Introducing Patient Reminders

Prerequisites

  • At the moment, Patient Reminders is supported for the following EMRs: QHR Accuro, TELUS PS SuiteTELUS Med Access, and Well EMR Group OSCAR/OSCAR Pro.
  • Users must have a Patient Messages and Reminders License to use Patient Reminders. To enable this license for providers at your site, please refer to this guide on how to Enable a User License for Patient Messages & Reminders
  • The Ocean Platform also supports dedicated Referral Reminders for clinics receiving Ocean eReferrals. Ocean sites can trigger Patient Reminders from eReferrals or their EMR schedule, but not both. To learn more about Referral Reminders, please refer to: Set Up Automated Referral Appointment Reminders.  

What are Patient Reminders?

Patient Reminders are automated messages that are scheduled to send before or after a patient's booked appointment. You can notify patients of their upcoming appointments, request confirmation, include secure messages/PHI, and invite them to complete forms and questionnaires online, without the risks of traditional email. With Ocean’s EMR integration, patient records are seamlessly updated without any scanning, typing, or manual staff involvement.

Key Benefits

  • Easy for Patients - Patients are not required to create an account or log into a patient portal in order to confirm their appointment and/or complete Ocean eForms.

  • EMR-integrated - Ocean automatically checks the EMR schedule to identify which appointments match the trigger criteria for each reminder rule and sends a message accordingly. When a patient confirms an appointment, the status is automatically updated in the EMR, along with any completed Ocean eForms.

  • Customizable - You can customize the reminder rule criteria (e.g. by provider, appointment type and/or reason, age) to define the patients that should receive a given reminder. 

  • Email and text- Ocean allows you to send text messages in addition to email, enabling your clinic to collect appointment confirmations from patients without an email address. 

How it works for patients:

  1. Patient Reminders via Email

    • Patient receives an email from Ocean. You are able to customize the email subject and body to convey important pre-visit information. Patients will have the option to download an .ics file to create an event in their calendar app. Please note that the information that appears in the event is not editable. If you include a secure message, eForm or enabled appointment confirmation on your reminder, the patient should be directed to click on the hyperlink.
    • Patient proceeds to validation step. The hyperlink in the email will take the patient to a webpage that asks them to validate their information before proceeding. By default, Ocean will ask for the date of birth but you can enable other questions for additional security like health number, EMR ID, or a pre-determined access password. Ocean will use this information to check against the chart and ensure this patient is the correct recipient.
    • Patient is notified that their appointment has been confirmed. If you included a secure message or eForms in the email template, the patient will have the opportunity to complete them now.

      The appointment status will be updated to 'confirmed' in your EMR.

  2. Patient Reminders via Text Message

    • Patients receive a text message from Ocean. The text message is a set message that includes your Organization name, date and time of the appointment, the provider name and instructions on how to opt out of receiving text message reminders in the future. Ocean will send text messages to the mobile phone listed in the patient's chart. 

      If the reminder is configured to include eForms and appointment confirmation, the patient will be instructed to check their email.

      If the patient doesn't have an email address on file, they can confirm their appointment via secure link in the text message.

    • Patient confirms their appointment. Once the patient clicks the link, they will be notified that their appointment has been confirmed.

      The appointment status will be updated to 'confirmed' in your EMR.

To learn more about setting up your reminder rules, please refer to "Creating / Configuring Patient Reminders".

To learn more about Text Messaging for Patient Reminders, please refer to "Sending Patient Reminders via SMS Text Message".


Patient Reminders Dashboard

  • Login to the Ocean Portal, click Menu and navigate to the Patient Reminders view. See below for a description of the Patient Reminders Dashboard.

1 Reminders Configuration
A summary of your global settings. Only Ocean Administrative users can change these settings.
2 Sent Reminders History
A summary of Ocean Reminders sent in the past 7 days. For a full log of your Ocean Reminders, Ocean Administrative users can click Download Log.

Patient Reminders Settings

Note: You must be an Ocean administrative user to access Patient Reminders settings.

  • From the Patient Reminders Dashboard, click Settings in the top right corner. 
  • You will be taken to the Patient Reminders Settings page. Read below for a description of each section of this page.
  1. Activation Requirements

  2. A list of prerequisites for Patient Reminders. When all prerequisites have been met, proceed to editing your reminder settings. 

  3. Reminders Configuration

    • A summary of your global settings will appear. Click Edit Configuration to change these settings.

