VETLINKSQL’s cloud based online booking system has been developed to operate with “live” integration to the VETLINKSQL in-clinic Diary system. In the web setup section, the clinic is able to select appointment reasons that are allowed to be available on the web. The appointment reasons can also be categorised on the web module independently. A set of smart patient data-aware “survey” questions can also be configured with a tree-structure funnel to get information similar to what a competent nurse should always ask during a live phone or in-person conversation with the client. This is certainly the way of the future. This is what clients want today – total freedom to search for available appointment times online, and not be put on “hold”, let alone get a “clinic closed” message when it is a more convenient time for them, such as at night.
This can't work, Right?
Allowing clients to book their pets into our diary system by themselves? Not a chance!
- What about security?
- I don’t want them to see our Calendar; my competitors could see it too?
- How do they know how long it will take?
- What can they book for?
- What about asking those questions?
- What about special instructions for certain appointments
There is no doubt that almost everyone these days has an email address. Email is still a free method of communication and clinics should be embracing it fully; this does not mean that other forms of communication have to be abandoned – email is just another effective way to contact your clients “in writing”.
Just imagine these scenarios; it happens every day in the life of your clients.
Clients receive a Vaccination Reminder or an Annual Health Check Reminder by email during the day. They read it and try to make sure to remember to get to it soon, maybe when they have a break at lunch. The email is gone down the list as “READ”, not to be seen again. They don't remember at lunch and call up the clinic but your staff at the clinic asks them to "hold" - the client can’t be bothered to wait. In any case he/she had no idea when the partner would be free either, so they could not have booked a firm date or time until they had both spoken and agreed. It would have been impossible to have a 3 way conversation between them and the clinic as different free times were suggested by the clinic. There is no result for the clinic today.
Clients receive a Vaccination Reminder or an Annual Health Check Reminder by email, which they accesses in the evening. The spouse is right there and they can agree on the date and time but the clinic is closed! There is no result for the clinic today.
Now Imagine. If there was a link on that email that said “Click here to make your booking now”. In both cases above the client would have had a choice. In the first instance, a two way phone conversation with the spouse while selecting a suitable date and time would have been possible. In the second example, the family being together at the same time could have agreed and booked an appointment right then, even with the clinic being closed. In addition to this, no staff resources have been utilised and there is no disruption to staff in the middle of other in-clinic tasks in either case in a “busy” clinic environment. Call-backs are not inconvenient as it is done when clinic staff are free; this is generally seen as part of standard time management without disruption.
What every clinic wants
There are certain points that everyone will agree on.
- I don't want clients to be able to book for all services
you can choose
- i don't want to expose our diary to users
you don’t have to; read on
- A phone call gives me “live” on-screen information and choices
so does this
- I can’t have double-bookings; are "live" checks are in place
Yes you won’t get double-ups
- Appointment Reasons are Staff Specific (Qualification)
- I want to see incoming appointments for final acceptance
- I want them to be able to change their appointment as well
They can, with you being aware of it
- I don't want no-shows in case our phones were busy
You won't (cancel appointment feature)
- I want to ask questions based on what they are booking for
- I want to give them instructions based what they have booked for
- I want automation but with manual override
- I want live messaging from the client if they can't find a time
You can have that as well!
- I also want clients to be able to book from a mobile phone App
We are working on it!
How does it work
Once set up and activated, the cloud application resides on our secure server with a secure connection to the VETLINKSQL server or main PC at your clinic. The booking system can be a link on your existing web site or you may provide a direct link in your email or SMS correspondence to the client. When they click on the link they will be provided with a login screen; their email address doubles as their login ID. If they forget their password, they can get it sent to them by the “Forgot Password” link thereby making this system maintenance and hassle free for the clinic.
By logging onto a secure SETUP area the clinic is able to fully configure special ONLINE CATEGORIES and Appointment REASONS allowed to be booked on their system. A set of Questions based on current patient data can also be set up to capture more information, as well as provide relevant and timely instructions . Once these are configured you are ready to go.
Data-Aware Business Intelligence (DABI)
Amount of money owing on their account as at last night.
