Q: How does online scheduling work?
A: Online Scheduling allows patients to view your practice’s availability online and select an available time slot for their appointment. You can determine what times and appointment types they see in your settings. After the patient confirms their appointment request, you can use the tool to approve or decline appointments in your RW calendar.
Q: What’s the cost?
A: That’s the great news – the online scheduling tool is included in your monthly Marketing Platform cost.
Q: How much time does it take to set up the online scheduling tool?
A: It should not take more than a few minutes to set up the tool. You will need to turn on the feature, set your general availability, customize your appointment settings, and enter the appointment types and their duration you would like to offer. If you are enabling PMS writeback, you will need to make sure this feature is also turned on and that PMS details such as appointment codes are included in your appointment types.
Q: How can I use it?
A: You can use this tool to approve or decline appointments booked by patients online. You can also use it to fully organize your calendar, keep track of patient confirmations, and free up the time it takes to schedule patients over the phone.
Q: Does it write back to my PMS? How does that work?
A: Yes, the online scheduling tool does write back to your practice’s PMS. We currently support Eaglesoft versions 18+. Similar to your Marketing Platform, RW will sync with your PMS every two minutes. Once it syncs, it will update your approved patient’s appointment information. Your patient’s record will also update in your PMS when the appointment is complete.
Q: How much more time will this take me? Is this one more thing I am going to have to manage?
A: We are hoping to save you time when your practice uses Online Scheduling. Instead of playing phone tag with patients, you can send them a link to your scheduler to book appointments, freeing up your phone lines. You can also include a link to your scheduler in recall campaigns and other email campaigns.
Q: How do I see the available times that the patient sees?
A: You can copy the link to your Online Scheduling tool from your Appointment Preferences. Using this link, you can navigate through the patient booking process and see what your patients will see.
Q: How do patients use it to book an appointment?
A: Once a patient is on the Online Scheduling page, they will indicate if they are a new or returning patient and they’ll see appointment types based on their selection. They will pick an appointment type, then see the practice’s available dates and times for that appointment. After they select, based on what day and time work for them, the patient will provide their name and contact information before submitting and complete the booking.
Q: I want to confirm appointment requests, how does that work?
A: Make sure you select review appointments in your settings. If you have this on, you will see a notification in your RW calendar when a new appointment request comes in. When you click on the appointment, you will see appointment details and can see how it fits into your schedule. You can then choose to accept or decline. As you get closer to the appointment date, you can send additional communications to the patient and mark them as “confirmed” in the tool.
Q: Can I block off specific times as unavailable?
A: Yes, you can customize your Online Schedule Availability in Appointment Preferences. You can also add operatory-based time blocks in your RW calendar for specific times you don’t want patients to book.
Q: Is there a way to set up availability specific to procedure or appointment type?
A: This is not currently available but it is a feature we plan to add in the future.
Q: Is there a way to set up availability for operatory vs. Provider?
A: Yes, you can set your calendar availability to operatory-based or provider-based depending on your preferences.
Q: What about HIPAA compliance? Is this tool HIPAA-compliant?
A: Yes, this tool is HIPAA-compliant.
Q: How customizable is it?
A: You will be able to customize your settings in Appointment Preferences. You can choose how frequently appointments can start, how much-advanced notice is required, how far in the future you allow bookings, and whether available times are pulled from operatory or provider columns. You can also customize which services your patients can book or request.
Q: I don’t want to lose control of my schedule. If patients are booking appointments themselves, can't they mess up my schedule?
A: This will not mess up your schedule since you will need to approve or decline each appointment as it comes in. You will ultimately have more control over your schedule because patients can only book time slots that you have set as available.
Q: Our scheduling is too complex. I’m worried this tool won’t work for us.
A: Online Scheduling is a simple to use the system. Let’s talk about how you manage your schedule, and we can determine the best way of using this tool to fit your needs.
Q: Will patients actually use our Online Scheduling tool?
A: Back in 2018, Decipher Research conducted a survey that confirmed that over 80% of patients would prefer to schedule their appointment online. We can only assume that new reports from 2020 will show even more patients preferring to book online.
Q: Does it sync with the practice automatically or do we have to wait for it to update? Or do we have to manually update?
A: If appointment writeback is enabled, appointments will sync to your PMS after they are approved by the practice. Syncing should take about two minutes for each appointment.
Q: If a provider leaves the practice, how does the scheduling tool update accordingly? Where do those appointments go?
A: How do I manage that? If a provider is removed from the practice, this change will sync to RW and patients will not have the option to book future appointments with them. The practice will need to manually update their settings in Appointment Preferences to reflect changes to provider availability.