How are iCal files used with Patient Reminders?

What is an iCal file?

An iCal file is a computer file that allows internet users to send meeting invitations to one another over email.

iCal Files in Reminders

  • By default, Reminder Rules in Ocean automatically include an iCal calendar event file in the reminder email sent to patients. This allows patients to easily add their appointment to the calendar application of their choice.
  • An example of how the iCal attachment will appear in the email can be seen by expanding the image on the right.

Can I disable this feature?

  • Yes, you can disable this feature by editing your Reminder Rule(s) and unchecking the 'Include iCal calendar event file in email reminder' checkbox.
  • You can re-enable it at any time by re-checking the box.

What time zone do iCal events use?

Most often, iCal event times are displayed accurately using the time zone configured in the recipient's email client or device settings. This means that the event times are automatically adjusted by the recipient's email client to reflect the time zone that has been selected in the email client or device settings.

Time Zone Misconfiguration

If a patient's email client or device time zone setting is misconfigured (i.e., set to an improper time zone), the iCal time will also be automatically converted into the improper time zone, which can result in confusion for patients.

To prevent confusion, we recommend including Ocean's appointment date and time keywords (@apptDate and @apptTime) in the email body. These keywords pull data directly from your EMR and are not affected by timezones or iCal offsets.

Additionally, you may consider disabling the iCal functionality on each of your Reminder Rules if you find that this issue is occurring frequently.

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