— Review 

A Review of Cliniko vs Power Diary

How do they Compare: Cliniko vs Power Diary Practice Management Software

Each month we get a number of enquiries from health practice owners wondering things such as “What are the differences between Cliniko and Power Diary?” or “Why should I choose Power Diary over Cliniko?

We understand that comparing practice management software for your clinic can be a daunting task. Identifying the best system for your needs can be complicated – and often the company’s websites and free trials are the only things to go by. Yet the choice you make will have a significant impact on you, your staff, and your clients.

To help you make an informed decision, we have reviewed Cliniko and put together this comparison to highlight the similarities and key differences between Cliniko and Power Diary, as well as how they compare on price while attempting to remain as objective as possible.


Both systems originated from Australia. Power Diary has been around since 2007 and Cliniko started in 2011. Both are leading cloud/web-based practice management systems, each with thousands of users around the world.

First Impressions – Setting up a Free Trial

Both Cliniko and Power Diary have fully-functional free trials that can be created directly from their website. Neither system requires a credit card to create a free trial. 

Cliniko offers a 30-day free trial, but they do not allow you to use or test their SMS functionality during the trial period unless you add a credit card and purchase a minimum of 200 ‘SMS message credits’.

By contrast, Power Diary’s 14-day free trial has full SMS functionality and any SMS used during the trial period are free.

What are the Similarities? 

Cliniko and Power Diary share some similar functionality such as:

  • Client and Appointment Management;
  • Client Record Management;
  • Send both email and SMS reminders;
  • View multiple diaries at once;
  • Generate invoices;
  • Allow clients to self-book appointments;
  • Integrate with Xero and MailChimp;
  • And have a range of reporting capabilities.

Both systems are web-based which means:

  • They can be operated and accessed easily across desktop, tablets and phones;
  • Users do not have to do anything to get the latest version of the software – it’s all centrally updated in the cloud;
  • Users do not have to perform manual backups or keep paper records – all data is stored on servers in secure data centres which have multiple layers of backup. Both system, however, enables users to manually export a backup of their data.

Cliniko and Power Diary also share similar pricing models: A Monthly Plan fee plus charges related to how many optional SMS reminders are sent. Both are also similar in that neither have fixed-length, lock-in contracts, so customers just pay month-by-month.  The systems differ on price though – we’ll jump into more detail on this below.

Some Key Differences

On the surface, little seems to differentiate these two systems, however, upon delving deeper the distinctions become more apparent:

1. Handling Replies to Appointment Reminders

Appointment Reminders are one of the key functions in a practice management system. They play an important role in ensuring client attendance. As such, how the system manages the reminders process is an important consideration in the comparison of different practice management systems.

Both systems offer SMS appointment reminders, but the way they handle the client’s reply to reminders is worth covering. Upon reviewing Cliniko, when a client responds back to an SMS appointment reminder, these responses are grouped and viewable in a single window. This means that you need to sift through each response and then take action accordingly i.e. identify and manually record in the system which clients are attending or not attending their appointment.

On the other hand, Power Diary has logic in place to interpret replies to SMS reminders and automatically update the corresponding appointment status as either Confirmed or Cancelled – and if desired will also notify the respective clinician. By doing this, Power Diary users will have greater assurance that clients will attend their scheduled appointments and if they are unable to attend, the specific clinician will be alerted to this.  Client’s SMS replies are also visible in the respective appointments notes, as well as in the messaging panel as outlined below.

2. Interactive two-way SMS Messaging

Power Diary has an SMS Messaging Interface which allows you to send SMS messages directly to clients and receive their replies. This means you can have two-way, realtime conversations with clients via SMS. It also makes it easy to see which messages need replies – whether they are appointment reminders or just a follow-up message.

The SMS Messaging Interface is just like the messaging app on a smartphone so is simple and intuitive to use.  

You can either use customer SMS templates or write ad-hoc messages to clients through the messaging panel. When a client replies, the system will produce a live notification – so there is no need to refresh the page.

3. Client Self-Service Portals

Both Cliniko and Power Diary have an online Client Portal. This means clients can go online and check clinician availability and book appointments themselves, saving significant administration time for you and your team.  The Client Portal also means that clients can book appointments 24 / 7, not just during your phone hours.

Power Diary’s client portal takes simplicity one step further by integrating with Stripe. Stripe allows your clients to securely process credit card payments when they book appointments through the Client Portal. Cliniko does not currently offer this. 

Being paid in advance helps by:

  1. Improving cash flow;
  2. Increasing clients attendance rates and commitment;
  3. Removing manual payment processing;
  4. Removing any money-related awkwardness;
  5. Helping practices operate more efficiently;
  6. Automatically matching online payments with the corresponding invoice and then marking it off as ‘Paid’;
  7. Reducing time spent processing payments after the appointment, thus ensuring you can see your next client quicker.

