Setup Online Booking

Online Booking Setup

OutSmart Online Booking is one of the most versatile cloud-based online booking systems available. Setting up your Online Booking Page requires setting up your Hours of Operation, your Event Types, your Office Profile and Personal Profile, and your Online Booking Options.  All these different systems work together to create your Online Booking Page exactly the way you want it.

Forever Free Account Limitations: Some advanced Calendar and Online Booking features are only available in paid subscriptions of OutSmart EMR.

Hours Of Operation

Your Hours of Operation are set in the Calendar, and are a type of event called a Background Event.  This is because they lie in the background of your Calendar, and cannot be modified direclty in the normal course of using your Calendar.  To learn how to create your Hours of Operation, see this article.

Event Types

After creating your office hours, you will then need to create all the various Event Types for use in your calendar.  Every event you schedule in your Calendar must be based on a pre-defined Event Type.  This is because there are many things that you can do with your Events, like send RemindersSmartForm QuestionnairesDocument attachments, etc. whenever that event is booked in your Calendar. To learn how to create or edit Event Types, see this article.

Office Profile

Next, you will need to check your Office Profile for completeness.  This includes uploading an Office Logo, and setting your contact information, website address, and office e-mail address.  To learn how to setup your Office Profile, see this article.

Practitioner Profile

After updating your Office Profile, you will need to ensure that your own Practitioner Profile is up to date.  This includes uploading a Profile Picture, and completing your professional bio.  To learn how to setup your Practitioner Profile, see this article.

Online Booking Options

Once all the above is compelted, the final step is to configure your Online Booking Options.  This is where you can set your Magnetic Booking preference, select which Event Types you want to list on your Online Booking Page, and define a Global Confirmation Message, among other things.  This will be discussed further down in this article.

Final Steps

Once all the above systems have been setup, then your Online Booking Page is complete.  You can use the Online Booking URLs provided in your Online Booking Options to install a Book Nowbutton on your website to direct your patients to book their appointments online.  Keep in mind that you will have a different Online Booking URL for every office, and that the above steps have to be followed for every office you have created in OutSmart.  Although most of the information, like your Practitioner Profile or Event Types will carry over from one office to the next, things like your Hours of Operation or Office Profile must be set for every office.

Configure Your Online Booking Preferences

Your Online Booking Preferences are used to tailor how appointments will be offered to your clients. Unlike many other online booking systems, OutSmart does not simply display your schedule and allow clients to book anytime they want.  Instead, we offer specific appointment slots based on your preferences and Hours of Operation.  See this article on how to set up your hours of operation.  The benefit is that clients will be selecting appointment times that are most convenient for you.

Of course, if you prefer to show all your availability all the time, there is a preference setting for that as well.

Note: All Online Booking Preferences affect the behavior of the Online Booking Page only.  You can still manually use the Calendar to schedule appointments at any time.

To setup your preferences, go to the Online Booking Preferences page:

  1. Click on the purple Calendar button at the top right of the OutSmart Interface.  This will open your Calendar.
  2. Click on the Settings button (it has a gear icon on it) to open the settings menu, and then click on the Online Booking Preferences option.  This will open the Online Booking Preferences page.

There are a few settings here that you can adjust to setup your Online Booking Page exactly as you want it.

Note To Admin Staff:  If you are logged in to an Admin account, you will see an additional Practitioner Selector in the Top Toolbar for this page.  This will allow you to select for which practitioner you are editing the Online Booking Preferences.  It is important to ensure you have selected the correct practitioner before proceeding with the rest of this tutorial.

Section 1: Online Booking Options:

  • Online Booking Handle: If you see this option, it quite simply allows you to specify a name to be added to the URL of your personal online booking page.  Most people use their first name and last name.  There cannot be any spaces.  For example, JillSmart.
  • Office / Practitioner Booking Page: If you see this text, then your Online Booking Handle has already been created, so you are instead presented with 2 links:  One for the Office Booking Page, and one for the Practitioner Booking Page.   The Office Booking Page is intended for clinics with multiple practitioners, while the Practitioner Booking Page is intended for use by a single practitioner.
  • Turn Magnetic Booking Off:  Selecting this option will disable Magnetic Booking.  Simply put, Magnetic Booking is a system that will group your appointments together so that you can reduce awkward gaps during the day.  To learn more about Magnetic Booking, see this article.
  • Default Scheduling IntervalsScheduling Intervals take effect only when Magnetic Booking is turned off.  When Magnetic Booking is turned off, Scheduling Intervals will determine when to offer appointments to your clients.  For example, if your day starts at 9:00am, and you set Scheduling Intervals to 30 mins, then the Online Booking system will offer appointments to your clients every 30 minutes starting at 9:00am.  Scheduling Intervals can be set for every Event Type separately, or they can be set here as a global default for all Event Types.  If you have not specified a Scheduling Interval for an Event Type, then this global default will be used.  Scheduling Intervals set on a specific Event Type will override this global default.
  • Break Between Visits: This setting allows you to specify a global default for a required break after every visit.  You can use the Event Manager to specify custom Breaks, call Buffers, for each Event Type.  If you do this, it will override this global default setting.
  • Minimum Booking Notice: This setting specified the minimum amount of advance notice required for appointments booked online.  For example, if this is set to 24 hours, then any client who visits your page at 10:00am today can only book appointments after 10:00am tomorrow.

