Learn how to streamline your appointment booking workflow and improve your patient experience. During this 45 minute webinar, we will:

  • Explain the relationship between appointment types, presenting issues, and individual provider schedules.

  • Demonstrate how connecting pre-visit Qnaires and changing an appointment status can affect the type of notifications that are sent to your patients.

  • Highlight how the configuration choices affect your clinic's eBooking tool, impact a patient's online booking experience, and streamline your appointment booking workflow.

Webinar recording

The webinar audio is available as a text transcript (PDF).

Job aid: eBooking Configuration

A visual summary of the relationship between the settings that make up eBooking and where in the system you can configure them.

Tips & Tricks: Your webinar questions answered

Thank you to everyone who submitted questions during the webinar!

Explore the answers below to learn more about the tips and tricks we shared with the webinar participants.

Table of Contents

eBooking

Presenting Issues

Appointment Types

Scheduling

Pre-Visit Qnaires

Appointment Notifications


eBooking

New patients cannot book online if your appointment types have New Patient unchecked

For a new patient to be able to book an appointment online, you must have at least one appointment type configured with New Patient selected under the appointment type’s Types of patients allowed to book setting.

If New Patient is unselected, new patients cannot book that appointment type through your eBooking site. See Creating and modifying appointment types.

❓Original Question: Is there a way to not have the option of new patients booking appointments using our eBooking tool.


Patients can update their phone number online before a phone appointment

Your clinic's eBooking tool collects the patient's phone number and email address every time they request an appointment to make sure it is up to date in the patient chart.

You can also attach a pre-visit Qnaire to the appointment type for phone appointments. You can configure this Qnaire to link the responses to patient data. In this case, you can ask the patient to confirm their phone number, and if incorrect, update it. The change can then be linked to the patient’s demographics and will update the phone number accordingly. See Linking Qnaire responses to patient data.

❓Original Question: Can patients update their phone numbers online after booking a phone appointment?


Patients can change their preferred notification method online

At this time you cannot prevent patients from changing their preferred notification method. The reason the patient has control over their preferred method of communication is because we want them to be informed of any clinic communications.

❓Original Question: When booking online, is there a way to prevent patients from changing their preferred communication. Our office is trying to use email communication and not SMS but I understand patients can change back to SMS


You can customize online booking and patient portal text in Settings > Custom Text

To change or modify the verbiage on any eBooking or patient portal, navigate to Settings > Custom Text.

See Customising the text on your appointment booking site.

❓Original Question: For custom text, is there a resource for users to change Webpage language/wording? I use google searches a lot for coding but would help if there is a resource. (I was asking about custom text rather than notifications.)


Patients see a “you are not connected to the internet” message if they lose internet connection while booking online

While difficult to pinpoint the reason, such a message usually indicates lost internet connection. Our recommended minimum speeds are 15 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload.

If you are sharing the network connection with other users and they are engaging in video visits or uploading/downloading a large number of files, this will impact the network speed and you may require a faster network connection.

❓Original Question: Sometimes when a patient books online at our clinic they will get a message at the end that tells them they are not connected to the internet. They then call in because they think their request has not come through but it has. Is this a problem on our end or theirs?


Add a “reason for visit” step to your online booking by creating presenting issues and going to Settings > Account > Scheduling > Extra

To add the Reason page to your clinic’s eBooking site, you must create Presenting issues (see Creating presenting issues) and then enable the CHR to display the reason page in eBooking. See Enabling patients to select a reason for visit (presenting issue) when requesting appointments on your clinic's eBooking site

❓Original Question: How do I add a "reason" page for online booking? Currently on our clinic’s eBooking site, I only see Start > Location > Appointment types > Schedule pages.


Presenting Issues

You are not required to assign an encounter template to a presenting issue

When you create or edit a presenting issue, in the Linked Encounter Template field, select None. See Creating presenting issues.

❓Original Question: Are encounter templates mandatory when creating presenting issues? Is there a N/A option?


Appointment Types

Intervals when setting up working hours define the start times a patient can choose from when booking appointments online and don’t need to match appointment durations

It is ideal to align your intervals with the length of your appointment types. However, it depends on your clinic and provider needs. Some providers do not mind if patient appointments overlap.

Time intervals indicate the length of an appointment and in eBooking indicate the appointment start times. By selecting Show (Intervals) on Scheduler, you add horizontal lines in your scheduler to make it easier for front-end staff to know when the appointments start and how long they are (see Adding standard working hours to schedules). You can override the intervals or configured duration when you are booking or confirming an appointment. See Booking appointments.

From an eBooking perspective, depending on the intervals selected patients can only select specific start times. For example, 30 minute intervals allow your patient to request an appointment at 9:00, 9:30, 10:00, etc.

❓Original Question: Is it best to align your interval with the appointment type length (duration) when scheduling your clinics?


