Email Patients Using Your Own Email Address

By default, Patient Messages are sent from Ocean on your behalf using "" as the "from" email address. While this is a wonderful and stylish email address in its own right, you may want emails sent on your behalf to use an email address of your own choosing. Now you can do so with the Ocean Platform.

Using your own email address has the following benefits:

  1. The email is less likely to be routed to your patient's spam folder.
  2. It's more likely to capture your patient's attention.
  3. In the event that the patient's email address is incorrect, any email 'bounce back' messages can be returned to you instead of being lost.

In order to use this feature, however, you must use your own domain name and have the ability to modify your DNS records with your domain name registrar.  Specifically, you will need to add an SPF TXT record indicating that the Ocean email servers are permitted to send email on your domain's behalf.

As this change requires technical expertise and your own domain name, it's not for everyone. We strongly recommend consulting an IT professional to assist with DNS record modification, as mistakes can result in your emails being improperly flagged as spam, or issues with your website. If you do want to proceed, however, here are the instructions:

  1. Go to your DNS provider's website and check if you have an existing SPF TXT record. Existing SPF TXT records look something like this:
    "v=spf1 ip4: ip4: -all
  2. If you don't have an existing SPF TXT record, we recommend consulting an IT professional to create one. SPF TXT record construction is outside the scope of this article but your domain registrar should have detailed instructions on how to create one. All SPF records are of type "TXT". Once your SPF TXT record has been created, please refer to step 3 below.

    Note: Only TXT records in SPF format are supported. The SPF DNS record type may not be used.

  3. If you have an existing SPF TXT record, add the following after v=spf1
    and before -all:
  4. The finished product in the example above would look something like this:
    "v=spf1 ip4:xxx.x.x.x/xx ip4:xxx.xx.xx.x ?all"
    or this:
    "v=spf1 ?all"
  5. Save your DNS records and allow them time to propagate. This may take an hour or even 1-2 days, depending on your DNS settings. After this time period, test sending some emails using your normal email client to ensure they aren't flagged as spam.
    • You can also verify the SPF configuration by inspecting the full, unformatted email body.  In gmail, you can view this by clicking the three dot icon in the top right and selecting "Show original". The summary should show a section with SPF PASS in it.
      • Tip: the terminal command "dig yourdomainname txt" can help confirm whether the SPF is saving as expected. It should eventually display your SPF record once propagation occurs. Note however that there may still be other delays before the mail servers recognize this change.
  6. Once you have your SPF TXT records configured properly, Login to the Ocean Portal. Click the "Menu" button in the top left corner and select "Admin". From the Admin Settings page, click Site Account, and enter your email address in the Email 'From' Address field. When you click "Save", Ocean will validate that your SPF TXT record allows us to send on your behalf. Until it is validated by Ocean, the configuration is not complete.  If it does not pass the validation, we will not send using this address. In that situation, please return to your DNS configuration to ensure the SPF TXT record is correct.

Once successfully set up, Ocean will continue to validate your "from" address periodically to ensure that the SPF TXT record still allows us to email on your behalf. If this changes, we will revert to using our "no-reply" email addresses automatically, so no action is required on your part.

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