Patient Online Bookings (A Quick Overview)

What are Patient Online Bookings?

Patient online bookings gives you the ability to let your patients book in for appointments online. Cliniko provides you with a unique bookings page that you can direct your patients to. Any patient can then use the online bookings, new or existing. There is no need for your patients to have a log in, the booking page will collect some basic details and then either match them to a patient in your system, or create a new patient record for them.

Can patients see my full schedule?

No they can't. Cliniko will offer your patients time blocks to choose from in each morning, afternoon and evening. If you don't have any availability at that time, nothing will be offered. If they require more appointment options they will still need to contact you to make a booking.

Healthy_Times_-_Book_appointment.png

Is there anything else I should know?

A few things:

  • We have some protection in place to prevent people booking in many appointments. There are restrictions on how many appointments can be booked from one location in a short space of time. If you are testing the feature yourself you may encounter this.
  • It is important to ensure your appointment types are set up correctly and you have the right practitioners allocated to them. This can be done in Settings→Appointment Types.
  • The appointment availability times offered are the first available time slot in each of the different day parts (morning, afternoon and evening). We take into account the duration of the service selected. Morning is 12am - Midday. Afternoon is Midday to 5pm. Evening is 5pm to Midnight. Obviously we only offer times that are within each practitioners work hours.
  • Patients have the ability to download an iCal to add to their own calendars. They also receive a confirmation email (it has an iCal file too). Keep in mind the patient will only receive an email confirmation if you have them turned on in Settings→Appointment Types
  • If a new patient is created during this process, they will have the appointment reminder type that is your default in Settings→Appointment Reminders. It's a good idea to check you have that set correctly.
  • You don't have to use this feature. It requires you to explicitly turn it on. There is no need to worry that people will start booking in online if you don't want it.
 
To find out how to set up Online Bookings for your account, click on through!
Have more questions? Submit a request

Comments

  • Avatar
    Richard Baggott la Velle

    Development Ideas:

    * Icon on diary to show that the appointment has been made online. (already discussed on facebook)

    * A way of limiting the appointment types available to online bookers - for example we offer a free assessment service but dont really want these to be chosen via the online booking.

    This is a great addition Joel (and team!) well done indeed!

  • Avatar
    Richard Baggott la Velle

    We have different charges (and appointment lengths) at our different clinics and therefore different appointment types - this is another incidence where being able to switch off some appointment types and not others would be helpful i think. Or is there a way of setting things up so this works more smoothly - currently all Osteo appointment types are selectable in both clinics.

  • Avatar
    Joel Friedlaender

    It depends on practitioner availability and the appointment types they are linked to.  If you have practitioners linked to an appointment type, and that practitioner has a shift at the clinic, then the appointment type will show.  If you have a practitioner working at both clinics then they will be bringing the appointment types to both.  Does that make sense?

    We will have to think about how to solve your problem.

  • Avatar
    Daniel O'Sullivan

    For me, I would rather tell the online booking system when appointments are available instead of the system making decisions for me. Sometimes just because the time is free doesn't mean I want to see a patient.

     

    Thanks

    Dan

  • Avatar
    Chris Stapleton

    I use the 'unavailable' appointment type in those sort of gaps, I guess that would remove it from the option of online booking and solve that problem...?

  • Avatar
    Chris Stapleton

    Joel, could you tell me the max pixel height x width of the logo (I think it said 40px height, but width?) 

    Cheers

    Chris

  • Avatar
    Tyraus Farrelly

    Hi Joel,

    Great work, I agree with some of the comments above, being able to select appointment types that show in the online booking and a notification to the clinic of the online booking with possibly a little icon on the booking within the calendar would be great.

    Another feature I think would be important is the ability to select patients you may wish to restrict from online bookings.

    Is there a specific cancellation timeframe if someone books online and say decides to cancel just prior to appointment. When patients book online it could be perceived as easier to cancel whenever they wish as there has been no personal interaction.  Possible a final stage within the booking process a cancellation policy with a mandatory agree/disagree tick box prior to final processing of appointment, disagree would cancel the booking process!