4. Medicare & DVA Claims Processing

 Power Diary supports both Medicare and DVA online claims processing. To achieve this Power Diary had to meet stringent criteria required by the Australian Government in relation to managing and processing Medicare information. Direct integration with Medicare and DVA helps thousands of users save countless hours of administration each week. Additionally, Power Diary does not charge for making Medicare Claims, it is completely free.

Cliniko does not offer any integration with Medicare or DVA.

5. Sending Marketing Campaigns

Both systems offer an integration with MailChimp, however, Power Diary also facilitates sending bulk emails (and SMS) directly from your Power Diary account without the fees associated with MailChimp.  Engaging with your customers is one of the best ways to market additional services, as they already know and trust you.

Additionally one disadvantage of marketing with MailChimp is that it is exclusive to emails.  With Power Diary you can send mass SMS campaigns which are much more effective than email (research shows SMS open rates are 98% vs email open rates of 20% on average), and far more cost-effective than snail-mail campaigns.

6. Data Importing Limitations

When you are moving from one system to another, it is important to be able to take your business data with you to the new system. This means that you can access historical information and that you won’t be starting from scratch when you transfer – which ultimately means less disruption to your business.

Cliniko allows you to import your own list of clients, contacts, products and services. However, you are required to format the data and import it by yourself. They also do not support importing appointments, which means client’s appointment attendance histories are lost.

Power Diary takes the hard work out of moving systems and in-house import specialists will manage your data transition – at no cost to you! We can import your client data, notes, past and future appointments, services and products, client contacts, referrers, referrals and third parties. You simply upload your data directly from within your Power Diary account, and the import process will be efficiently managed by an our specialists.  It typically is completed within 24 – 48 hours, and you’ll be kept updated along the way.


7. Coloured Appointment Status Indicators

Power Diary uses a vertical colour strip to show the status of each appointment in the diary e.g. Pending, Confirmed, Arrived, Completed, Rescheduled, Cancelled, Late Cancellation or No Show. Cliniko does not offer a way to differentiate the status of appointments making it difficult gain an overview of appointments.

Additionally, within Power Diary you are able to customise your own background colours to ‘flag’ appointments. Some common uses of appointment flags are: Initial Appointment, Final Appointment, Parent Attending, Progress Review etc – the flags name and colour are completely customisable to suit your needs.

Colours are most useful to be able to easily see at a glance which clients will be attending and to determine how busy each clinician is by the status of their appointments.

 8. Send Multiple Appointment Reminders with Power Diary

Cliniko offers the option to send email or SMS reminders at a single point in time i.e. two days before an appointment.  Power Diary offers this too, but also allows a combination of multiple SMS and/or email reminders, with a choice of customisable templates and sending times for each reminder.

For example with Power Diary you could send an email to a client one week before their appointment, and then three days prior, and send a final SMS one day before the appointment. This helps to reinforce your client’s appointment commitments, and maximises attendance rates. 

9. Only Power Diary offers Phone Support

Both systems offer free support as part of their packages at no additional cost. Cliniko offers email or chat support, however, they do not offer phone support. Power Diary offers email, live chat and phone support, as well as Facebook support with a current response time of under five minutes.

 10. Only Power Diary offers a Money Back Guarantee

It is common for all kinds of online software to have a limited-time free trial period but after this period, payment is required for continued access and of course, this applies to both Cliniko and Power Diary. But what if you start using the system, and then decide that the system is not the right for you? With Cliniko, there is no recourse.

Since around 2012, Power Diary has offered an industry first, unique money back guarantee. If at any time during the first 12-months of using Power Diary you decide it is not right for you, you can cancel your account and get a full refund. This includes all appointment reminder SMS charges and monthly subscription fees. There are no strings attached. The funds are usually refunded within 24-hours and only then will you be sent a short survey for Power Diary to get your feedback on what we could improve. With this guarantee in place, rather than having to rush to meet the free trial deadline, you are able to relax and take your time to learn the system and see if it is right for your needs.  With Power Diary you have a whole year to make sure the system is the right fit.

How does Cliniko and Power Diary Compare on Price?

Naturally, for most business purchases, price is a significant factor. As mentioned, both systems have similar pricing models: a fixed base monthly cost for the system; and a variable cost for sending SMS reminders.

Fixed Costs

As of the time of writing, when comparing Cliniko pricing to Power Diary pricing, Power Diary comes in at a lower price for all plan levels, with the exception of the Just Me (1 Diary) Plan, where Power Diary is marginally higher by $7 per month.

As the Power Diary pricing page shows cost per week, below is a comparison based on monthly rates to make it easier to compare. To do this, we just calculated as follows:

Power Diary Weekly Price x 52 weeks / 12 months = Monthly Price.  

