Acuity Scheduling: 5 essential features for lactation consultants
When it comes to online scheduling, Acuity is my favorite of the HIPAA-compliant platforms out there, making it easy-peasy for someone to land on my website, learn about my services, and book an appointment all without any texting back-and-forth about time. But Acuity can do so much more for you—and even increase client self-efficacy.
Get your consent form signed in advance
Have you ever had a client who left everything blank on your intake form? Or didn’t complete it at all before the visit? Sometimes new families will get interrupted while trying to fill out our lengthy intakes, and may even give up and never get to the part where they’re signing our consent form.
Instead of waiting for them to complete the intakes in whatever platform you’re using, get your clients to sign your consent for care, your payment policies, and any privacy notices right when they book the appointment.
This way, you’re not worrying about your safety or if they’re going to pay you, because they’ve signed already.
Have different rules for different kinds of appointments
Initial vs. follow up, home vs. office—with Acuity, you can get super granular in configuring all the different appointments you offer to have different rules. Here are just a few examples:
Configure initial visits to begin the intake process on your charting platform
Make the client’s address the address for a home visit
For office visits, provide any special instructions about parking or what to say to the receptionist when they arrive.
Ask for a deposit for the initial visit, but not for the follow up.
Create completely different intakes for hone consults or telemedicine, including tech instructions
Send a follow up email 24 hours later
I love this particular automation, where you can configure an email that goes out 24 hours after the visit. And, as mentioned in the previous section, you can have different ones for each appointment type. With the follow up email, you could:
Remind clients of your follow up policies
Ask them to fill out a satisfaction survey
Direct them to give you a rating on Yelp, Facebook, or Google+
Invite them to join your private Facebook group
Provide them with postpartum resources for parenting and local groups
Give them the post-birth warning signs
Create gift certificates and packages
When I was a La Leche League Leader, we always told the pregnant moms to put a home visit with a lactation consultant on their baby registry. With Acuity, you can create a gift certificate with a link and a unique code that can be redeemed for any of your services or combination of services.
You can also package your services together at a discounted price. You name the price, you tell Acuity which combination of visits the package covers, and you don’t have to do any math or keep track of anything for clients to use the packages they’ve bought from you.
Generate easy-to-remember URLs for your calendar and appointment types
When you create your appointments and your calendar, Acuity will give you a gibberish URL—but you can change that URL into plain wording. Like /home-visits or /annie-frisbie or /phone-consult—it’s completely up to you how you name these. You can do this for your general calendar, for visit categories, and for each and every appointment type you have.
Obviously I’m a massive fangirl for Acuity. I use it myself and have customized it for many IBCLCs, including some group practices with complicated scheduling concerns. If you’re in the US, make sure you’re using the Powerhouse Player level for HIPAA compliance.
About the Author
Annie Frisbie, MA, IBCLC is the creator of the Lactation Consultant Private Practice Toolkit, a collection of books, resources, legal forms, training manuals, and workbooks designed to help private practice lactation consultants build a private practice that’s ethical, profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable.
In 2018 she was honored with the US Lactation Consultant Association's President's Award. Through her popular blog, online store, podcast, and one-on-one coaching, Annie has helped thousands of lactation consultants grow their businesses with simple systems that make their lives feel easier and more joyful!