    One last query, it doesn't seem to show available appointments for the current day, I can see the tab but doesn't show any availability.

    Once again, great work with a bit of tweaking this will be a huge addition to Cliniko!

     Regards,

    Tyraus

     

  • Avatar
    Oliver Murphy

    Thks Joel,

    This does look very nice indeed - I think Tyraus above summarises the additional "tweeks" very well.  but I'll do it again anyway...;-) 

    1) ability to make appointments types private (eg we have a blockout and home visit types that we don't want to advertise)

    2) allow these bookings to be traceable (ie marked appointment - (possibly searchable to be cheeky), captured in a recent "activity log" and bcc email to the "communication" email address) this will also help us manage patient database quality.

    3) Agree statement check box - to engender some commitment

    cheers

    Olly

  • Avatar
    Joel Friedlaender

    Thanks for the great feedback.  We will make some of these changes right away.  First up will be choosing appointment types that shouldn't display in online bookings.  

    As for booking in on the same day, would people prefer this? We can do it, we just thought you might want people to call and check if they are booking in for right away?  Is there any limit you would want.. not within the next hour?

    This feedback is really so helpful, I am sure it help make this feature even better.

  • Avatar
    Tyraus Farrelly

    I think not having the same day booking option would lead people who are looking to get an appointment that day, to think there are no available slots, possibly leading to a loss of potential income.

    For me having say an option we can select for no booking within the next 1, 2, or 3 hours would be enough.  If we were to get email notification of an online booking, date and time, 1 hour would be enougth as we can always mark time slots as not available if we have an extended time which we didn't want any bookings. 

    Apart from this, I think a more pressing matter is the cancelation policy agreement.  Don't think I would use online bookings unless I can secure a commitment which can be loged for future reference should the need arise.  Maybe under "settings/online bookings" there could be a cancelation document/form with options we can select such as cancelation period, cancelation or non-attendance fee etc.

    Cheers, Tyraus

  • Avatar
    Joel Friedlaender

    Thanks Tyraus.  Where possible I am keen not to introduce settings to avoid complexity.  If people for example think an appointment from 1 hour or 2 hour onwards would work well then we will make a change like that.  We will only bring in a new setting if there is a lot of demand for varying times.

    As for the policy document, we will put a paragraph text box that you can type anything into.  We can show this to the right as they are entering their details.  Perhaps we can put a message that says "I have read the information to the right and agree to any terms specified" above the button or something like that.  I will think some more about that function.  I am sure we can get this in quickly too.

  • Avatar
    Tyraus Farrelly

    Yes I can understand the need for the "KISS" principal!

    My vote would be no available appointments within 1 hour and an email notification to the Therapist or administrator that the booking has taken place, time and date.

    Regarding the cancelation/policy doc, a blank text box we can fill would be fine, not sure from a legal perspective but most online agreements where there are terms and conditions that must be agreed to are required to select "I Agree" before moving onto the next stage of the process.  Itunes and most software policies come to mind!

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers, Tyraus 

  • Avatar
    Joel Friedlaender

    Interestingly when we created our sign up page for Cliniko, we had legal advice on this topic.  It was okay to have a statement that says "by clicking this button you agree...", but we had to explicitly have people tick a box to opt in for marketing emails.  It seems the spam laws are stricter than those for terms of service.  This is what we ended up with:

    Screen_Shot_2012-05-03_at_3.55.03_PM.png

    We are currently working on the "hide some appointment types from online bookings" change, we should push that out tonight.  I will see if we can do something about this in that change too, or possible it will be a few days.

  • Avatar
    Tyraus Farrelly

    Another useful addition I forgot to mention would be a blank text box for a personalized greeting/message that would appear at the top of the booking page.

    Messages such as "Thank you for choosing our online booking option, if you have any difficulties or require a time slot other than the times displayed please call us on ___________"  

  • Avatar
    Joel Friedlaender

    Thank you so much Tyraus for your great ideas, completely agree with the latest one.

