Google Calendar for Doctors: Help Patients See Your Practice Schedule and Make Appointments

Google Calendar can be used to show open slots in your practice schedule to potential patients. See the screenshots below.

Figure 1. A physician's practice schedule (the master schedule) or what you can see. Make the appointment schedule as usual. Patient information will not be seen on "the other side" of the calendar that the patients subscribe to. Privacy note: the names in the screenshot above are fictional.

Figure 2. Share the calendar with potential patients. Choose the option "Share only my free / busy information (hide details).

Figure 3. A patient-accessible schedule or what the patients can see. Patients will see all open slots in your practice and can schedule an appointment at a time convenient for them. Lunch time from 12 PM to 1 PM is blocked. You need to place a "subscribe to our calendar" button on your practice website.

If you do not have a practice website yet, Google Pages or (with modifications) are good choices.

Update 03/10/2007:
Urologist Shares Robotic Surgery Schedule via Google Calendar

Update 5/24/2007:
Google launches calendar for mobile devices. Google Blog.

Update 10/03/2007:
Jay Parkinson, a doctor without an office, uses G Calendar to schedule appointments

Google Calendar for Patients: Monitor Your Medical Condition
Interesting Ways to Use Google Calendar
How Can a Doctor Use Google Page Creator?
What is Protected Health Information (PHI) & Electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI)? Yale University
The future of Google Calendar. ZDNet, Googling Google.
An Open-Access Doctor's Office.
Add Google Calendar to Your Site. Google Blogoscoped, 2006.

Updated: 10/03/2007


  1. what would be the hipaa issues?

  2. Response to comments:

    1. HIPAA
    Regarding the HIPAA regulations, no personal identifiable information leaves the server via the XML feed to which patients subscribe to. In addition, you don't have to enter patient names in your Google Calendar, just "busy" or "open" is enough for the calendar to works. No HIPAA rule bans any doctor from showing that he has open slots in his schedule for next month.

    2. Triage
    Shelly: The purpose of the calendar is to show open slots in the schedule, not to make a triage. If I am a patient and I have some time on Friday afternoon, I'll be very happy to see an open slot in my doctor's schedule that afternoon. Then I would call and ask I can be seen at that time. It saves time, if you ask me. And by the way, almost anything that empowers people to take care of their health makes sense...:-)

  3. Re: HIPAA--
    I think it would have to only say "open" or "busy"; Google's servers aren't necessarily HIPAA compliant, so it doesn't matter if information leaves the server or not.

  4. Any idea how many docs are using this? I actually didn't even know Google Calendar had come out yet, thanks! Hopefully this will take off the way Google Maps has, with all kinds of mashups.

  5. It does not allow a patient to actually make an appointment, so it only applies in two cases:

    1. It saves the 10 seconds the appointment administrator takes when asked, "when can I make an appointment".

    2. If a patient sees that you don't have anything open for the next two weeks, they won't bother calling.

    It's not useless, but it is not a huge advantage.
    It also requires the appointment administrator to update the Google calendar constantly (no one will use Google as the "real" calendar).

  6. Response to comments:


    I don't know if anybody is currently using Google Calendar for physician appointments but I doubt it -- it was launched just last week, it's just too early.

    I'm sure that there will be a lot of mashups once Google releases the calendar API.


    If I were a patient, I would like to have the availability of Google Calendar at my doctor's office. You can check it at any time and you can synchronize it with your calendar. This is a lot in terms of convenience. Technically, patients can submit requests for appointments via Gmail.

    Also, I'm not sure that "no one will use Google as their "real" calendar." Gmail and Google are aiming at enterprise and this almost certailnly will include Outlook clones. Gmail is already available for domains.

  7. I'm not sure what most practices use for scheduling, but full-featured calendar apps (eg Outlook) can send free-busy data and I'm pretty sure Google Calendar supports this or will support this.

    I don't understand why everyone is so critical of this idea. Calendar sharing finally made easy. Has tons of advantages. One being making appointments. What's the problem?

  8. i want my gcalendar to be embedded in my blog not just a hyperlink I am owner of school of gnglish and i need students to schedule their classes ,see empty hours and see when exams are given. i know how to link but i need 2 things more.
    1...students can add their event to the calendar directly not just see it and later call me up
    2 its embeeded into the blog.

  9. Great post. We are working on some neat RSVP capabilities which can evolve into booking down the road. Anyone who has an opinion, I'd love to interview you on your requirements.

    alternatively, just drop a comment on our

    Tom at

  10. you are all still missing the boat here including the guy from trumba.

    like i brought up in the very first comment of this thread, hipaa is the critical issue. if i am scheduled to get a vasectomy next friday afternoon at 3pm. the only 2 parties who should see that are the "doctors office" and me (and maybe my wife).

    not google, not anyone sniffing my ISP, not the sys admin at the company i work for, etc., etc.

    web based calendars, in the long run, are not going to succeed.

  11. For someone to see when you are free would they need to be a Google Calendar User? Currently if a stranger goes to the URL of one's published calendar they can only see start times not end times. Hence one cannot see the free busy time since one does not know when each event ends.

  12. Google has finally rectified the problem of no end times being displayed. If the person viewing the publicly available calendear slects "week" view, the he or she can see the end times.