Cliniko's online bookings are designed to be available to all patients. By default, the booking pages are public, meaning anyone can view them, and anyone can book appointments. There is no "log in portal" for patients, so they simply select their appointment, enter their contact details, and it's all done—their appointment is booked.
We're aware, however, that some circumstances may call for certain patients to be prevented from booking online. They may be serial no-shows, behave inappropriately towards their practitioner or staff, repeatedly not pay, or something else—but whatever it is, it's sometimes better if those patients (and the issues that come with them) are dealt with before the appointment takes place.
While you can't outright prevent someone from making a booking, we have a few recommendations on things you could do to help mitigate any issues being experienced due to problematic bookings. These may or may not work for you, but have a read-through of the following suggestions and see if they might suit your clinic!
Require online payments
Requiring a payment at the time of booking can be one way to prevent patients who are chronic no-shows, or who always cancel at the last minute, from making a booking. If you require online payments, they'll have to enter their card details and actually pay up front for the appointment they're booking—this could deter someone who doesn't actually plan on showing up from booking an appointment.
Add "warning" notes that staff can see on appointments
If you're worried about a patient who might have behaviour issues, or perhaps always forgets their wallet, or has a tendency to be late or always cancel, appointment notes (which basically act like "alerts" on appointments) might be helpful. These can be set up in a patient's profile, and will show up on every appointment they have booked (and this is internally-facing only, so the patient can't see it—only you and your staff can). Appointment notes make it easy to see, at a glance, if someone may need to make extra preparations for a patient who is coming in, or if maybe the appointment needs to be cancelled immediately (as you can add an appointment note that would inform staff that this patient has been banned from the clinic, for example, and therefore their appointment needs to be removed).
Set up notification emails or SMS messages to alert practitioners of new online bookings
You can set things up so that practitioners are notified of any new online bookings, and this may be helpful to monitor who is booking in. If a practitioner gets an alert of a new booking, and they recognise the patient as a "problem patient", they can immediately take whatever action is needed to mitigate the potential problems with that booking.
Limit the number of appointments that can be booked in 24 hours
Some patients might want to book a ton of appointments at once because they want to keep all of their options open. They'll then come to one of them, but end up as no-shows at the the others. While this is probably convenient for them, it's pretty inconvenient for you, and it takes up spots that could be used for other patients. Limiting the number of appointments that can be booked in a day should help to prevent these "repeat offenders" from hoarding all of your availability in one go.
These recommendations are just that—recommendations—and they aren't fail-safes, but they may help.
While we understand that the ability to completely block certain patients from making bookings would be helpful in some cases, it's not the way that Cliniko's online bookings process is designed right now. If we ever make any changes to this, we'll of course let everyone know, but for right now, please note that using online bookings does mean that potentially anyone can make an appointment.
If you had any questions on any of the suggestions mentioned in this guide, feel free to reach out to our support team—we're always happy to help!