An automatic SMS reminder can be set up which will send to patients for specific locations and appointments, a set amount of days before an appointment. You can allow the patient to confirm or cancel the appointment by replying to the SMS message.
This article will go through:
- Creating an SMS reminder
- Turning off auto-replies
- Errors when patients try to confirm/cancel via SMS
Note: The reminders can only be added and edited by users with Practice Admin access. SMS messages are charged at 20 cents per message sent. If your reminder message is over the 160 character limit for SMS, then you may be charged for multiple SMS.
The Short Version
- Go to Settings > Notifications
- Select Add New SMS Notification
- Name the reminder and choose when this is sent out
- Define which locations and appointment types will receive the SMS
- Add text and use the tags where required
- Mark as Is Active
- Click Create
Creating a reminder
1. Go to Settings > Notifications
2. Select Add New SMS Notification
3. Define the rules for your reminder:
- Name the reminder - This is only used to distinguish between multiple reminders in your settings.
- Notify Before - Select from the dropdown how many days before the appointment the reminder will go out, or whether it should be sent the same day as the scheduled appointment:
- Time to Send - Select from the dropdown the time period that you would like the reminder to be sent.
- Note: If you are sending an SMS the same day as the appointment, we would recommend using the 8:00AM-12:00PM time block.
- Note: If you have selected to send a same day SMS and the SMS has not yet sent before the scheduled appointment time, the SMS will still be sent during this time block even if the appointment time has passed.
- Do Not Send if Confirmed - This option can be selected so that if the patient appointment is already confirmed the SMS will not send out.
- Locations - Define which locations you would like the reminder to go out for. If you leave this field blank the reminder will be sent for all locations.
- Appointment Type - Define which appointment types you would like the reminder to go out for. If you leave this field blank the reminder will be sent for all appointment types.
- Doctors - Define which doctors you would like this reminder to be used for. If you leave this field blank, all doctors will be included by default.
4. Add the message text. You can use the Tags on the left-hand side to pull information into the message for you.
The Appointment SMS Verification tags allow the patient to confirm or cancel the appointment by replying.
5. Make sure the Is Active option is selected to ensure the SMS will be sent.
8. Select Create - your reminder is now active and will send out automatically.
9. Reminders can be edited or deleted as required.
Turning off auto-replies
Once your reminder is created, if you have given the patient the ability to confirm or cancel via reply, we can also send an auto-reply following this which confirms that the patient action. This is defaulted to on but can be turned off.
1. Go to Settings > Practice Details > General
2. To stop the auto-replies tick the Do Not Send SMS Auto Replies.
3. Click Save.
Error: Unable to process patient confirmation/cancellation
Sometimes a patient may try to confirm or cancel their appointment (if you have allowed them to do this) and receive an automatic reply from Clinic to Cloud as below:
"Sorry, we could not process your request. Please contact your Clinic"
There are multiple reasons they may receive this message:
- The patient has multiple appointments on one day
- The patient has multiple appointments in the future
- The patient shares a mobile phone number with another patient in the system that also has an appointment
In this case, you may want to add text to your reminder which asks patients to call the rooms for any cancellations. If the patient calls to confirm, you can do this manually by clicking on the edit pencil of the patient appointment and selecting Patient Confirmed Visit.