The "Appointment Reminder" feature will automatically send an email reminder to your patients when an appointment is created and/or rescheduled, as well as an SMS reminder 48 hours before their appointments. Patients also have the ability to confirm their appointments by replying to their SMS reminder, and it will reflect this in your appointment books. This article will go through the following:
Text message reminders will be triggered at a particular time of the day, based on your requirements. Once that time has passed, an SMS will be sent to all patients who have mobile numbers in their profiles, as below. This can be changed by opting out of the reminders.
The patient's appointment block will have the amber "SMS" icon when the reminder has been sent to them.
If you click on this appointment, you will see the number of reminders which have been sent for this appointment and when they were sent.
It is suggested that you scroll through the next day's appointment books to confirm that SMS reminders have been sent out. You would be looking for the amber "SMS" icon or the green "Confirmed" icon in order to determine whether this has occurred.
The green "Confirmed" icon shows that the appointment has been confirmed, either by replying to the SMS or by calling the clinic. If neither icon is there, it may be due to the appointment being created after the SMS reminders have been sent. In this case, you would have to send the reminder manually.
The patient's appointment audit log goes into further detail.
(a) SMS sent: This shows the message which was sent to the patient; the word "Sent" acts as a confirmation that it has sent.
(b) Reply received: This shows the message received from the patient; the word "Received" acts as a confirmation that it has been received.
(c) System action: This shows that the system acknowledged the reply from the patient and triggered an action, in this case it confirmed the appointment for the patient.
When an appointment has been created (or rescheduled) in Core Practice, an email will be sent to the patient with the appointment details. This is what the email would look like:
As you can see, it contains details about the time and date of the appointment, the location, parking information as well as contact information. As default, this email will be sent out automatically as soon as the appointment is created. This is providing that the patient's email has been saved in the "email" field in their profile, as below.
The email will also contain an attachment which the patient can select and save to their calendar.
How to opt-out of reminders
Sometimes patients may request not to receive reminders for their appointment. This may occur when there is a family appointment being made, and the person making the appointment only wants a reminder for the first patient booked in. You would then have to opt-out the rest of the family members, so that only the first appointment receives the reminder. Here's how to do it.
- Click on the appointment which you would like to opt-out and select Edit.
- Under "Appointment details" on the right, click on More and then click Communication options.
- Make the changes and click on Update Appointment.
Clicking on "Done" will take you back to the screen in step 2.
- Make these changes for all appointments which do not require a reminder. Please note that this change is applied to this appointment only. Currently, users are unable to permanently opt patients out of their appointment reminders.
How to send reminders manually
Sometimes patients will request a reminder of their appointment. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as their appointment being made after the automated SMS reminders have been sent out, or maybe they have changed their email/phone number and therefore didn't receive their reminders. Here's how to do it.
- Click on the appointment block which needs a reminder and click More.
- Select the type of appointment reminder that the patient has requested.
This will open up the text box for the chosen reminder.
- Click on Send Now to send the reminder.
Here you can make changes to the reminder being sent out, if you wish.