Table 1.1  Standard Monthly Base Fees (AUD ex GST)

1 Diary3 Diaries9 Diaries20 Diaries
Monthly Fee

The above pricing does not take into account Power Diary’s special offer of half-price for the first 6-months which obviously makes Power Diary even more cost effective. Under this offer Power Diary’s prices would actually be half what is shown above, i.e. for the 1 Diary we would be $26 per month vs $45 per month for Cliniko as below.

Table 1.2  Discounted Monthly Base Fees for First 6 Months (AUD ex GST)

1 Diary3 Diaries9 Diaries20 Diaries

Monthly Fee

Table 1.3  First 12 Months Base Fees, inc Discounted Rates (AUD ex GST)

1 Diary3 Diaries9 Diaries20 Diaries

1 Year Fees

Taking this special offer into account, the table below show the respective cost of ownership over a 1 year, 2 year, 5 year and 10 year period.

Table 1.4   Monthly Fees:  1 Year / 2 Years / 5 Years / 10 Years (AUD ex GST)

1 Diary3 Diaries9 Diaries20 Diaries
1 YearPD$299
2 YearsPD$896
5 YearsPD$2,675$3,861$5,967$8,190
10 YearsPD$5,680$8,151$12,597$17,290

Different SMS Costs (and Functionality)

For both systems, SMS reminders and functions are optional. In terms of cost, Cliniko charges 10c per SMS and Power Diary charges 15c per SMS sent. Whilst Cliniko’s SMS costs are less than Power Diary, Cliniko’s SMS function comes with some time-consuming limitations…

  • With Cliniko you must manually review each clients reply to SMS appointment reminders.  Power Diary interprets the client’s reply and updates the appointment status accordingly.  This is also visually reflected in the diary with a coloured appointment status so you can see at a glance who has which clients have or haven’t responded to their reminder.
  • Cliniko restricts reminders to only send one SMS reminder for each appointment.  With Power Diary you have the option to send multiple reminders for each appointment, at different times prior to the appointment.  You can also send a combination of SMS and email reminders.
  • With Cliniko you cannot notify clients on your waiting list via SMS of available appointments times. With Power Diary you can notify clients of available appointments, and you can see any replies immediately in your account.
  • Cliniko does not allow you to have two-way SMS conversations with clients.  With Power Diary you communicate back and forth with clients via SMS, just like you were on your phone.
  • Cliniko customers must pre-pay for packs of SMS prior to usage and are responsible for ensuring they have sufficient credit for SMS reminders.  With Power Diary, everything is automated. Your SMS usage is calculated at as part of your monthly billing cycle and you are then only charged for the SMS that you have actually used in the past month. Plus Trial Accounts are fully functional so you can use and test Power Diary’s SMS features straight away for free.  

It is interesting to note though that even with Cliniko’s lower per SMS rate, Power Diary still comes out as more cost-effective in nearly all scenarios.  

The following table compares the total cost of ownership of Cliniko vs Power Diary by combining the Monthly subscription fee and the estimated SMS use fees – across multiple diaries over 1 year, 2 years, 5 years and 10 years periods.

 Table 1.5   Total Base + SMS Fees: 1 Year / 2 Years / 5 Years / 10 Years (AUD ex GST)

(SMS usage calculation based on an estimated use of 77 appointment reminders per diary per month)

TOTAL COST1 Diary3 Diaries9 Diaries20 Diaries
1 YearPD$438$845$1,910$3,682
2 YearsPD$1,173$2,119$4,484$8,274
5 YearsPD$3,368$5,940$12,204$22,050
10 YearsPD$7,066$12,309$25,071$45,010


Cliniko and Power Diary are both well established Online Practice Management Systems, and offer a range of features that are designed to make it easier to run health practices.  Whilst both systems share some common features, and Cliniko’s SMS costs are marginally lower, Power Diary costs less overall and offers a number of extra time and money saving features. These include integration with Medicare and DVA, integrated online credit card processing, automatic appointment confirmation, two-way SMS conversations and Wait-list messaging functions.    

We hope this breakdown has helped in your evaluation of Cliniko vs Power Diary.  If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us by phone, email via support@powerdiary.com or chat with us by clicking the blue button at the bottom of the page.

Already using Cliniko and thinking of transferring to Power Diary?

  • It’s easy to do!
  • Our Import Specialists can import your Cliniko clients, appointments, notes, contacts, referrers, referrals, services, products and third parties. Read more here.
  • Just Start an Instant Free Trial with us now and then go to Setup > Data Import to securely upload your Cliniko data.

We’ve been in business over 10 years but only discovered Power Diary in the last few years.  It has made such a huge difference – making everything run smoother, more efficiently and looks so professional – leaving us more time to focus on our clients.

Dr Kristine Kafer

Clinical Psychologist, Psychology Options

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