  4. 1 Enable Reminders
    If enabled, the system will begin sending out Patient Reminders on schedule.
    2 Test Mode

    If enabled, the system will send Patient Reminders on schedule, but using a designated (test) email address. This allows you to test your Patient Reminder settings for a period of time without emailing actual patients. Please refer to Testing Patient Reminders.

    Test Mode Email - With Test Mode enabled, Ocean will send reminders to this designated email address.

    3 Appointment Source
    Reminders can run from your EMR Schedule, or from Ocean eReferrals. To learn more about Ocean Reminders for eReferrals, refer to: Set Up Automated Referral Appointment Reminders.
    4 Time of Day
    The time of day when your reminder rule(s) will run. If you have multiple reminder rules, Ocean will take some time to send out patient reminders (therefore, patients may receive these reminders after the set ‘Time of Day’.
    Note for Accuro users with more than 3 rules: Due to a unique configuration between Ocean and Accuro, we recommend setting the 'Reminder Time of Day' for early in the morning (e.g. 6 AM) if you have more than 3 reminders. If you have more than 10 reminders, it is recommended that you set all reminders to be sent at least 2 days in advance.
    5Save
    Click the Save button to save your changes.
  5. Reminder Rules

  6. On the Reminders Settings page, a summary of Reminder Rules will appear under the Reminder Rules heading. 
  7. 1 Add Reminder Rule
    Click this button to add a new reminder rule.
    2 Force Send All Reminders
    This allows you to send all reminders immediately (usually for test purposes).
    3 Reminder Rule
    A summary of each reminder rule for your site.
    4 Force Send
    This allows you to send the reminder immediately (usually for test purposes).
    5 Edit
    This allows you to edit an existing reminder.

Edit Reminder Rules

Note: You must be an Ocean administrative user to access Patient Reminders settings.

  • From the Patient Reminders Dashboard, click Settings in the top right corner.
  • On the Patient Reminders Settings page, click Add Reminder Rule or Edit on a reminder rule and you will be taken to the Edit Reminder Rule Page.

Rule Name

Rule Name
Name your reminder rule.

Reminder Options

When should the reminder be sent?

Set the schedule for your reminder rule. Enter the number of days to send the reminder before/after the appointment.

Note: To send a reminder for appointments taking place on the same day, set this value to 0 days before the appointment. Please note that Ocean cannot collect appointment confirmations for reminders configured for same day appointments.
How should the reminder be sent
Set how the reminder should be sent (Email or Email & SMS)
Appointment Confirmation
If enabled, patients can confirm their upcoming appointments through the secure message area of their reminders. For more info see: Enabling Appointment Confirmation from Patient Reminders
Messaging Template
Select the email template that will be used to email the patient. The email template has full support for Ocean Keywords, such as patient name, etc. [weblink] represents the link that the patient can click to confirm their appointment (if appointment confirmation is enabled), view any secure messages and/or complete any eForms assigned to that template. Any eForms added via the template can also be filled out using the tablet when the patient arrives, even if the patient does not use the link ahead of time.

Message Preview

Once you have configured your Reminder Options, a Message Preview will appear in the right half of your screen.

Text Message Preview
A preview of the text message the patient will receive. Please note that the text message is not editable. The text message generated for the patient will depend on your reminder rule settings and whether the patient has an email on file. To change the preview, use the drop down menu next to "If the patient has:"
Messaging Template Preview

A preview of the email template selected in Reminder Options. Please note that you cannot edit your messaging templates here. To edit your messaging templates, please refer to Patient Messaging Templates.

Note: If you have set notifications on the email template (e.g. 'Notify me when viewed'), these email notifications will go to your site's Clinical Administrator / Ocean Support Contact (set in the Admin view, Site Account tab).

Rule Conditions

Appointment Type:
Available for PS Suite, Med Access, Accuro and OSCAR PRO EMRs. Setting this condition will trigger reminders for appointments booked containing an Appointment Type in your EMR.
Reason:

Available for Accuro and OSCAR PRO EMRs only. Setting this condition will trigger reminders for appointments booked containing a Reason in your EMR.

For OSCAR PRO users: Ocean will map to the Reason dropdown menu by default. To trigger a reminder based on the free-text field for Reason, use the following JavaScript expression:
ScriptUtil.getKeyword('@ptReasonForVisit').includes('test')
Provider:

Available for PS Suite, Med Access, Accuro and OSCAR PRO EMRs. Setting this condition will trigger reminders for appointments booked in this schedule in your EMR. To view the list of schedules available for Patient Reminders, navigate to your Admin view, Providers page.

Note: Patient reminders will only be sent for those with a Provider Licence for Patient Messaging and Reminders enabled.

