The PowerDiary portal is excellent straight out of the box. Yes there are some things that would be nice to add such as referral upload or credit card saving but if you're not already using the portal then you should be. It will save you time and money and a proportion of clients would prefer to know you're available rather than calling. If you can't offer them that visibility then they may go elsewhere out of frustration.
Using the portal for new clients
It is a personal choice and we recommend NOT allowing new client registration because you lose control of new client presentation filtering. The portal works just as well for existing clients and you can turn off new client registration in the settings. Then if someone calls and sets up a first appointment verbally you can include a link to the portal as part of your confirmation email and later the invoice templates.
But if you have more than 10-15% of your available spots unbooked, then you choose to open up the portal from your website or Facebook page for new client self registration as well. That way, if someone is interested in getting started then there are less barriers than other practices. It is possible to require a deposit when booking which again is a choice but it might be reasonable to ask for a 25% deposit before accepting new clients as there is the chance they won't follow though. You can also attach an email template to new portal registrations and that template might include a link to your PowerDiary or JotForm type intake questions.
See this article for a flow chart of how we see intake working effectively through the portal and the way we setup the various forms, templates and procedures to reinforce a seamless client experience.
Watch it in action here
Booking and Cancelling
Clients will be able to see their past and upcoming appointments as well as appointments for their children (if the visibility is set on their children's profiles). They can see offers and pending appointments but what they can't see are place holdings. They can book appointments but you get to choose how last minute you want to allow them to be from as little as 30 minutes to up to four weeks out! If you have different durations of appointments then it can get tricky to prevent your day getting fragmented - PowerDiary gives you control over the gap between appointments but it doesn't enforce start times within say a 2 hour block, so if for instance you want 50 minute appointments with a 10 minute gap and you open up a 2 hour slot in your roster, then clients can book in the middle of that 2 hours and effectively crowd other clients out. Clients can cancel appointments online if you allow it and cancellation policies can be enforced under a given time window anywhere between 3 hours and a week out.
Invoices and Credit Cards
On all our billing templates if there is a failed payment we ask clients to call or go to the portal to sort out payment. It would be great if the card could be saved prior to the initial assessment, but the only way to save a card is during a payment of an existing invoice. Regardless - it's great to be able to get a history of invoices able to be reprinted and allow clients to manage their credit cards online.
The services that you make available on your portal matters. The durations that you setup under these services matters. When a client goes to the portal you don't want them to get to choose that they would like to have a bulk billed MHCP appointment for example. You also can't enforce rules like "No new IA's" easily (there are work-arounds) and you can't choose to only offer some services from some locations or on some days of the week... it's imperfect.
We suggest only making 2 items available for any given clinician - "New Clients" and "Existing Clients". In fact there are two for every qualification level eg Psy vs ClnPsy or SnrClnPsy to control rates. If you have a longer assessment then this controls the longer duration and if you want to close your books you can switch off the "New Clients" item in the portal setting for that clinician. If you want to capture the credit card at the time of booking the first appointment then you can add a $1 (or $50) deposit by setting that against the Setup > Service Items in the Portal Deposit field and also setting optional or required in the Credit card payment required when booking field on the Setup > Portal > Access and Settings. When portal bookings are made they are flagged in a bright orange and then you (or we) will get to choose to deny that appointment or set the appropriate service item and unflag it.
If you offer appointments via telehealth as well as face to face on the same day then you need to be careful how you setup the rosters so that you are available at the same time in either "location". You also don't get a choice of what sequence the clients sees the scheduling decisions - the location will always come first and there isn't an "All locations" option.
Last reviewed 7 August 2022
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