In this topic:
See also: Online Appointments and Facebook
In its simplest form, Online Appointments is two things:
o A way for you to publish your Appointment Book to a secure, easy-to-access web site.
o A way for your patients to then access your Appointment Book online, and book their own appointments with your Practice, at any time.
There are two different parts to Online Appointments - two different ways to access it:
The Portal: We created a special part of Online Appointments and called it the ‘Portal’. It’s where you set-up your online Appointment Book, and configure a few Practice settings – information for your patients. It’s also a way for you to tell the Online Appointments service which of your practitioners are available to take appointments. To access the Portal, open your Pracsoft ‘Appointment Book’, and click the Online button. …make sure you’re connected to the Internet too.
The Booking Site: This is the web site where your patients go to book appointments with you; we’ll provide your Practice its own, secure, dedicated web site that you can direct patients to. From there, your patients will be able to see which of your practitioners are available to make appointments with, and what their schedule is. When they schedule an appointment via your Booking Site, it will appear almost instantly within your Appointment Book. Your staff will be able to manage the online appointment with all the same flexibility as any other appointment made with Pracsoft.
To access your booking site, we’ll give you a unique web site address to share with your patients, and you’ll be able to name it yourself.
Here’s an example: http://my.medicaldirector.com/OurBookingSite
It’s easy to get started with Online Appointments. The following information will guide you through the steps. Here’s a brief
o Review pricing, read and accept the terms and conditions.
o Record your Practice details – some basic contact details to show your patients online:
• Choose your Practice's name as you want it to appear online – we’ll create one for you, but you can make your own.
• Record your Practice's email address.
• Choose a web page address for your Practice – we'll create one for you, but you can change it.
o Record your contact details.
o Record your payment details - you'll need your practice's credit card details.
o Upload your Appointment Book - just press a button and walk away (we'll do all the work for you). You will receive an email when setup is completed.
o Familiarise yourself with the different sections of the Dashboard
o View your Pracsoft Subscription Details - see when your subscription is due, and what rebates you have accrued to-date.
o View which Online Appointments Plan you are on.
o Setting the scope of your online Appointment Book – how far ahead do you want patients to be able to book?
o Selecting billing practitioners – choose which practitioners will be seen online, and if they’re available for consultation.
o Familiarise yourself with the Invoicing and Payments section.
Here’s what you’ll need to know before you register for Online Appointments:
o You’ll need to be using Pracsoft, and logged-in as a ‘Level-9’ user (if you don’t know what this means, you’re probably not a Level-9 user – it’s a security setting for user accounts in Pracsoft).
o You’ll need to have your Appointment Book open. If you use multiple Appointment Books, it doesn’t matter which one you open; Online Appointments can be accessed from any of your Appointment Books.
o You’ll need to be connected to the Internet.
Then, within your Appointment Book, click the Online button.
A browser window will open – it’s within this window you access the Online Appointments Portal. At first, you’ll see the Welcome screen:
Click to enter the portal.
Within the portal, the various registration screens give you some information about Online Appointments. You’ll also be asked to provide us with some information about your Practice – that’s coming up soon. Have a read through the Welcome screen now. You can always move back and forth through the registration screens by using the navigation buttons at the bottom:
After the Welcome screen, there’s information about how the system works, pricing, terms-and-conditions and so on. Read through the info until you arrive at the Practice Profile screen – this is where we’ll need some info from you, and this is covered in the next section.
Only Pracsoft users with Level-9 (Full Access) can set-up Pracsoft Online Appointments.
The set-up process allows MedicalDirector to synchronise your MedicalDirectorPracsoft appointments and limited patient identification data to verify existing patients, to our secure online server located within Australia. This data will only be used for running this service and related facilities, and in doing so we will comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
We'll email you once your data is synchronised. Your practice management staff can then begin to configure and manage available Online Appointment slots and practitioners, according to your practice's needs and policies.
Online Appointments is best suited for the following practices:
o Those with a single practice location
o Those practices which accept both existing and new patients (controls are in place to verify new patients)
If you have any questions, please call your MedicalDirector Account Manager on 1300 300 161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your practice will be charged just 20 cents (+ GST) per appointment booked online. Pay only for what you use. We’ll bill you monthly by credit card. Appointments are payable in full. However, if you spend more than $25/doctor/month, the excess is rebated off your next annual Pracsoft subscription cost. With 5 or more registered doctors the rebate threshold is capped at $125.
o 10 online appointments in a month will cost you just $2.20 (10 x 20 cents + GST)
o 50 online appointments in a month will cost you just $11 (50 x 20 cents + GST)
o Fully secure, highly reliable online bookings
Pracsoft's online booking service is user-friendly.
o Control over available appointment slots:
You maintain full control over the number and time of available online appointments, as well as available practitioners.
o Dedicated webpage:
We'll provide your practice with a personalised webpage, dedicated to online appointments. This page can be embedded in your website, or hosted by us, free of charge.
o Peace of mind:
Pracsoft prides itself on providing the very best technology to keep your business primed and your data safe.
o Monthly billing:
We'll automatically calculate your monthly booking fees and bill your debit or credit card each month. You're free to stop using the service any time, and there is no minimum monthly spend.
