By default, emails sent to patients from Ocean on your behalf use "firstname.lastname@example.org" 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:
- The email is less likely to be routed to your patient's spam folder.
- It's more likely to capture your patient's attention.
- 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 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 I/T professional to assist with DNS record modification, as mistakes can result in your emails being improperly being flagged as spam, or issues with your website. If you do want to proceed, however, here are the instructions:
- Go to your DNS provider's website and check if you have an existing SPF record. SPF records look something like this:
example.com "v=spf1 ip4:192.0.2.0/24 ip4:198.51.100.123 -all"
- If you don't have an existing SPF record, we recommend consulting an IT professional to create one. SPF record construction is outside the scope of this article. Once your SPF record has been created, please refer to step 3 below.
- If you have an existing SPF record, add the following after v=spf1
and before -all:
- The finished product in the example above would look something like this:
example.com "v=spf1 include:_spf.cognisantmd.com ip4:192.0.2.0/24 ip4:198.51.100.123 -all"
- Save your DNS records and allow them time to propagate. (This may take an hour or more, depending on your DNS settings.) Then test sending 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.
- Once you have your SPF records configured properly, log in to the Ocean Portal and click the admin tab. Enter your email address in the Email 'From' Address field. When you click outside the field, Ocean will validate that your SPF record allows us to send on your behalf. If it doesn't we will not send using this address. The system will periodically attempt to validate the email address and will use our own email address until validation is successful.
Ocean will continue to validate your from address periodically to ensure that the SPF record still allows us to email on your behalf. If this changes, we will revert to using our email addresses automatically, so no action is required on your part.