LocalMed is a reputable technology startup that offers a robust online appointment scheduling platform designed specifically for dentists. The company distinguishes itself from the competition by offering real-time scheduling capabilities that are fully integrated with your practice management software. Whereas other online dental scheduling systems are only able to read your schedule but cannot write to it, LocalMed is also able to write to your practice management software's schedule, so that both systems will be completely in sync. This saves time for your dental practice, and also makes the booking process smoother for the patient.
LocalMed has the most robust online scheduling capabilities on the market, and is our top choice for dental practices that are looking to take advantage of the benefits that online dental appointment scheduling systems offer.
- $249/month; no annual contract required.
- $990 one-time setup fee, which includes support and a training session.
- Special offer for ValuePenguin readers: Mention ValuePenguin to receive an additional 10% off your setup fee, in addition to the current best promotion offered by LocalMed. Contact LocalMed for details
LocalMed Full Review
Based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, LocalMed is a technology startup that provides an online appointment scheduling platform for both dental practices and their patients. Like Zocdoc, LocalMed is a platform that patients can visit in order to find and book appointments with local dentists that accept their insurance. However, unlike Zocdoc, LocalMed does not require patients to create a user profile in order to book an appointment. Instead, patients can book as guests, which eliminates an extra step of having to create a profile and makes the booking process faster and more convenient. There are currently about 1,500 dental providers listed on LocalMed, though some of them are not currently active customers.
Because LocalMed is designed specifically for the dental industry, the company has been able to create a system that is fully integrated with the major dental practice management systems, including Dentrix, Eaglesoft, Open Dental, and Softdent.
In addition to displaying real-time availability to patients, LocalMed is also able to write to your practice management system, so that it can actually book the appointment in your system once a patient has requested a time slot. Many other systems that claim to sync with your PMS are actually only able to read your PMS schedule to show patients real-time availability. This means that they may still require your staff to manually add an appointment into the system upon confirming it. Even worse, if the requested appointment slot is no longer available, your staff will have to call the patient in order to arrange for an alternative time. This additional overhead negates a lot of the benefits that online scheduling systems have to offer. LocalMed is able to distinguish itself from similar systems by offering the only online appointment booking solution that automates every step of the booking process, from appointment request to confirmation.
We'll discuss some of the key features of LocalMed, and how they can benefit your practice.
Real-Time Appointment Booking
According to LocalMed, more than 40 percent of its appointments are booked outside of office hours. This indicates that if your practice doesn't currently offer online appointment booking, you may be missing out on many patients who are simply too busy to step aside from their desk during the day in order to make a phone call to schedule their appointment.
There are many systems that enable dental practices to offer patients the ability to request appointments online. However, LocalMed is one of the only solutions that is able to help cut down on the work that comes after the request, by actually confirming the appointment and adding it into your practice management system. This not only saves time for your staff, but also increases the accuracy of the schedule that's on LocalMed, which reduces the risk of double-booking.
LocalMed also enables practices to specify how long to block off for certain types of procedures, to ensure that each appointment is scheduled for the appropriate amount of time. Practices can also enforce specific rules, such as not allowing certain procedures to be booked online.
As opposed to many other online appointment scheduling systems (like Zocdoc) that use a link/button to redirect the patient to a profile, LocalMed's scheduling widget can be embedded on any page (your dental practice's website, Facebook page, etc.), like in the example shown below. The patient can schedule directly on your website, without having to visit a separate page before being able to book their appointment.
This not only makes the appointment booking process smoother -- it also enables your potential patients to learn more about your practice by staying on your website or Facebook page for a longer period of time, instead of taking them to LocalMed's website, where they may navigate away and discover other competing providers in your area.
Attract New Patients
LocalMed has a unique partnership with United Concordia, which is one of the largest dental insurance companies in the United States. Practices who use LocalMed and who are also part of the United Concordia Dental Network will be listed at the top of the search page when users go to search for a provider on United Concordia's website. This is a very powerful benefit, since many patients consult their insurance's website to discover in-network providers in their area. For example, here's what happened when we searched United Concordia's website for dental providers near zip code 80518:
The search returned 1,887 dentists within 10 miles, but the top result is Dr. David Smith, who is a LocalMed user. Since he uses LocalMed, he automatically surfaces above every other provider in the area, and patients can book appointments online with him through LocalMed's widget (the red "Schedule Now" button). If prospective patients are coming to United Concordia's website to look for dentists, it's a substantial advantage for your practice to appear at the top of the search results.
As of July 2017, LocalMed also launched a partnership with Six Month Smiles, which allows LocalMed clients to facilitate online appointment scheduling through Six Month Smiles' platform. Though LocalMed clients will not be promoted to the top of the Six Month Smiles search results page, their listings will have a red "Schedule Now" button, which can be helpful in standing out from the other listings on the page. Here's an example of how a LocalMed client is able to stand out from the rest of the crowd:
LocalMed can also potentially give your practice additional exposure to new patients through its own site. When you list your practice on LocalMed, you'll be able to customize your own dedicated profile page to include information about your practice, which insurance plans you accept, your experience/education, location, and more. Dr. David Smith's profile is an example of what a typical LocalMed profile looks like:
Patients can then search for practices in their area, and potentially discover your practice. Though you may attract some new patients this way, the platform is less well-known compared to some other platforms, which means that it's not currently one of the top advantages of using LocalMed. However, as the platform becomes more well-known, this can become a more substantial benefit.