Both the internal and patient default statuses must be set to "Confirmed" to avoid getting appointment requests

Ensure the appointment type has been configured correctly. Remember there are two fields for this action in every appointment type. “Internal default status” & “Default status from Patient”.

If you still get the occasional appointment request, contact the TELUS Health support team through the support chat so that they can investigate further. See Contact us.

❓Original Question: All my appointment types are auto-confirmed so no appointment requests are required. I do occasionally get appointment requests, why is this?


Scheduling

You can book recurring group appointments

You can book recurring group visits, such as a diabetes education session, on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. See Booking recurring appointments.

❓Original Question: Is there a way to make group visits recurring? e.g. one group appointment occurs at the same time every week?


To allow group appointment bookings online, add a group visit to a provider’s schedule

First, group visit appointment types need to be configured. See Creating group visit appointment types.

After you have the appointment type configured, you must add the group visit to a provider's schedule, creating an available time slot for front staff or patients to book. See Booking group visits.

❓Original Question: Can you show how patients would book a group appointment? For example, two patients wanting to be in at the same time?


Slot refers to the number of patient appointments (1-10) that can overlap during the same time range

You configure slots when adding working hours to provider schedules. See Setting up provider schedules and Setting how many patients can self-book a single appointment time slot.

❓Original Question: Can you please explain "slots" in scheduling?


A Group Visit is one appointment on the schedule, whereas Slots allow multiple overlapping appointments

A Group visit appears as one appointment on the Scheduler, whereas when patients book in one slot, they will appear as multiple individual appointments on the schedule.

The group appointment is like a diabetes cooking class ( more than 1 person in the appointment) vs. a flu shot clinic that may have multiple separate people in the same time slot.

❓Original Question: What is the difference between using Appointment slots and group appointments?


Staff can break slot configuration rules but patients cannot

Slots play a bigger role with eBooking since the patient cannot break any rules configured in your scheduler. However, any front staff can bypass these rules from the scheduler by dismissing a warning message.

❓Original Question: Does the “slot” matter? Can you not just "break the glass" to remove the validation error of double booking a time slot?


The shortest pre-set Off Time duration is 30 minutes but you can shorten it manually

There are two methods for adding off time in a schedule: from the schedule itself by choosing +Add > Off Time, or from Settings > Scheduling > Vacation.

If you add Off Time from the scheduler (see Adding and removing time off in the schedule), the shortest pre-set time that you can select is 30 minutes. However, once you add the 30-minute slot, you can manually change it to any time frame, such as 15 minutes.

❓Original Question: When booking off time, is there a time option that is shorter than 30 minutes?


Use the Memo field in Off Time to leave notes for staff viewing the schedule

Using Off time is the best way to add information about administrative messages that are not patient related. You can include notes in the Memo field.

❓Original Question: How can I add information about the clinic in the scheduler that is visible to other clinic staff? I currently use Off time to communicate details to clinic staff viewing the calendar.


In the appointment card, providers are listed in the order they were added to your CHR domain

See the order in Settings > Account Info. Currently you are unable to re-order the provider names here and also not in the provider list in the appointment card.

❓Original Question: In the appointment card, can you change the order the providers appear in the drop-down menu? We have many part-time providers but some that are full-time. I'd love it if the full-time providers could be at the top of the list when choosing the provider on the appointment card.


The requested appointments list shows oldest requests at the top

The requests that appear on the left side of the scheduler are in the order they were requested. Patients who were “first” are listed at the top.

You can see when a patient requested an appointment in the patient’s chart in the Recent Activity widget. To see the details of a specific activity, click it. See Viewing activity and access logs for a chart.

📌 Note: You cannot see when a new patient requested an appointment.

❓Original Question: For requested appointments that appear on the left-hand side, is there a way to see at a glance when these appointments were requested? How are they ordered?


To tentatively hold an appointment for a patient, set the appointment's status to Booked instead of Confirmed

To book a tentative appointment, we suggest you book an appointment and select the status Booked.

This status has no actions associated with it. Therefore the patient will not receive any notifications. Once the patient then calls to confirm the booked appointment, you can then change the status to Confirmed.

❓Original Question: Is there a way to book "tentative" appointments and keep track of them so that you can follow up on them later?

A tentative appointment means: you are waiting for the patient to confirm their appointment date and time.


Appointments with the status Booked are not automatically removed from the schedule

Front staff can filter the schedule on a weekly/daily basis to only see appointments with the status Booked and follow up with those patients. See Filtering the schedule.

❓Original Question: Is there a way to set how long the "tentative appointments" will stay on the schedule for example, if we didn't receive a response from a patient to confirm the appointment after a few days, this tentative appointment will be canceled and removed from the scheduler.