Rebate amount for a monthly billing period that will be applied as a discount on the next MedicalDiretor Pracsoft annual subscription, is calculated as follows:
Rebate = Full amount charged for use of Online Appointments (excl. GST) - Threshold amount
Rebate threshold amount is determined based on the number of practitioners that had appointments booked via MedicalDirector's Online Appointments:
|Practitioners using the Service:||Monthly Rebate Threshold:|
|5 or more||$125|
Example: Medical Practice published five practitioner calendars in a single monthly billing period. In this period;
o only three practitioners had appointments booked online in that period
o the practice accumulated $175.00 worth of online bookings in total
In this example,
o The rebate threshold amount is $75.00, as only three practitioners had appointments booked online in the given billing period.
o The rebate amount to be applied as a discount on the next Pracsoft annual subscription is $100.00 ($175.00 - $75.00).
You must confirm your agreement at the end of the terms before you can proceed. The terms of using the Online Appointments service are an addendum to the Clinical and Pracsoft and Sidebar subscription.
For convenience, your Practice’s name, address, suburb, postcode, state, phone number, fax and email address is populated automatically from your Pracsoft database. You can change this information, as explained following. Note that when you make a change to your Practice’s details, it can take up to five minutes before it appears online for your patients to see. Note also that changes you make here are seen online only, for your online Appointment Book – these changes are not saved back to your Pracsoft database at your Practice. Furthermore, any subsequent changes you make to your Practice details in the Pracsoft database will not appear on the online Appointment Book.
When your Practice’s name is presented here, it will appear exactly as it does in your Pracsoft database. This is also how patients will see it on your personalised Online Appointments web site, unless you change it – feel free to do so, ensuring that the name you choose is alphanumerical, and does not contain all capital letters.
For example, this Practice’s full registered name is “For Your Health Pty Ltd”.
…but their patients know them as “For Your Health”, so they changed their Online Appointments name accordingly:
In another example, this Practice’s official name is “J&A Clinical Research and Patient Care Ltd”.
…however, everyone in their local community knows them as the Allen family’s practice, so they too have changed their Online Appointments name to suit what their patients are familiar with:
Note that you can change this name later if you wish. Keep in mind though, that if you do choose to make a change later, you’ll have to remember to tell all your patients!
On this screen, let us know who is registering your Practice for Online Appointments. These details will not be made public, and are only used by us to contact you about the registration process if we need to.
We need an email address to alert you to patient booking confirmations i.e. when a patient uses your Online Appointments web site to make a booking, we’ll notify you by email. You’ll also see the appointment appear in your Appointment Book in Pracsoft. Note that this email address is not seen by your patients. You don’t have to use your primary email address either – for convenience, you could create a special email account on your email server just for receiving Online Appointments, and use this address here. Please see your Systems Support people if you need help to set that up.
Your Practice will have its very own web page that your patients can visit to make a booking. By default, that web page address will be a combination of your Practice’s name and Post Code as it appears in your Pracsoft database (with any spaces or special characters removed). This is also how patients will see it on your personalised Online Appointments web site, unless you change it – feel free to do so.
For example, the following Practice’s full web site name was generated as “ForYourHealthPtyLtd2540”.
If they accepted the suggestion generated for them, their web site address for Online Appointments would end up looking like this: https://my.medicaldirector.com/ForYourHealthPtyLtd2540 - this is the address they would give patients to make online bookings.
However, because they want their web page name to be short, memorable and accurately reflect their Practice’s name, they decided to shorten the name to simply “ForYourHealth”, and make the necessary adjustment in the registration form:
Now their web site address is: https://my.medicaldirector.com/ForYourHealth - a much simpler name, and one that’s easy to remember.
Note that you can change this name later if you wish. Keep in mind though, that if you do choose to make a change later, you’ll have to remember to tell all your patients!
All details entered on the Practice Details screen will appear on your booking website, except for the following:
o Email address
o Fax number
o Time zone
Enter your practice’s credit card details.
o You must read and agree to the terms and conditions.
o You can change or remove/re-enter these details at any time.
o Once you have registered, your credit card will be direct-debited when your invoice is due.
o When you initially register your credit card details (and each time you make a change to these details) you will be charged 1c to test for validity. You will also immediately be refunded this fee.
o If you ever choose to remove your payment details, your appointment book data will no longer be displayed online, and patients will not be able to book appointments.
