Scheduling Care for Dependent Patients

One common theme in some of the questions we get is about how DocMeIn works in situations of dependent care. A few examples of what we are talking about:

  • a busy mom wants to schedule an appointment for her young child;
  • an adult child wants to receive notifications and reminders of appointments for an elderly patient;
  • a caregiver wants to see the appointment history and upcoming appointments of her dependant;
  • multiple family members want to use their shared email address for their DocMeIn account.

To support all of the above use cases, we separate patient and caregiver roles. Caregivers receive appointment-related messages and can schedule, confirm and cancel appointments for their dependents. However, it is the patient — and not the caregiver — who the appointment is scheduled with.

Practice users can enter caregiver information for a patient in the patient details dialog. When you pull up a patient, Caregiver entry is right there on the Contact Information tab. When you type a person’s name there, a list of matches will be displayed, changing as you type. You can also add a new caregiver this way. It works the same way as patient entry. You can also search for caregivers on the Patients tab with the Caregivers checkbox checked and Patients unchecked. 

Caregivers themselves can log in on your DocMeIn page and manage their dependents’ appointments — as well as their own, if they are also a patient in your practice. By indicating that they are scheduling an appointment for somebody else, caregivers can schedule new appointments for their dependents using the same Schedule Now button as patients scheduling directly. In the process, they will be able to select one of their known dependents (if they are a recognized user) or create a new one.

We will automatically determine who needs to be contacted with appointment-related messages. You can be assured that the caregiver is fully informed of her dependents’ appointments. As always, we will use any combination of email, phone and text messages to deliver reminders, based on your specified appointment settings.

P.S. We know that English speakers outside of U.S. and Canada tend to say carer rather than caregiver. All we can say is that our internationalization work is ongoing!

Multi-User Accounts

Solo providers remain our most numerous users, but a sizable and rapidly growing contingent belongs to group practices. To make their lives simpler — and we are all about simplifying your lives! — we have added a new feature: multi-user accounts. You can now assign separate usernames to each of your actual users and they can manage their passwords on their own.

To enable you to better control their access to your account, we introduced 3 separate roles that users can be assigned to:

  • Administrator. Superusers empowered to do everything, including add and remove users from your account. Incidentally, this is the role assigned to the user who created the account.
  • Provider. A user associated with a particular provider in your DocMeIn account. This user is limited in access to just that provider’s calendar and can only manage information of that one provider. Email messages pertinent to the corresponding provider will be sent to this user’s email address.
  • Office Manager. Multi-calendar user who can access all providers’ data, but cannot manage other users.

The login you used up until this point is your account Administrator. To add more users, log in with your admin account and switch to the Settings tab. Under Users, you will now see that option. It is also where you will see the users you have added and where you can remove their accounts at any time.

If you are new to DocMeIn, right about now you may be tempted to ask about pricing and login caps. The answer is the same as it has always been (with few exceptions): there is no cost and there are no limits.

All we ask for is love: channel your emotions here.

Give Your Reminders Voice

Calling your patients to remind them of their upcoming appointments is a routine burden for practice staff, taking time away from more human ways to add value. It is useful — even essential — but, well, boring and repetitive. With our email reminders, we already alleviated this chore to a point where some of our practices rely on email almost exclusively. But for many patients, a call makes all the difference in the world. It is well-known in the industry that phone reminders reduce no-shows like nothing else.

Which is why we are happy to bring the convenience of automated phone reminders to DocMeIn today. Without exaggeration, this update is the most anticipated ever in the history of DocMeIn, and, dare we say it, in the history of online appointment scheduling. The wait is now officially over, it is here: the most affordable and convenient way to automate reminders for all of your patients, whether they prefer email, phone — or both! It is just another chore that we are happy to do for you.

With no monthly fees and no minimum charges, you can continue to take advantage of DocMeIn’s best-in-class appointment management, email reminders, recalls and patient self-scheduling — all entirely free with no usage caps. But here is how it works if you want to add phone reminders for some or all of your appointments.

When you schedule a new appointment or update an existing one (including ones added to your calendar prior to this announcement), you will now notice a new Voice Reminder drop-down just below the Email Reminder options you already know and love. 

Appointment-with-voice-reminder

You can choose whether you need an email reminder, a phone reminder, neither or both for each appointment.

Before you start using voice services, you have to enable them in your account settings. The phone reminder options become available after you enter your payment details and validate your phone number, which we will automatically use as the caller ID for you.

While in settings, you will also notice that there is a new messaging template available for you to customize voice reminders as you wish. That’s right: we are not expecting everyone to use the exact same dull prerecorded message. You get the exact same flexibility to customize your phone reminders as you already have with email reminders, DocMeIn-style. Not only are some parts of the message resolved dynamically for each reminder (patient’s name, date and time of the appointment, etc), but we also convert the resulting message into a pleasant sounding voice.

Before you think we are rocket scientists (well, some of us had such aspirations earlier in our careers, but here we are), we’ll confess: we don’t do the heavy text-to-speech and telephony lifting ourselves. After much experimentation and evaluation, we chose the best technologies available on the market to power DocMeIn’s voice features. The first time we got a phone reminder from DocMeIn, we were positively blown away by the quality of what we heard. Give it a try and you’ll never have a reason to make a reminder call yourself again. We even let the patient confirm or cancel the appointment while we have them on the line.

This release marks a significant milestone for DocMeIn as it is the first time ever we are asking our users to pay for something on our platform. One thing it certainly does not mark is the end of investment in our free offering. We are as motivated as ever to continue to build out DocMeIn and to expand our free scheduling services in ways nobody else does. In the words of one wise man: Create more value than you capture. This dictum is a cornerstone of our philosophy and will continue to guide our product decisions. On the Internet, we don’t have to charge for everything, but a little bit here and there helps us sustain the innovation and keep delighting our users.

DocMeIn Now Available in Canada and Australia

Our team at DocMeIn is the envy of United Nations — we are one international bunch! For years now, we’ve been feeling boxed in, having to limit the availability of our revolutionary free appointment scheduling service to healthcare providers based in the United States. But we no longer feel that way: the moment has finally come when we were able to bring DocMeIn, in its full glory (and still free!), to our first non-U.S. users. We’ve been liberated, and no DocMeInian (or ZocDocer, for that matter) has been hurt in the process.

For a couple weeks now, DocMeIn has been available to healthcare providers in Canada and Australia, marking our first expansion outside of our initial U.S. market. Now healthcare providers in Canada and Australia can enjoy the same free best-in-class appointment scheduling that their U.S.-based brethren now accept for granted:

  • beautiful color-coded appointment calendar;
  • highly configurable and extremely flexible online scheduling;
  • automated email appointment reminders (coming soon: voice and SMS reminders!);
  • automated patient recalls;
  • seamless e-calendar integration;
  • patient information management.

You would think we charge an arm and a leg, but all of this goodness is completely free to each practice that signs up. When we say free appointment scheduling (ahem, did we mention it’s free?), we mean:

  • unlimited accounts;
  • unlimited locations;
  • unlimited providers;
  • unlimited appointments;
  • unlimited reminders;
  • unlimited patients;
  • unlimited patient self-service.

Now, even if you practice in Australia or Canada, you can have no limits too!