Pre-Visit Qnaires

Patients receive Qnaires associated to appointment types before Qnaires associated with presenting issues

The patient receives the Qnaire associated with the appointment type first and then the Qnaire associated with the presenting issue.

❓Original Question: Which Qnaire is received first by the patient, if linked to both an appointment type and the presenting issue?


Patients only receive one copy of a Qnaire if the same one is associated with both the appointment type and presenting issue

The patient only receives the Qnaire once.

❓Original Question: If you add the same Qnaire to an appointment type and the associated presenting issue, does the patient get both (duplicate)?


To configure the order a patient receives pre-visit Qnaires, drag and drop them in the appointment type settings

The order in which the patient receives and completes pre-visit Qnaires, is the same order in which they appear under the Pre-visit Qnaire tab of your appointment type. To re-order the list of Qnaires, you can drag and drop them.

❓Original Question: If you have multiple Qnaires in an appointment, is it possible to organize them in a specific order?


Use reminders to send Qnaires closer to an appointment's start time

If you do not want Qnaires to go out immediately after booking the appointment and prefer them to automatically send at a specific time interval (i.e., 24-48 hours before the appointment), you can add the Qnaire to the appointment reminder. The Qnaire is therefore sent with the reminder and not as a pre-visit Qnaire.

📌 Note: You can customise the reminder to send any time before or after the appointment.

Navigate to the specific appointment type and click the Reminder tab. To add a Qnaire, click the gear icon. See Customising appointment reminders for an appointment type for more detailed instructions.

❓Original Question: Is there any way to automate the scheduling of Qnaires for the next appointment? As it stands now, my system sends out the Qnaire when the appointment is booked - I would like it to go out 24-48 hours before the appointment.


Appointment Notifications

Sent email and SMS notification history is available in the Patient Outbox

Since the CHR is cloud and browser-based, it is rare that your patients don't receive a notification. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can expect your patients to receive all notifications.

The CHR’s online booking tool asks patients to confirm their contact information and their preferred method every time they request an appointment. Their contact information should therefore always be up to date thus reducing failed notifications.

You can find a record of all email and SMS communication in the patient’s chart under Patient Outbox. The Outbox shows the following sent items for the patient:

  • Outgoing emails & faxes, such as prescriptions or letters

  • Printed items

  • Qnaires

  • Appointment confirmations and notifications

  • Patient portal messages

If the Sent To field is blank, the item failed to send. If you sent the item via both email and SMS and only one appears in the outbox, the other method failed. For more details, see Patient Outbox.

Appointment notifications are triggered by appointment status changes. Appointment notifications are only sent when an appointment has the status Confirmed and Action Required. See Tracking the status of an appointment.

For appointment reminders, you can see if they were sent successfully from the schedule. Click the appointment and the Reminders tab. A history of all reminders sent to the patient appears (either if the message failed or was successful).

📌 Notes:

  • When patients report that they did not receive an email, it is likely in their spam folder. Depending on the patient’s email provider, “NoReply” emails are often automatically filtered to a spam or junk mail folder.

  • Patients can also block CHR emails from their email provider. After CHR emails are blocked they don't get the message at all. The patient will need to unblock the CHR email address to start receiving messages again.

❓Original Question: How do we know if an email or SMS notification was sent to our patient successfully? If it did not go through, is there an alert like we get when a fax failed?


You can customise the default appointment reminder message in Settings > Notifications

Firstly, in Settings > Scheduling, under the Extra tab, disable the setting that patients can change or cancel appointments.

You can edit the default appointment reminder message. For example, you may want to add your clinic’s cancellation policy to all CHR notifications your patients receive.

Click Settings > Notifications. Next to the appointment reminder, click Default for either email or SMS. Based on your selection, the Customize Email Notification or Customize SMS Notification window displays. See Customizing appointment notifications for patients),

💡 Tip: Once you have edited the message, send the appointment reminder to a test patient with your mobile number and email address to preview the message before sending it to your patients.

❓Original Question: Is there a way to edit the wording of appointment reminders so that patients cannot make changes, confirm, or cancel appointments online?

(We do not allow eBooking for our clinic). So that patients don't think they can edit their appointments.

We did have them set as "disable" in the scheduling settings under the extra tab, but patients still read in the appt reminders messages that they can change/cancel an appt. They just won't be able to make the changes when clicking that button. Is that a way to delete the verbiage in appointment reminders so that patients are not confused?


If a patient tries to change their appointment after the notice period, they see a message to call the clinic

There is an error message that appears asking the patient to call the clinic. Currently you cannot customise the message.

❓Original Question: What does it look like for the patient if they have missed the notice period? For example: the patient wants to change their appointment but it has passed the 7 days notice - what notice does the patient see? Is it customizable? ie: "please call the clinic to change this appt?"


Created August 22, 2022

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