In order to allow your patients to make online bookings with your Practice, we need to upload some information about your Practice to our Online Appointments ‘Cloud Server’. We call this process “synchronisation”. In simple terms, we’ll basically be making a copy of your Appointment Book to put online.
This process uploads data about your Practitioners, Appointment Books, Appointments, Patients (name, surname, DOB), and appointment sessions. We use this data to show available appointments, and to determine whether patients have visited your Practice previously. No other data is visible to patients.
Before we upload the information, we’ll do a quick analysis of your Pracsoft database, and let you know how long it might take. You don’t have to do anything – we’ll do all the work from here.
Once started, the data synchronisation will run in the background and won't impact your Practice’s operations. During synchronisation you can turn off your workstation computers, but please don't turn off your internet connection or server computer.
After synchronising your data, you will be presented with the Online Appointments Dashboard.
Invoicing and Payments
Update your contact details
The subscription section located at the top of your Dashboard home shows you;
The expiry date of your current subscription. Your subscription is current up-to and including this day.
The base fee for your next subscription. This is the cost of your subscription renewal, assuming you accumulate no appointment rebates.
Rebates Year To Date:
The value of rebates you have accumulated. This value is updated monthly, essentially after your monthly-invoice it paid.
The actual fee for your subscription renewal, after rebates have been taken into account.
This section indicates when your Online Appointments service became active, and what sort of plan you are on.
After activating your Online Appointments service, you’ll need to tell us a little bit about how you want your online appointment book configured, such as which of your practitioners will be available to accept bookings, and how far in advance you’ll let patients make appointments.
To start configuring your Online Appointments, click the Configure Appointments button
Firstly, tell us how far in advance you wish to show appointments for. The default is 1 month. Other options include 1 week, 2 weeks, 2 months, 6 months or 1 year. Don’t worry – you can adjust this at any time, and the change will take place immediately.
Next, tell us about how available your practitioners are to take appointments. Each of your practitioners will be listed here, but your patients won’t see them yet – by default, they’re hidden from your Online Appointments web site, like our Dr Mackie here:
For each practitioner you do wish to advertise on your web site, you’ll have a couple of choices for how they appear; you can display their name and indicate that they’re accepting online appointments, or you can simply display their name only - you might choose this option if you want to advertise that a particular practitioner works at your Practice but they’re not currently taking online appointments.
Now that you’ve selected the billing practitioners you want to show online, you need to link them to your Online Appointment Book. In the following example, we’ve elected to display our Dr Mackie in our Online Appointment Book, and show the appointments she’s available for.
We link her to our online Appointment Book by clicking Linking a practitioner like this can take up to five minutes. De-linking or hiding a practitioner occurs immediately.
Now, tell us which of your Appointment Book doctors represents the Billing Practitioner you just selected, by placing a tick in the box next to each practitioner name.
At our Surgery, Dr Mackie works in two different rooms, so she appears twice in our Appointment Book (once for each room). We need to tell our online Appointment Book that both of these Appointment Book doctors need to be linked to the billing practitioner “Gillian Mackie”, so we tick both boxes.
By doing this, we’re telling our online Appointment Book that all appointments made with Dr Gillian Mackie (regardless of whether they’re for Room 2 or Room 4) will be allocated to the billing practitioner “Gillian Mackie”.
Click to confirm your selections.
You’ll need to tell us about all the practitioners you wish to appear in your Online Appointment Book. In our example, the next practitioner we configured was Dr Danielle Allan. She only appears once in our Appointment Book, so there was only one instance of her to link to our online Appointment Book, as shown below. Notice also that references to Dr Mackie’s are greyed-out – this is because we already linked her.
Here’s an example of what your patients might see when they visit your Online Appointments web site to make a booking.
Note that by default, all available slots in your Appointment Book will also be available in your online Appointment Book. So, how do you flag specific slots as ‘unavailable’?
Consider the situation where one of your practitioners takes a few hours off in the afternoon - you’d want to ensure that those times are no longer available for patients to book appointments in. To do this, simply select the slot(s) in your Appointment Book, type a description in the slot, and press CTRL + Enter. This creates what we call a Non-Patient Appointment – in this case though, it’s not an appointment as such – but the process will hide such slots from your online Appointment Book. You can create reserved appointment slots in this way, as well as recurring non-patient slots.
Patients access your Online Appointment Book via a web page, and there are two options available:
o The Free MedicalDirector Web Page
o Your Own Web Site
MedicalDirector provides you with a free web page on which to host your Online Appointment Book – you don’t need your own web site – just use ours, for free!
