UPDATE: This post was updated 8/17/2017 to include new systems and to move older systems to the runners up list.Patient no-shows can lose your practice tons of money.
Patient no-shows can lose cost your practice tons of money.
Missed appointments cost the U.S. healthcare system $150 billion every year, by one estimate.
In one case a clinic lost a million dollars because of 14,000 no-shows over the course of a year.
While there’s lots of medical scheduling software out there to help with this problem (studies found automated appointment reminders and alerts can reduce no-shows by as much as 36%), if you’re a small medical practice, or a solo practitioner, you may not have the cash for a full appointment scheduling system or EMR.
That’s why I put together this list.
Free appointment scheduling software is a great way to get started if you’re not quite ready to pay for something or if you’re not sure you’ll use it.
Now, remember, many EMRs and medical practice management systems (of which there are quite a few quality free options) already include medical scheduling as part of their entire suite of functionality.
However, if you want something specifically for appointments, here’s a list of the top free medical scheduling options:
Acuity Scheduling has a free, solo option with unlimited appointments. Users really love Acuity, with one reviewer saying that it makes scheduling potential and existing clients very easy.
The two big negatives are that it’s missing a lot of features the other options have, first because it’s not designed for medical practices, but also because the free version is quite stripped down, feature-wise.
For example, syncing Acuity with Google Calendar requires a paid plan, so users at the free level have to take one extra step to block off your Acuity calendar.
A vast knowledge base makes getting to know Acuity easier. They also offer unlimited email support at the free level.
This popular appointment scheduling tool works on a plethora of different operating systems, and includes native mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows 8. The free version offers one staff seat, five services, and unlimited bookings. The software is ad-supported, and feature-limited, and paid plans start at $19.99 a month.
The free option is fairly feature-limited, and doesn’t have recurring bookings, separate staff logins, or unrestricted Google Calendar linking. But given that, it does include unlimited bookings, a mobile version, and SMS reminders.
Free for one user and one physical address, and 50 or fewer current bookings, ClickBook is aimed at the smaller end of the market. The free version is supported by ads, and paid plans start at $19.95 a month.
Unfortunately the free version of ClickBook is limited to only one user, and the software wasn’t built with doctors primarily in mind. However, it does include recurring appointments, email appointment reminders, and “smart scheduling” that can coordinate with provider schedules.
“Our free patient appointment scheduling software is one of the most robust out there, and it has the advantage of being integrated with a billing and practice management system,” Michael Sculley, VP of marketing, tells me.
And it’s true that PracticeSuite has a ton of features at the free level, for one user. These include authorization utilization tracking, custom superbills, and basic practice productivity reports.
At the free level you get 25 electronic claims per month and insurance and patient payment posting as well.
As far as I can tell, PracticeSuite is the only free medical scheduling option with unlimited chat support at the free level. There’s an extensive knowledge base for learning how to use the software.
The ICD-10 and CPT coding look-up function offers a tabular, numerical list of ICD-10 by chapter, categories, and subcategories. Green arrows indicate billable, and red arrows indicate non-billable codes. Adding the selected code to the charges screen is as easy as clicking the checkbox next to relevant ICD-10 code in the tabular list and pressing the “add” button.
You also don’t have to worry about the business model changing, as there’s a free forever option.
A free online appointment scheduler that can be added to your existing website and can also manage internal scheduling, Sagenda targets a range of businesses, including medical practices, chiropractors, and naturopaths. The software is totally free, without even an upgrade option to a paid version, as Sagenda makes money through providing custom options to large, enterprize clients.
Sagenda isn’t medical-specific. But it’s fairly easy to sign up for and use.
The introduction/training video is a great overview of the software. I need you to do me a favor though. I need you to watch this video before you watch the Sagenda overview video. It will increase your enjoyment 1,000x.
Sagenda is simple and clean, and integrates easily as a plugin into WordPress and iWeb websites. It includes email notifications and patient self-service.
However, the software, while simple, may be a little too simple. I couldn’t find calendar sync functionality, though as of last month they are beta testing a WordPress calendar view. In the last year they’ve added an SMS reminder feature. Still no recurring appointments though.
Setmore also isn’t medical-specific, but it’s very slick. Sign-up and setup couldn’t be easier.
The pros are considerable. The interface is modern looking. Sign-up and setup are stupid easy. The free version includes up to 20 staff members and unlimited clients and contacts.
It’s also got some cool features, such as an online calendar, dashboard for staff member hours and costs, push notifications, and appointment reminders. SMS reminders are available, but only for paid users.
The coolest feature (in my opinion) is the ability to embed the online appointment booking functionality into your website or Facebook page.
This scheduling system integrates with your existing website to allow online appointment booking. SuperSaaS offers a free, ad-supported version of the software, which is limited to 50 concurrent appointments and 50 registered users. Paid plans start at $8 a month.
While developed for a wide array of different businesses, not just medical practices, SuperSaaS does offer features specifically for doctors, including the ability to coordinate schedules of multiple practitioners, mobile access, email and SMS reminders, and waiting list functionality.
That said, the free version is limited to only 50 appointments at one time, and will only save the past 500 appointments. iCal, Outlook, and Google Calendar sync are not available with the free version.
Runners up: free medical scheduling software systems
Some other popular free online scheduling options exist.
This online appointments portal is aimed directly at the healthcare market, with an emphasis on European medical professionals. The service is free, and makes money through ads on the portal, optional paid features like SMS reminders, and an optional, ad-free premium version.
The fact that this system was built with doctors in mind means it includes features that more general scheduling suites do not. This ranges from the ability for patients to select their health insurance provider when making an appointment, to a management tool for medical office secretaries.
However, I moved it to the runners up because the UI is not as slick as other options, and the focus on the European medical market can limit some functionality for U.S.-based professionals.
This free online scheduling service was built specifically with medical professionals in mind. It allows unlimited patients, reminders, appointments, and recalls. Right now the whole service is totally free, but DocMeIn does plan to add premium features such as text reminders, on a pay-as-you-go model.
Built specifically for doctors, this system offers all the functionality a medical clinic could want, from unlimited logins for providers (and the ability to add schedules for each of them), to recurring appointments, appointment reminders, and patient self-service.
While the system is completely free, I moved it to runners up because the developers may have abandoned the project. The blog and Facebook posts both stop after August of last year, and one reviewer wrote in June 2017 that DocMeIn, “did not consistently send out appointment reminders to my patients or to me to sync my calendar. When trying to contact DocMeIn.com they responded once and didn’t fix issue. Then never responded again.”
Have you run into any other awesome, free medical scheduling software products? Let us know in the comments.
Looking for Medical Practice Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Medical Practice Management software solutions.