How “Free” Are Free Online Schedulers?

April 21st, 2010

If you have been looking for online schedulers for your business, there are chances that you have come across web sites that claim to offer free online schedulers. This can be a very tempting route to take for your appointment scheduling needs. However, there are some factors you need to bear in mind before you opt for such a service.

The issue of free online schedulers is sensitive in any line of business you may be involved in, but it is even more serious as far as medical practice is concerned.

Making online schedules is quite involving. So, why would someone be willing to offer you the service free of charge? The companies give a variety of reasons for doing this, but they tend to boil down to the same thing: that they have other great ways of making money.

What is true is that they must have ways of making money. However, they are not really making the money from other sources as they would like you to believe. If the services were free as they claim, why would they go to great lengths to reach you in the first place? This in itself should tell you that the service is not as free as it is claimed. The plain fact is that the companies need people to sign up for their apparently free services for them to make money. But do you know that the way they make the money could easily land you into a lot of trouble?

Consider this:

When you sign up for the “free” online schedulers, not only will your own data but also the details of your patients go to the company’s servers. How safe can you ensure that this data is? As a doctor, you know that you are sworn to privacy as far as some of your patients’ details are concerned. Yet here you will be putting yourself in a situation where you have absolutely no control over this data.

Do you know how the apparently free services generate income? They SELL this data. The money that they get from your data is far more than what you would pay for a good online appointment scheduler. And you do not really know where your sensitive pieces of information could end up.

You can easily be charged for the violation of your patient’s privacy, and what you will be required to pay cannot be compared to the amount with which you could have subscribed to a good online scheduler. And you can be held in violation of HIPAA.

Even if your business does not grind to a halt, you will have a very bad reputation. Free online schedulers are actually too costly to risk taking.

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