JavaScript:

By selecting this rule type, you can customize your reminder audience with more precision (e.g. by age or gender).

For more information and further examples, refer to the article "Reminder Rules - Using Javascript Conditions".

  • Each condition uses an operator (except JavaScript). This allows you to specify exactly which condition(s) must be met to trigger your reminder rule.
Is:
Reminder will match on one selected value from your EMR. A dropdown menu will appear with values from your EMR.
Is not:

Reminder will exclude one selected value from your EMR. A dropdown menu will appear with values from your EMR.

Is one of:
Reminder will match on multiple selected values from your EMR. A menu will appear allowing you to select multiple values from your EMR.
Is not one of:
Reminder will exclude multiple selected values from your EMR. A menu will appear allowing you to select multiple values from your EMR.
Contains:
Reminder will match EMR value(s) containing a certain string. A text field will appear allowing you to enter a string of text.
Does not contain:

Reminder will exclude EMR value(s) containing a certain string. A text field will appear allowing you to enter a string of text.

'Contains' and 'Does not contain' operators: These conditions are useful if you are using a naming convention for your appointment types, reasons or schedule names (e.g. "VV" for virtual visits, or "IP" for in-person). Ocean will find all appointments that contain this string in the title and trigger the reminder rule accordingly.

Save, Cancel and Delete

Save
Save your changes.
Cancel
Cancel any changes made to your reminder rule.
Delete
Delete your reminder rule.

Managing Appointment Type / Reason for Visit for Reminders

Patient Reminders uses appointment types or reason for visit to determine who and what to send automated reminder emails to. You can customize your appointment types and reasons for visit by following the steps below.

PS Suite Med Access Accuro OSCAR Other EMR
  • Appointment Type

    • Log in to your OSCAR EMR and click on Administration at the top of your window. Select Schedule Management and Appointment Type List.
    • Here, you can create new appointment types or copy the Name of an existing appointment type and paste it into Ocean.
  • Reason for Visit

    • When booking an appointment for a patient, you can type a reason for visit in the large text area. Ocean will look to this text area for the appointment's reason for visit.
    • Ensure the text in this field exactly matches the reminder rule (watch out for capitalizations, hyphens and trailing spaces)
  • Using Appointment Types and/or Reasons for Visit

    • Once you've created your appointment type(s) and reason(s) for visit, you can select one or both from the "Type" and "Reason" dropdown lists when booking patients in for appointments.

This feature is currently only available for PS Suite, Med Access, Accuro and OSCAR users.


Testing Patient Reminders

Prerequisites

To test Reminders, ensure your reminders are in Test Mode. This will ensure Ocean sends reminders to a test email address, instead of real patients.

Follow the steps below to enable Test Mode:

  • Login to the Ocean Portal. Click the Menu button and select Patient Reminders. Click Settings in the top right corner. Under the summary of your Patient Reminder Settings, click Edit Configuration.
  • Ensure you've configured all of your Patient Reminder settings. Under the Test Mode heading, ensure you've selected enabled from the drop down menu. Under the Test Mode Email, ensure you've entered an email to receive your test reminders. 

Text Message Reminders

Please note that we currently do not support Test Mode for text message reminders.

  1. Prior to testing your reminder(s)

    • When testing your reminders, please ensure you have at least one appointment booked in your EMR that meets the reminder rule(s) criteria. We recommend doing this with a test patient first.
    • If you are booking appointments in your EMR right away, keep in mind that Ocean syncs with your EMR every 30 minutes and therefore it may not recognize the newly created appointment right away. To trigger a manual sync, navigate to the Patients view in the Ocean Portal and click Synchronize Appointments under the Actions menu in the left side bar.
  2. Immediately test your reminder(s)

    • To directly test the reminder, click Force Send for that reminder rule. Ocean will process that reminder (it will look for appointments in your EMR that follow that reminder criteria), and with Test Mode on, it will simply redirect the emails to the Test Email address.
    • Note: If you have included eForms in your reminder email template, these eForms will be added to the patients queue to complete. This allows you to fully test the flow of receiving a reminder email, reviewing any secure messages and completing any eForms as a patient in order to see how the notes will appear in the patients chart. If you'd like to remove these eForms from the patients queue, navigate to the Patients view in the Ocean Portal and click on the patient. All eForms in their queue will appear with an option to delete (red icon).

    Passively test your reminder(s)

      • To test your reminders passively, ensure that the 'Enable Reminders' and 'Test Mode' settings are enabled. Each day, Ocean will automatically send reminder emails based on the time set under the Time of Day field, as long as matching appointments are found in the EMR that meet your rule criteria.