Data-Aware Business Intelligence (DABI)
refers to a technology developed by VETLINKSQL engineers that allows the clinic to set up questions and/or instructions with priority levels that are activated at appointment making time based on pre-configured data sensitive triggers. Up to three of these are then presented to the client seeking an appointment based on such criteria. This is no different to what a well trained staff member should be doing consistently when clients phone in for an appointment. When a client selects a patient to be booked online, data is automatically captured “live” off the clinic server, within seconds, into the DABI unit. Pre-determined information and/or questions will then trigger for the client to see, based on pre-selected boolean “AND” operation amongst several data fields. Some examples of these data fields include:
Example One (Question):
- Age From and To
- Weight From and To
- Gender of Patient
- Desexed Status
- If NOT Visited for “X” days
- If PURCHASED an item from a Category
- If NOT PURCHASED an item from a Category
- If Booking for a Particular Reason Today
A question could be set up in DABI for example, that if a client picked an animal that was their Cat AND
was Burmese AND
8 years and 15 years old AND
had not visited for MORE THAN
then 6 months AND
purchased any Prescription food during their last visit, then present the following on the screen as they “check out”:
"We note that Fluffy is in our Senior Pet category and Burmese. Burmese cats over this age can be prone to a few conditions such as Diabetes. Would you like to discuss and receive advice and recommendations this during your consultation?”
Example Two (Information):
The DABI detects that the client has selected an Appointment Reason called “Annual Health Check”. Since we know that we will be doing some tests, we could provide some information automatically:
"You have requested a booking for an Annual Health Check. As part of this package, we do a glucose blood test. Please do not feed your pet any food for at least 12 hours before your appointment."
Example Three (Advice):
The DABI system detects simply that the client had purchased a product from the category of KITTEN PRESCRIPTION FOOD on their last visit AND are booking a Cat that is an adult. They could then be presented with:
"Were you aware that you Cat is now no longer a Kitten? Please discuss Dietary Requirements with our Nurse when you come in so we can advise on the correct food for your Pet."
Example Four (Survey):
The DABI system detects that a Cat is being booked but an item from the Category FLEA PRODUCT was NOTpurchased on the last visit. The client could then be presented with:
"Please note that a consistent Flea Protection Regime for cats is vital, especially in this season. Please discuss this topic with our Senior Nurse and receive 10% off when you mention the word "FLEA PROTECTION."
Staff, Reason and Ability
Configuration within VETLINKSQL allows selection of Staff that are to be available online. In addition to this, Staff members can be allocated Diary Reasons to show their exclusive qualification. For example, a Senior Nurse could be made available online but a client would only be able to book tasks that the Nurse can handle, and so on.
New clients (TBA) and incomplete data
New clients finding your clinic online will certainly want to book online straight away. There is a facility for new clients to “Register” online; this basic data is automatically entered into VETLINKSQL on a live basis. While there are some mandatory fields to enter, how does one make sure that the rest of the information is captured when the client does come in? Data field absence is automatically detected and the record marked as incomplete within VETLINKSQL. When the client approaches Reception on the day, and the appointment is marked as either “Arrived”, Admitted, or if the client is billed, VETLINKSQL will detect the incomplete record and prompt the Receptionist to request further details to complete data capture. So, which fields are to be mandatory? Referral source, Email address, Mobile number? In VETLINKSQL, you can select these for your clinic under Setup Options.
Instigating online booking
Driving clients to online booking can be done either by your web site and newsletters or you may embed a link into a correspondence such as a Reminder for direct access. You may promote this in many other ways, including a message on your receipts, and so on.
Once the client logs in, the application queries the diary in VETLINKSQL on your server and attempts to show any upcoming bookings. This avoids double-bookings and also shows the client their future bookings.
There is also a space to promote a product or service on this “Landing Page”. Once satisfied the client clicks on the “Make a Booking” button to see the selection screen. Here they select a date and then a timeframe for that day, such as Morning, Afternoon, or Evening (AM, PM, EVENING). This narrows down the search and can provide more accurate results faster, and places less stress on the in-clinic server. Then, the user is able to select a maximum time “tolerance” they may be prepared to wait if they have multiple animals as slots may not be available together that day. Once they have this selected they can then select the reason for appointment and choose a staff member (if allowed) that they may prefer. Once they select “Search” the application makes a live secure connection to our cloud server and then to the VETLINKSQL database and comes up with options similar to an airline seat booking system. The right hand panel allows for the advert/promotion and a set of pre-configured questions for the client about the patient. Freehand notes can also be typed by the client regarding any special information. Once accepted, the client has acknowledgement on-screen as well as by email that the “REQUEST” has been submitted and that confirmation will follow. The VETLINKSQL clinic diary system has a panel on the right which shows all online bookings coming through on a live basis. Clinic staff can right-click on the appointment and select Accept to book it in or they may want to call the client and then Drag-N-Drop the appointment into another slot.
Both options are at the clinic’s discretion. Once accepted, VETLINKSQL will automatically ask for confirmation and then send an email or/and SMS to the client confirming the appointment. This email to the client will be in a format that allows them to “save” it directly into their own Outlook, Google, or any other iCal compliant calendar system. This process provides seamless end-to-end integration between the clinic’s calendar and the client’s calendar, and eventually to their smartphones if they sync their calendars to their phones.