Once you have signed-up and synchronised your practice’s data, this option is immediately available to you – simply give your patients the following web address, and they can start booking appointments with you:
Using our example practice name we created earlier, our web address would read:
You can use a web page on your own web site (a web site you already have for your practice).
If you choose this option, MedicalDirector will provide you with a snippet of code you’ll need to embed in your web page. Once you’ve inserted this code into a page on your web site, your Online Appointment Book will appear within the web page too.
Here’s an example of what the code looks like:
Don’t use the example shown above – your actual code snippet will be slightly different!
It is recommended that you create a separate page on your web site for your Online Appointment Book. Alternatively, if you wish to embed your Online Appointment Book in an existing page, ensure you provide enough space for the Book to be easy for your patients to see and navigate. In our example above, we’ve ensured that our Book fits the entire width of our page (width=”100%”), and made it high enough to show enough information to be practicable (height=”1000”).
After synchronizing your data with us, simply click this button in the Portal, and we’ll email you your customised code snippet, along with instructions of embedding it in your web page.
Note that you may need help from your Web Site Administrator to add this code to your web site.
Your Online Appointment service invoice and payment history is available by clicking . You will be presented with the following sections:
With the introduction of Online Appointments, Pracsoft has some new features we’d like to share with you. Below is a snapshot of our Appointment Book, and here’s what’s changed:
o Appointment slots for Practitioners who are available for Online Appointments are displayed in blue highlight. Appointments made at your Practice itself are still displayed in white. You can change the colour setting in your Appointment Book by selecting the View menu > Legend.
Dr Mackie has two appointments scheduled that where made online. Apart
from the blue highlight, we can tell they’re Online Appointments because
of the format of the patient’s details; Austin,
Adrianne, 0415123456, 23/09/1997, email@example.com, Standard (short)
You can also right-click the appointment and select Full Detail:
o Mark Noble made an online appointment, and he’s a new patient, as indicated by the icon next to his name.
o Clement Evans made an online appointment, to see Dr Allan at 8:30. Next to Clement’s name is an icon to tell us that there are two patients in our database who share the same name and date-of-birth. We’ll have to decide which patient this appointment is for. This may require us contacting both patients. Once we’ve determined who’s who, we can right-click the appointment and select Link to link the appointment to the correct patient in our database.
Oliver also made an appointment online, to see Dr Allan. She made the
appointment for 10:00. As luck would have it, whilst Kim was making her
appointment online, our Receptionist at the Practice was also making an
appointment – for Blajoia Gould – for
10:00. To account for this clash, the Online Appointments system
automatically rescheduled Kim’s appointment, and made it appear as a Fit-in appointment (a standard Pracsoft
feature) - Kim’s appointment was pushed back by 1 minute, to 10:01.
It’s very rare that two appointments would be scheduled simultaneously like this, but when it does occur, the appointment made at your Practice will always take priority over the online appointment – the online appointment will still be made successfully, but it will be rescheduled. The Practice must manage such situations and contact any affected patients to resolve these conflicts.
Q: What happens if I remove payment details and then re-enter them?
A: When you provide payment details after removing them, you will be placed on the Standard (Paid) Plan, regardless of the plan you were on previously.
Q: What happens with rebates around the time my Pracsoft subscription renewal letter is sent?
A: Your Pracsoft subscription renewal letter is issued approximately 2 months prior to your licence expiring. Any rebates you accrue in that 2-month period are rolled over into the next billing cycle i.e. they will be deducted from your next licence renewal.
Q: What happens if I don’t pay my invoice on time?
A: Our billing system is designed to direct-debit your credit card on the due date. If a payment attempt fails for any reason, we will notify you of this, and make 3 more attempts to bill you over the next 3 days, after which we will commence suspension of your Online Appointments service with us – we will email you to notify you of this also. If your account is suspending, please contact MedicalDirector Customer Care for assistance.
Q: What sort of feedback do I receive from using Online Appointments billing?
A: Our billing system will notify you of:
o Invoices – sent monthly on the invoice issue date
o Payment receipts – sent monthly on payment due date
o Payment declined advice – sent after each unsuccessful payment attempt
o Credit Card expiry warnings - 60, 30, 14 and 1 day prior to your credit card expiry date
o Online Appointments suspension warnings - 20, 30 and 40 days after the Invoice issue date
Q: How do I Cancel my Subscription to Online Appointments?
1. Open Pracsoft and log in as a Level 9 user
2. Open the Appointment Book.
the Practice Portal.
4. Select Payment Details from the Dashboard.
o Do not make any changes to your credit card details in this window.
5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click
o You have now been unsubscribed from Online Appointments.
o To re-subscribe, payment details will need to be re-entered, and the subscription agreement agreed to once again.