[Legacy] Patient Self-Scheduling
I have found that the majority of my clients love to be able to self schedule! But, I admit that it was scary in the beginning to let go of that amount of control.
A couple of things I have discovered:
As a new therapist using self-scheduling, don't start allowing self-scheduling until you have all of your 'regulars' entered onto the calendar and know you have them set up on your calendar for repeating appointment slots. Otherwise, other clients will self-schedule into that slot.
I block off some 'prime time' spots in order to save them for clients that I know need them - i.e. my 5:30 and 6:30 appointment times aren't available just for 'anyone' to take, but I will release/unblock them for the next week on this Friday evening for anyone to schedule into if I haven't used them for scheduling my usual and customary clients.
I encourage clients to set regular repeating appointments at their visit with me.
I let my clients know that my appointment openings are 'first come/first serve' if they are not set up on regular repeating appointments. Also, if they cancel an appointment for next week, they can choose another time that I already have open and check back often if I don't have anything available. Since my schedule is very dynamic, it can change on a dime, and they can take advantage of that fact.
I only open up for brand new clients to self-schedule if my schedule is pretty light - i.e. I need new clients! If I'm pretty full, I don't allow new clients to self-register, and instead, they are instructed to call my office.
If anyone takes 'advantage' of the scheduling system (i.e. consistently cancels at the last minute), I remove their username and password and take the privilege away from them and inform them that they will need to call to make their next appointment; they can't schedule online.
I think you will find that the majority of clients respect the ability to self-schedule. If they do not, use that as a diagnostic tool: they likely have boundary/narcissism issues that need to be addressed :)