  • Avatar
    Joel Friedlaender

    You can now specify an appointment type to not appear in the online bookings area.  Just edit the appropriate appointment type and it will look like this:

    Screen_Shot_2012-05-03_at_6.27.46_PM.png

    Details of the update are here http://support.cliniko.com/entries/21368681-you-can-now-choose-which-appointment-types-show-in-online-bookings

  • Avatar
    Joel Friedlaender

    It will now also let patients book in the same day.  Just not within 1 hour of the current time.

  • Avatar
    Tyraus Farrelly

    Hi Joel,

    Not sure if there is a little bug in the OLB.  I have both me entered as a patient in my system and one called Test, (strangely enough for testing purposes :-))

    I used the online booking and entered Tyraus Farrelly as the patient and in comments section put "test".  On my calendar it entered the booking under the patient name "test", rather than "Tyraus Farrelly". 

  • Avatar
    Tyraus Farrelly

    I realise many would have figured this out already, but will post anyway as it may be helpful to some!

    If you want to identify your online bookings in your calendar, go into "settings/appointment types" and make a new set of appointment types specifically for online bookings with a distinct colour code, then just link to the related billable item as usual and tick the "Show in online bookings" check box. Double check that all other appointment types have this box unchecked!

    whenever you recieve an online booking you will see the destinct colour code for the online booking.   

    Hope this is useful for some!

     

    Cheers, Tyraus 

    EDIT BY CLINIKO:  We are going to add an icon to the calendar that shows if it came from online bookings, it's not far away.

  • Avatar
    Joel Friedlaender

    Hi Tyraus,

    We do some matching up behind the scenes to work out if it is a new patient or existing patient.  We don't trust the patient name completely because of the variations possible (ie. John Smith could be in the system as Jonny Smith, or Bill McLeod could be in as William Mc Leod).  With this in mind, we use some other criteria to help with the matching, including Date of Birth, email address and mobile phone number.  I am guessing that your test patient had some or all of those other values that matched the Tyraus Family you just tested with.  In practice it should greatly reduce double ups in your system of patient records.

    Please let me know if you have any further thoughts on this based on that information.

    Cheers,

    Joel

  • Avatar
    Joel Friedlaender

    Please see my edit to your post above as well Tyraus.

  • Avatar
    Tyraus Farrelly

    Hi Joel,

    OK this makes sence, did have the same DOB and Mobile number.

     

    Cheers, Tyraus 

  • Avatar
    Oliver Murphy

    Hi All.

    just wanted to share this with all - We just received our first real online booking today - worked liked a charm - Were so excited !

    cheers Olly

  • Avatar
    Joel Friedlaender

    Great to hear Olly. Congratulations!

  • Avatar
    Tyraus Farrelly

    Hi Joel,

    Was just looking over online booking and noticed it came up with an available time slot of 10:52 - 11:22.  My calendar in settings/general is set to 30min time slots.  Is there any way to set this so it only shows available slots on the hour or half hour.

    Cheers,

    Tyraus

  • Avatar
    Tyraus Farrelly

    Hi Joel,

    Just to add to the comment above, it only happened to the very first time slot it made available.  Time of online booking was 9:52am for half hour treatment, all other time slots it showed available were on the hour or half hour.

    Tyraus

  • Avatar
    Joel Friedlaender

    The way it works is if you have any appointments (or breaks) already in that time block it will show the next available time.  Is it possible that you have an appointment or break that finishes at 9:52am that morning? It's the only way I can see that it would happen.

  • Avatar
    Tyraus Farrelly

    Hi Joel,

     

    Just checked, all appointments were/are on the hour or half hour, the time of the online booking inquiry was 9:52am.

     

    Strange!

     

    I will keep an eye out if it happens again.

     

    Cheers,
    Tyraus Farrelly

  • Avatar
    Chris Stapleton

    Hi Joel,

    Thanks as always for this great system. Has it already been suggested to have administrators e-mailed when someone books in online, or should this already be happening. As a one-man-band, I noticed recently someone had booked a month ahead, and I only saw it when I was looking through the calendar for something else. Apols if this is already taken care of, but thought I'd ask.

  • Avatar
    Michael Viola

    One option is to display available slot(s) adjacent to already booked appointments....that way we potentially aren't left with any big gaps to fill....

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