's no good to have them pop up as being available to take a 2pm or 10am vacancy. 

    I've already entered their time-of-day availability into the notes section, and it does the job well enough, but having the software account for time when showing available wait list patients would be fabulous :)

    All that being said, I am THRILLED about having a wait-list capability on Cliniko. Only sad that it came just days after I spent hours overhauling my paper system :( 

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    Kelly Seipel

    Hi, is there a way to set a default appointment type to come up when you add a patient to the waiting list just from the left hand admin panel? It seems to be choosing a default appointment type already, but it's the wrong one. Is there a way to change it? Thanks.

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