Online Scheduling on Your Healthgrades Profile
LocalMed partners with Healthgrades, which is a reputable reviews site for health providers. Because of this partnership, dental providers who use LocalMed can enable patients to book directly from their Healthgrades profile, using a LocalMed widget.
Since Healthgrades is a reputable reviews site, patients who are searching for reviews of your practice will likely come across your Healthgrades profile. By enabling prospective patients to schedule directly from your profile, you'll increase the chances that they'll end up scheduling an appointment with you.
How Does LocalMed Compare to Other Online Scheduling Systems?
If you're simply looking for the best online scheduling capabilities, then LocalMed is your best bet. However, if you value other things such as patient reviews or patient communications, and are willing to trade those off with less robust scheduling capabilities, then there may be other options that are suitable for you.
LocalMed vs Zocdoc
Zocdoc is the most comparable system to LocalMed. However, there are substantial differences between the two systems. Currently, Zocdoc is more of a household name than LocalMed, since Zocdoc is widely used across the healthcare industry (and not just dentistry). This means that patients will frequently use Zocdoc to discover healthcare providers in their area, whereas it may be less common for patients to use LocalMed in this manner. However, as we mentioned above, LocalMed offers alternative ways that it can help patients discover new patients (e.g. through its United Concordia and Healthgrades partnerships.)
Zocdoc also helps practices solicit reviews, and posts them on your Zocdoc profile. This is convenient for prospective patients who want to see your reviews and schedule appointments all on the same website. In contrast, LocalMed currently doesn't include any reviews on your profile.
Practices that use Zocdoc usually include a "Schedule an Appointment" button on their website, which links to their Zocdoc profile. LocalMed gives practices some more flexibility, in that they can either choose to link to their LocalMed profile, or they can embed LocalMed's scheduling widget directly on their website. If you embed the widget on your website, this provides an advantage because patients can view available time slots and book an appointment directly on your website, without navigating away to another page.
Zocdoc is only able to read from your schedule from your practice management software, but is unable to write to it. So, practices using Zocdoc will have to confirm appointment requests, and then manually enter them into their practice management system. In contrast, this entire process is automated with Localmed.
At $300/month with a year-long contract, Zocdoc is slightly more expensive than LocalMed, which is $249/month without any contract.
LocalMed vs Limelight (Solutionreach add-on)
Solutionreach is a popular patient communication system that's popular amongst dentists, as well as other healthcare professionals. As of 2015, Solutionreach began offering an online appointment scheduling module, known as Limelight, for an additional fee. Limelight is only available to Solutionreach customers, as an add-on. Solutionreach doesn't publish the price of Limelight, but users have reported paying $80/month for the module, in addition to the $379/month base price for Solutionreach. As with Zocdoc, Limelight is unable to update your practice management software's schedule -- it can only read from it. However, since it does read from your PMS, patients can see the available appointment slots, and only request slots that are available.
If you're a current Solutionreach user looking to save a bit of money, and don't mind having to confirm your appointments and manually enter them into your PMS, then Limelight is a viable option to consider. However, we think that the extra time spent confirming appointments is a cost that should be factored into your decision. In addition, it's possible that with LocalMed's United Concordia and Healthgrades partnerships, you can justify investing in LocalMed over Limelight, even if you're currently a Solutionreach user.
LocalMed vs Demandforce
Demandforce is best known as an automated patient communication system. However, included in its $299/month base price are online scheduling capabilities, which is part of its reviews microsite that it provides its users. However, currently the functionality for online scheduling is very limited -- users can only request an appointment time without seeing your actual appointment availability. This is essentially the same as emailing a practice in an attempt to schedule an appointment.
Demandforce is rolling out more robust functionality that reads from your practice management system to enable patients to view and schedule appointments based on your actual availability. This functionality is only available to a few practices at the moment, but will likely be available for all Demandforce customers in the future. However, as with most other systems, users will still need to confirm appointments and manually enter them into their practice management system.
Is LocalMed Right for You?
Online appointment scheduling systems are important tools that help you attract new patients and provide convenience for existing patients (which can also help boost patient loyalty). If your dental practice is looking to offer real-time online appointment scheduling capabilities, then LocalMed is a top option to consider. We like that the system is designed specifically for dentistry, which enables it to be fully integrated (with read and write access) with many popular practice management systems.
Because of LocalMed's partnership with United Concordia, LocalMed is especially appropriate for providers who are part of the United Concordia Dental Network and who are interested in attracting new patients through their search platform. Six Month Smiles providers will also gain some additional exposure through Six Month Smiles' search platform.
If you are simply looking for the best-in-class dental online appointment scheduling system, then we recommend looking into LocalMed.