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Patient time zones & appointments: an overview

If you service patients outside of your local time zone, you'll want to make sure you have a few key things set up in your account.

Emily avatar
Written by Emily
Updated over a week ago

If you see patients outside of your local time zone, then you'll want to read this guide. There are some important features that you can set up within your Cliniko account, which will ensure that your patients' appointment times are communicated to them in the correct time zone!

This guide probably isn't relevant if all of your patients are in your local time zone, but if you offer telehealth appointments to folks that might live in a different state (or country), or perhaps your clinic is located on a border city, this article will be relevant to you.

There are a few key things you'll want to know about, and set up, if you see patients in a time zone different to yours:

  • Each patient can have a time zone set up in their details, which will help to ensure that their appointment-related communications (confirmations and reminders) include their appointment in their time zone.

  • Appointment-related communications (confirmations and reminders) can include placeholders that will ensure the patient's appointment details display in their time zone.

  • When a patient books online, they'll see availability in their time zone. You can learn more about that here.

Below, we've outlined what you can do to ensure that your account is set up to handle patients in multiple time zones. This includes:

Watch a brief overview of how time zones work:

And follow the guide below for step-by-step instructions on how to set it all up!

Set the time zone in your patients' details

Each patient will have a "time zone" field in their details page. It'll be right at the top of their information, and will look something like this:

If multiple time zones are enabled within your account, by default, patients will use the business or account time zone; otherwise, they will use your account's time zone.

If you need to change a patient's time zone, you can edit their details and select their relevant time zone. Below the address field, you'll find an area called Time zone:

Use the drop-down menu to select the appropriate time zone, and save! Now this patient will now have their time zone listed:

Here's a quick video of the entire process:

Now that that part is done, it's time to get the placeholders in your appointment confirmations and reminders set up!

Add time zone-specific placeholders to your confirmation and reminder templates

To ensure that communications include the correct appointment times (in the patient's time zone), you'll want to update the placeholders in your confirmation and reminder templates.

To get started, head to Settings, and then Appointment confirmations and/or Appointment reminders:

You'll need to update each template separately, so if you have reminders and confirmations that go out to patients in different time zones, be sure to edit each template!

Select the template you want to edit:

On the next page, you'll be looking for the APPOINTMENT drop-down:

Within that drop-down, you'll see options that end with WithZone:

These are the placeholders that you'll want to include in your templates. So, for example, if you want the patient to see what time their appointment starts in their local time zone, select the StartTimeWithZone placeholder. That would then look like this in the template:

This placeholder will most likely increase the character count in SMS reminders, which could bump those up to 2 or more credits per message.

What that will do is ensure that the patient's time zone is listed in the message (i.e. AEST, as in the example below):

The above is just an example, and is meant to be indicative of how the time zone itself (i.e. AEST) will display. Messages that are sent to your patients will include their time zone (i.e. AWST).

The message, when sent to your patient, will show the time in their time zone:

The appointment will still show up in your Cliniko account as your time zone! If you look at the example above, you can see the appointment details at the top are two hours later than the time the patient sees. This is because the account in this example is set to AEST, but the patient's time zone is set to AWST (two hours behind).

Those are currently the two main things you'll need to do to ensure that your account is all set up for managing patients in different time zones. If you have any questions, our support team will be happy to help!

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