Veterinary appointment scheduling systems

Automating workflows in your veterinary clinic is crucial. It allows you to focus on the most important aspect of your business — caring for the animals that need your help. 

Digital veterinary appointment scheduling systems help to balance out the day for both veterinarians and their clients. These technology solutions allow clients to easily book an appointment in advance. Online scheduling reduces the administrative burden on office support staff — and the stress on everyone in the clinic.

Clients prefer online scheduling because they can see options for appointment times, and it can reduce their wait times. If your veterinary clinic doesn’t already have a streamlined solution for appointment scheduling, then it’s time to upgrade your workflow to better serve your customers.

5 things to consider when selecting scheduling software

If you do a quick search online for veterinary appointment scheduling systems, you’ll see there are plenty of options available. How do you choose the service that best fits the needs of your clinic? Here are a few essential features that can help you optimize your schedule management. 

1. Scheduling format

You should be able to choose from different types of scheduling services and setups. Most software services can accommodate these formats for booking:

  • Fixed appointment scheduling. This is a popular option that schedules a time-specific appointment so that each patient knows when they will see the veterinarian.
  • Wave scheduling. This involves scheduling four to six customers per hour. The staff then provides services in the order each person arrives.
  • Double booking. This is an effective strategy — booking two customers at the same time — if you always want to have a patient ready to see the doctor.

All of these methods are better than having open office hours, which involves giving clients a range of time when they can come in and see the veterinarian.

2. Scheduling policies and practices

Establish guidelines for appointment scheduling, and ensure that every member of the office staff follows them. It’s a good idea to create a template to determine the length of time required for different types of appointments.

Also, it’s helpful to have set standards for booking emergency appointments. Build flexibility into the schedule to accommodate on-demand requests when you need to squeeze an extra appointment into the day. Wellness appointments usually don’t need same-day care, while urgent cases require same-day slots.

3. Integrating automation

Keeping up with phone calls and schedule management requires a lot of time. Plus, some of your clients will find it more difficult to wait on the phone during work hours. Incorporating online veterinary appointment scheduling systems can be a cost-effective, convenient solution for everyone involved.

It’s important to look for a system that facilitates appointment booking through your website or mobile app. These tools allow customers to schedule and change their appointments at their convenience, leaving office staff free to focus on each customer in the office and offer a higher level of service during the appointment.

4. Multistep processes

Look for ways to group essential processes. For example, you need each client to fill out forms to provide contact information, pet medical history, and other applicable information.

Integrating these forms into the scheduling system minimizes the amount of paperwork required when clients arrive for their appointments. These integrations also improve customer satisfaction because they reduce the amount of time each person spends in the waiting room before they see the veterinarian.

5. Other helpful software features

As you’re looking at customizing your veterinary appointment system setup, you might also find it helpful to include these features:

  • A digital waitlist to backfill last-minute openings and cancellations
  • Appointment reminders and confirmation messages
  • Online check-in before each appointment
  • Communication about rates and cancellation policies

Jotform solutions for veterinary clinics

Jotform offers a variety of automation features to accommodate the workflow in a veterinary office. As you’re setting up a new or improved appointment scheduling system, consider using these tools to streamline your workflow:

Jotform provides various templates for veterinary clinics and other pet service providers. Check out these predesigned veterinary templates, which you can customize to match your unique needs. If you’d prefer something different, you can create a form from scratch with all the specific fields and questions you need to optimize your workflow.

This article is originally published on Nov 16, 2021, and updated on Jun 13, 2022.

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