What does "default appointment type" mean?

Your "default appointment type" affects quite a few things, especially when it comes to online bookings. This guide shows you how it works.

Emily avatar
Written by Emily
Updated over a week ago

If you're a practitioner, you may have noticed that in your settings, there's something called a default appointment type:

If you've never edited it before, it will be set to N/A. However, you can set it up to be any appointment type you offer, and it plays an important role in certain parts of how your appointments are set up, especially in online bookings!

In this guide, we'll cover the following:

Things your default appointment type will affect:

What is the default appointment type?

The default appointment type would be best described as the most common appointment you offer. Let's say you offer a New Patient Appointment, a Standard Appointment, and a Special Follow-up Appointment. You're probably only seeing new patients with that New Patient Appointment, and perhaps most of them are booking a Standard Appointment, but not all of them are booking a Special Follow-up Appointment. In this case, you're probably booking most people in under the Standard Patient appointment, so it would make sense that it would be your default!

If you're offering this one the most, setting it up as your default appointment type would make sense. It means that it will be the "default" that is shown when you or someone at your clinic is booking an appointment for you in the calendar (meaning, you won't need to choose a different appointment type when making the booking), and it also affects the duration of time between appointments in online bookings (more on that below).

Do I need to choose a default, or can I leave it blank?

If you offer online bookings, we highly suggest selecting a default appointment type. If you don't select a default, Cliniko will select it for you based on its title and when it was created. (It chooses it "alphanumerically", meaning it will pick the earliest-created appointment type that has a name that begins with or is closest to "A").

This may not matter too much if you don't offer online bookings, but if you do, it's advised to select a default appointment type!

The default appointment type affects the duration between appointments in online bookings.

If you offer online bookings and want to control how much time is available between the appointments on display, selecting a default appointment type is important.

When it comes to online bookings, how often do you want to display your available appointments? Every half-hour? Every fifteen minutes? The duration between appointments will depend on what you have set as your default appointment type.

When a patient is looking at your online bookings page, they'll see when your appointments are available. In the below example, we can see that this practitioner offers appointments every hour:

The reason for this is because the practitioner's default appointment type (in their practitioner settings) is set to something that is one hour in duration:

If you're not sure of the duration of your default appointment type, you can double-check it in your appointment type settings, as in the example below.

So, using the example above, with a one-hour long default appointment type, the practitioner's "start times" on the online booking page will appear one hour apart—until other bookings are made on that day.

Below, we can see that some appointments start "on the hour" (at the :00 mark), but others appear to be more random—for example, in the afternoon, we have availability for 12:00, but the next time is 2:30:

Why the weird gap? In this situation, an appointment that ends at 2:30 would have been booked—potentially online, or potentially "internally" (by a staff member). This means it's "pushed out" the start time of any appointments after that. And, being that the duration of the default appointment type is 60 minutes, it means that things will remain 60 minutes apart—until something else is booked to "close up" that space (such as a 30-minute appointment from 3:30 to 4:00, for example).

You might be wondering, can I enforce appointments to always start on the hour (or another specific time), no matter what?

Unfortunately, no—while you can try to make this happen by making your default appointment type an hour-long one (using the previous example), there won't be a way to outright prevent any appointments from being booked sometime during the hour, unless all you offer are 60 minute appointments and never book anything outside of that :00 mark.

The default appointment type affects when your next appointment is shown in online bookings.

Depending on what you have set as your default appointment type and how long it is (such as 30 minutes or 60 minutes), this will affect what's shown to patients on your online bookings page. If your default appointment type is set to something too long, it may limit the availability of appointments shown online. If you're not seeing enough appointments being offered via online bookings, we recommend selecting a default appointment type that is shorter in length. We have some more information on this here.

The default appointment type indicates the one that shows up when you are adding a booking to your calendar.

When you or someone else is adding a new appointment to your calendar, the default appointment type will be the one that is automatically "set" when you make a new booking, as indicated in the example below:

Having the default set to your most commonly-offered appointement takes a few steps out of selecting which appointment type you're booking—but keep in mind, if you offer online bookings and want to have more control over how many appointments are displayed on your online bookings page, you may want to pick a default appointment type that is shorter (or longer)!

The default appointment type affects the duration of both unavailable times and space you have opened up on your calendar

In the vein of "the default appointment type affects the duration of time between available appointments in online bookings", it also affects the length of your unavailable blocks or "opened up time" on your calendar. For example, if your default appointment type is 60 minutes long, by default, any unavailable blocks or one-off availabilities will also be set to 60 minutes when you add them (but you can edit the duration when adding them). Check out the guides below for more information on these settings:

Still have questions?

Our support team is here to help! Send us a message and we can chat with you about all things appointments, online bookings, and more!

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