9 Things Every Medical Practice Should Do Before the Festive Holidays

1. Change your opening hours on your website, Google My Business listing and social channels

Make sure anyone who Googles your clinic during the holiday break can immediately see whether you’re open or closed by updating your hours on your website, social media pages and Google My Business listing.

To set holiday hours in Google My Business:

1. Go to Google My Business

2. If you have multiple locations, open the location you’d like to manage

3. Click the Special hours section

4. Click Confirm hours next to an upcoming holiday, or click Add new date to choose a different date

5. Enter the opening times for those days that are different to normal

  • Slide the circle to “Closed” to indicate that the location is closed all day
  • If you’re open 24 hours, click Opens at and select 24 hours from the dropdown menu that appears
  • If you enter closing hours past midnight, make sure to set them properly

6. When you’ve finished entering all of your special hours, click Apply (Note: Your special hours will appear to customers on Google only for the designated days)

Download our FREE Guide to Google My Business for Medical Practices

We’ll show you how to optimise your Google My Business listing to improve the chances of a new patient choosing your clinic over a clinic down the road.

To set holiday hours in Facebook:

  1. From your News Feed, click Pages in the left menu.
  2. Go to your Page and click Edit Page Info on the left side.
  3. Scroll down to the Hours section. From here, you can add or change your business hours. You can also select Temporary Service Changes if your business is temporarily closed or offering different services.
  4. Click to check the box next to the days your business is open. Click the hours to edit them. To add more hours, click .
If you don’t see an Hours section, you may need to change your Page’s category.

2. Update your email signature and out-of-office responder

Also be sure to add your holiday opening hours and emergency numbers to your email signature and any out-of-office email auto-responders you have set up.  

Here are some helpful resources:

Microsoft Outlook:


3. Encourage patients to book in for preventative health checks

Did you know patients are most engaged with preventative health in Summer? This makes the festive holidays the perfect time of year to be encouraging patients to book in for preventative health checks.

To help your clinic drive bookings we’ve created a FREE marketing kit that includes email and social media templates to promote check-ups for cervical screening tests, prostate screening tests, diabetes risk checks, mental health assessments and general visits.

Boost face-to-face bookings for preventative health checks by downloading our FREE marketing kit

The kit includes email and social media and templates for: cervical screening tests, prostate screening tests, diabetes risk checks, mental health assessments and general visits.

4. Thank your patients for their loyalty (and notify them about your holiday hours)

How do you usually communicate with your patients? SMS, email, in-person? Why not use this medium to notify your patients about your holiday hours and thank them for their loyalty?

You could send patients a festive newsletter doing a bit of a wrap up of the year. You can also use HotDoc Broadcast to send patients an SMS informing them of your holiday hours and wishing them a restful break.

5. Decorate your waiting room

Lighten up your clinic and get into the festive spirit by decorating your waiting room. You don’t have to go overboard or pigeonhole yourself by sticking to just Christmas decorations. Anything that lifts the mood will be a refreshing change for patients.

6. Change your ‘on-hold’ messages

If possible, set up a separate ‘on-hold’ message for the time your clinic is closed for the holidays. In the message, include clear instructions on the days and times you are open, and what patients should do in the case of an emergency.

7. Skim through our Patient Survey 2020

If you’re starting to plan for next year, we recommend you take a skim through our Patient Survey 2020. The aim of our annual patient survey is to provide general practices with a gold-standard measurement of patient expectations so those looking to improve their service-delivery know where to place their focus.

Download our Patient Survey 2020

We surveyed 500+ Australians to get a better understanding of patient expectations in general practice.

8. Consider those less fortunate

Give to those in need by setting up a donation station in your clinic to collect toys, gifts and clothes. You could also host a morning tea at your clinic to raise money for a cause like The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal

Here are some other Christmas Appeals you may also want to support: 

9. Check Your HotDoc Settings are 'Holiday Ready'

Does your clinic use HotDoc? We recommend adding an Alert Message to your HotDoc bookings page outlining when you will be closed for the holiday period. You can also change your opening hours in the dashboard (Just remember to set a reminder to change your hours back in the New Year).

Another tip is to use Repeats to save your patients hassle during the holidays by allowing them to make requests for routine prescriptions/referrals online without the need for in-person consultations. Your doctors have full control to accept/reject requests as they come in. If you are using Repeats, be sure to temporarily disable any practitioners who aren’t available during the holiday season. 

And lastly, if you’re using Check-In, we encourage you to add a custom message wishing patients happy holidays. The message will be displayed on the screen after a patient has checked in. 

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