For Vets For Owners

April 5, 2020

Managing your video consultation diary: Public appointments

Ashley Barron BVMS MRCVS

April 5, 2020

Setting up and managing any appointment system, especially in a busy veterinary practice, can be a stressful and time consuming exercise. Why not take some of the load from your staff and use the self booking system on the VetHelpDirect video platform?  

Public appointments can be booked by owners

Public appointments can be created in the “settings” tab on the practice admin dashboard and then added into the calendar as available slots individually or set to repeat on certain days over a chosen time period. 

Any registered pet owner can view and book public appointments with your practice. They will only see available slots, not the whole calendar, so other bookings are kept confidential. 

The practice will receive an email notification every time a public appointment is booked and the calendar will update to show the booking. You choose when these appointments are available, how long they last, and what the charge is. Just as with private appointments, all public appointments charged through the VetHelpDirect platform have to be paid in advance by the client. Once an appointment shows up in your diary as booked/confirmed you know payment has been made, saving you another job! 

Signing up your pet owners en-masse

Although it’s possible to invite each pet owner as and when they need to use the service, practices report that getting their pet owners registered in advance is far smoother and more effective, as well as encouraging client uptake of the service and minimising the workload for the vet and admin team. 

We provide badges for websites and social media that link to our registration page so that vets can advertise their video consultation service and direct pet owners to sign up at the same time. It is much easier for owners to register this way and contact our support services if they encounter any issues, than to try to do so in a hurry when stressed and worried about a poorly pet!  

Less stress, more pets 

The major benefit practices are seeing from working this way is the reduction in load and stress for their staff, whilst enabling them to see even more pets. Allowing clients to book their own appointments reduces incoming call volume, and no follow up calls are necessary to chase for payment. The diary can be left to fill itself whilst the team get on with other jobs.

Getting on board 

Many practices set out an appointment booking guide for their clients explaining what public appointments are suitable for, and how to book. If more than one public appointment type is available, these instructions can include how to decide which one to choose. Nurse clinics, first appointments, follow ups, medication reviews, weight clinics etc are all suited to this style of booking. Obviously a friendly reminder to still call directly if an owner feels their pet has a life threatening condition may be required. 

Is it for you?

Some of our users rely entirely on this public appointment booking system and others use a mix of private appointment invites and public slots. There is no right way to use the platform and every practice is different but we recommend considering what public appointments could do for you and giving them a try!