Online Booking Using the Client Portal
- Enable online booking
- Manage your availability
- Setup available services
- Setup locations
- Additional configuration options
- Putting it all together
- Online booking from a client's perspective
- Accepting or declining a booking request
- Adding online booking to your website
Setup online booking for the client portal
This Sessions Health tutorial teaches you how to setup and manage your availability for online booking.
Sessions Health's online booking feature allows your existing or new clients book appointments online. Once an appointment is requested, you'll receive a notification to accept or decline the appointment.
Enable online booking
To get started, you must first enable online booking from the Account Settings > Portal tab by clicking on the check-box next to Online Booking.
You can then manage your availability by going to Account Settings > Portal and clicking on the Manage Availability button in the Features section. You may also find this by clicking on the Manage Availability button in the upper right section of your calendar view.
Create a new schedule
Set your default availability
To create an initial schedule, first set up your availability. Identify your default weekly schedule (you can add or delete specific dates and times at a later step).
- Click the + sign to add additional hours for a particular day.
- Click the Copy icon to duplicate a particular day's schedule across other days.
- Click the Trash icon to delete a schedule.
Setup date overrides
Once you've created your first schedule, you can set Date Overrides for dates and times that deviate from your default online booking schedule. For example, you can remove an entire week or just an hour of a day if you know you're going to be unavailable.
Note: Both you and members with a Scheduler and/or Administrator role will be able to view and modify your availability settings.
Setup available services
The next step is to determine the services you want to make available for new or existing clients. Services enabled for new clients will allow anyone with a link to your portal URL to request an appointment without an account. Services enabled for existing clients will allow clients that you've invited to your portal and have their own account login to request an appointment.
Note: You can choose from a list of services that you've enabled in the Billing Settings > Services tab of your account.
Use the Customize Label button to create a client-friendly name when this service appears in the client portal.
Note: We do not have a separate widget to embed online booking onto your website, however, you can simply provide a link to your unique portal URL, which you can find in the Account Settings > Portal tab.
Each schedule allows you to select which locations apply. Select which of your account's service locations should be available for the schedule you are creating.
- Display Name is what the client will see as an option when choosing a location,
- Description is shown when they're confirming the request. The description is useful for providing parking and directions to physical locations or telehealth instructions for telehealth locations.
Additional configuration options
The last step in the setup process is for additional configuration options that you may set from Calendar > Manage Availability > Active Services:
From here you can give this schedule a name and control how soon clients can schedule a new appointment (our recommendation would be for at least 12 hours since you'll need to approve the request before it's added to your calendar). You can also configure how far in advance someone can schedule an appointment. If you'd like to give yourself some additional time between sessions, you can configure that as well.
Setting the time zone binds the selected time zone to the hours and days you configure for your availability. However, the calendar is always displayed in the local time where you are currently located.
Example: If your online availability time zone is Central Time, but your client is in New York while looking at your scheduling calendar in the client portal, the times will be displayed in Eastern Time for your client.
Putting it all together
By creating multiple schedules, you have a lot of flexibility in managing how clients schedule. You may create a schedule for telehealth and another for in-person. You may create a schedule for a particular service such as groups or family therapy.
Step 1. Click the Plus icon
Clicking the icon at the top of the screen will allow you to create an additional schedule.
Step 2. Setup Services
Click the button that contains the number of services for this schedule to change what services are available.
Step 3. Setup Locations
Click the button that contains the number of locations for this schedule to make changes to the locations. You may select which locations this schedule should apply to and set the display name and description for just this schedule.
The following are just a few examples of how you may create multiple schedules to support your needs.
Example 1: A therapist provides telehealth on M, W, F and provides in-person therapy on T, Th. They offer the same services every day. This therapist may create two schedules. The first schedule may be configured for just the telehealth location. The availability for this schedule will be set for M, W, F and no availability on other days. All services will be included. The second schedule may include just the in-person location. The availability for this schedule will be T and Th. All services will be included.
Example 2: Someone may choose to setup a schedule for each service they offer and assign one or more locations where it's available.
Example 3: Therapists can use additional schedules as an addendum to an existing schedule. A therapist can create one default telehealth schedule for all services every afternoon, but then add a custom schedule to allow for telehealth consultations on Tuesday mornings.
Example 4: A therapist provides telehealth and in-person therapy but only does consultations using telehealth. They may create two identical schedules except one will use the telehealth location and include the Consultation service. The other schedule will use the in-person location and not include the Consultation service. Clients scheduling through the client portal will only be able to schedule consultations according to the therapist's telehealth schedule.
Online booking from a client's perspective
From a client's perspective, your portal entry will include an option for new or existing clients.
The may click Request Appointment at the top of the portal screen to start the booking process.
Step 1. They will select someone from the available practitioners.
Step 2. They will select from the available services.
Step 3. They will select an available location for that practitioner and service.
A client's location selection will be pre-selected on their new appointment if the request is approved.
Step 4. They will select a date and time.
Step 5. They will confirm the appointment and add an optional message.
Note: Your clients will be unable to book dates and times when you're already booked nor times when you have a pending appointment request.
Accepting or declining a booking request
Once an appointment request is submitted, you (and any schedulers you have setup on your account) will receive an email notification. You'll also see an indicator in the Calendar menu of a pending request.
From there, you'll be able to Accept or Decline the request.
Note: Your client may return to the portal to cancel their request as long as the appointment is pending your approval. If you've accepted the appointment, your client will need to contact you to reschedule or cancel their appointment.
Adding online booking to your website
Once you've setup your client portal and enabled online booking, you may add your client portal URL link directly to your website for new client bookings. You can find your client portal URL in Account Settings > Portal.
We suggest bypassing the initial landing page and add /request to the end of your URL, which is the direct link for new clients to book an appointment. For example, your new client booking URL may look like https://examplepractice.patientsecure.me/request.