Section 2: Default Booking Confirmation

  • Default Booking Confirmation Message:  This section contains the global default Booking Confirmation Message, which is used if no message is specified for a specific Event Type. (To specify unique Confirmation Messages for each Event Type, see this article).  You can add Questionnaires and Documents here as well, and they will be sent for every booking made, ONLY of you have not specified a unique Confirmation Message for the Event Type that was booked.

Section 3: Online Booking Events

  • Online Booking Events: This section allows you to specify which of your Event Types you want to allow your clients to book online.  You can check off which events you want, and drag and drop to re-order the events as needed.

In each section, when you are done adjusting your settings, click on the Update button to save your changes.  If you do not click the update button, your settings will not be saved.

How does OutSmart identify an existing patient when they book online?

When a client uses your OutSmart online booking page, we try to identify if they are an existing patient using information they provide.

When one of your existing patients uses you online booking page, we attempt to identify who they are in order to prevent duplicate patient records from being created in your account.  Here is what we look at to find an existing patient:

  1. First Name
  2. Last Name
  3. Date of Birth

If your patient already has a Patient Portal account, then we do not need to rely on the above information – we already know who they are, and can connect the new booking to their patient record.

However, if they are using online booking for the first time, then we have to try to match the above information with a patient record that exists in your list of patients.  So it is important that you try to maintain the accuracy of your records as much as possible.  Ensure that you always verify the proper spelling for the patient’s name, as well as record the accurate date of birth and postal code.  If we cannot find a match, then a new patient record will be created.

Allowing Your Clients to Cancel Appointments Online

In order to allow your clients to cancel appointments online, you must activate that feature in your Online Booking preferences.

Access your online booking options by clicking on the “gear” icon at the top right of the Calendar and then selecting “Online Booking Options”.  Once there, you will see options to allow your patients to cancel their appointments online, as well as the option to specify the minimum notice for these cancellations.

Allow your patients to cancel online by turning on the options in your Online Booking Preferences.

Which events can be cancelled online?

When you turn on online cancellations, all events booked by your clients can be cancelled online.  But it is important to note that unless you provide your patient with a Medical Records Access Code, they will only be able to see and cancel appointments that they have booked themselves through your Online Booking page.  This is a restriction for security reasons.  We do not provide patients any view of private information, even their bookings, until their account is properly identified and authorized by way of the Medical Records Access Code.  Until they are identified in this way, all they have access to is information that they have submitted themselves.  This will include any online bookings they have made themselves, any SmartForms (Intake Forms) they have completed themselves, and any files they have uploaded themselves.

When your patient logs into their Portal, the event cancellation button will appear directly beside their bookings.

Your patients can cancel their appointments online from the Patient Portal.

Adding a Book Online button to your website

Adding a link or a button to your OutSmart Online Booking page is simple, although if you are not familiar with how to edit your website, you may need the assistance of a web designer.

Basically all you will be doing in getting the proper URL for your OutSmart Online Booking page, and then adding this link onto your website.

There are 2 Online Booking URL’s available for your OutSmart account.  The Personal Booking Link, and the Office Booking Link.

Your Online Booking Links are in the Online Booking Options panel of the Calendar settings.

  • Personal Booking Link:  This link will allow you to access a specific practitioner’s personal online booking page.  This page is used when you want to allow your patients to access only your page, an no one else who might be a part of your clinic.
  • Office Booking Link:  This link will allow your patients to access the clinic’s Online Booking Page, which will allow them to book appointments with any practitioner at your clinic.  It also contains bio’s of all the practitioners.

You can locate these links in the OutSmart system by following these steps:

  1. Open your Calendar by clicking on the Calendar Icon at the top right of your screen.  This will slide down the Calendar.
  2. Now click on the  Settings icon at the top right of the Calendar.  This will open a list of settings pages.  Click on the Online Booking Options settings link.
  3. In the Online Booking Options page, you will either see 2 links called Personal Booking Link or Office Booking Link.  If this is the first time you are setting up your online booking, the Personal Booking Link section will show you a field called “Online Booking Handle”.  This is where you can choose a name for your online booking page, and it will become part of your booking URL.  If you see the empty field called Online Booking Handle, please enter in a unique name that you want to be part of your Online Booking URL.  This is for your personal page, not the office page.  Once you select your Handle, you cannot change it.  After typing in your Handle, scroll down and click on the blue Save button below.  This will then immediately update your booking links.
  4. These 2 links are the ones you will need to setup on your website.  Either provide them to your web designer, or add them yourself to a button, link, or menu option on your website.