HotDoc Online Bookings and the Appointment Calendar is an easy and convenient way for your patients to book an appointment with your practice at any time. Using online bookings can:
- Increase the amount of bookings your practice receives
- Allow your patients to book with you 24/7, at a time that suits them
- Provide your patients with in-app notifications and reminders of their bookings
- Easily manage online and phone booked appointments from a built in calendar
This guide covers the essentials of setting up your HotDoc appointment calendar and online bookings profile. If you are doing this for the first time, you will be required to complete all sections below.
Once set up, patients will be able to choose which appointment, doctor and time they would like with ease, regardless of whether they visit the HotDoc website, app or your practice's website.
For practices using Best Practice, Medical Director or Zedmed, please see our online bookings guide here.
For practices using Genie Solutions, please see our online bookings guide here.
In this article
1: What is the HotDoc Appointment Calendar?
|HotDoc provides an online booking and appointment calendar system that does not require integration with your clinical software.|
HotDoc allows practices to run a HotDoc Online Bookings and Appointment Calendar system separate to their practice management system. This option is a great solution for any practices who are wanting the ease of online bookings, but currently do not have an integrated method available.
This option is suitable for:
- Dental practices
- Specialist practices who run a different clinical software to Genie Solutions
- Allied Health practices
- GP practices who run a different clinical software to Best Practice, Medical Director or Zedmed
2: The Patient Journey
Before we get started with setup, it can be helpful to review the HotDoc Booking journey for a patient.
In doing so, you can be better informed about how best to set up your profile so that it reflects your practice, practitioners and appointment types.
3: Setting up your Practice Profile
|Before we get into the details of setting up your appointments and doctors, let's get your practice profile created (see Editing your Practice Profile)|
Now that you know how patients will make a booking, the first step to setting up online bookings is creating your practice profile.
Your profile displays your practice's information on your HotDoc bookings page and gives the patient a sense of what kind of practice you are. It can be customised to show alerts, billing policies and other important information:
Example of a header for a Practice Profile that displays contact information, alerts and your Practice summary (About your Practice)
Example of a footer for a Practice Profile which displays further information such as billing, opening hours and onsite facilities
4: Setting up your Appointment Types
|The next step after creating your practice profile is to set up your appointment types (see How to add, edit or remove appointment types)|
Your appointment types are displayed during the patient's booking journey. They inform the variety of consults that your patients are allowed to book online.
Setting up your appointment types will allow HotDoc to guide your patients to make the correct booking for their needs.
Example of appointment types being displayed during the online booking journey
5: Setting up your Practitioner Profiles
|The next step requires you to create your Practitioner Profiles so your patients can choose which practitioner they would like to book with (see How to add or edit a Practitioner)|
Now that you have your appointment types set up, let's create your practitioner profiles. As you are using the HotDoc Appointment Calendar to manage your online bookings, your practitioner profile setup is especially important because:
- The Practitioner profile is where you set the practitioner's 'sessions' or schedule which will be visible as available times to book online
- The Practitioner profile is also where you customise the content you display for your practitioners down to their education, specialties and even the languages they speak
We recommend that you carefully setup your practitioner profiles with the right session information and customised content so patients can make an informed decision based upon their preferences and availability. Practitioner profile content also increases the practitioner's ability to be searched by patients.
Example of a practitioner's session setup in the Practitioner Profile section
Example of a profile on a practice's booking page that has been customised with information specific to the practitioner
|Now that your practice profile, practitioners and appointment types are all setup, feel free to select the View my Bookings page button in the top right corner of the Dashboard to view your settings.|
6: The Appointment Calendar
The Appointment Calendar is where you can see and control your appointments and availability, allowing HotDoc to know what times we should show as bookable online for your practice.
In order to show the correct availability, it is important that you manage both your online bookings and your regular bookings within the HotDoc Appointment Calendar.
There are two ways you can manage the Appointment Calendar:
- You can use the HotDoc Appointment Calendar as your main appointment book (recommended)
- Alternatively, if you wish to keep your current appointment book, you can regularly enter any appointments that you have booked in your clinical software into the HotDoc Appointment Calendar to keep availability up to date
See How to use the HotDoc Appointment Calendar to learn how to manage your calendar.
7: The HotDoc Sidebar
It's important that your reception team understand the HotDoc Sidebar before going live with HotDoc. If the Sidebar is not managed regularly, your appointments will not be entered into the HotDoc Appointment Calendar.
With your bookings page and calendar all setup, let's learn about the HotDoc Sidebar.
The Sidebar is used to validate and confirm all online booking made for your practice. As patients make an online booking request, they will appear in the Sidebar for your team to accept or dismiss.
You can access the Sidebar by:
- Selecting the Open Sidebar in the top right corner of the HotDoc Dashboard
- Or if running a Windows environment, you also have the option to install the HotDoc Sidebar application on your workstation.
Once the Sidebar is loaded, you will need to keep this open to process online appointment requests and form submissions (if using our new patient form option) as they come through. To learn how to do this, see How to process appointments using the HotDoc Sidebar.
8: The Bookings Widget
Finally, an important step in getting bookings live for your practice is adding a booking button (widget) to your website.
|A bookings widget will allow patients who organically find your practice's website via Google or other search engines to make an online booking, increasing your potential booking numbers.|
You can find the steps to build the type of button you'd like in the guide How to install the HotDoc widget / lightbox on to your website.
Once you've generated the code from the above guide you can email it to your Web Developer to add it to your website.
Congratulations, you're ready to go with HotDoc Online Bookings and the Appointment Calendar! Go ahead and check out our Support Centre or our HotDoc Academy for further resources and to search for frequently asked questions.