Uploading a Patient Cohort File to Ocean for Group Messages

There are multiple formats that you can use for the importer.

If you need to break an exported patient list into smaller groups, we recommend you do not use Microsoft Excel, as this program can sometimes remove or alter aspects of the file's column structure. This will result in files incompatible with Ocean.

For Windows users, we recommend using a text editor such as Notepad++. For Apple users, we recommend Atom.

Standard Importer

The standard importer expects a comma-separated value file (CSV) with the fields declared in the following order:

  • surname
  • firstName
  • birthDate (yyyy-mm-dd)
  • sex
  • health number
  • reason for visit
  • email address
  • EMR patient #
  • note

Note: There is no header line.

PS Suite Patient Importer

You can do a batch export of patients for this purpose using a PS Suite search. You need to ensure the search has the following columns:

  • surname
  • firstName
  • PSS ID
  • health number
  • birthDate (dd/mm/yr)
  • sex
  • email address
  • privacy

Note: Trailing comma is required!

For your convenience, this is a sample PS Suite export search using the required column format. We recommend importing this file and then changing the search criteria in order to export patients from PS Suite.

  • To import this from PS Suite, Open the EMR (Records) window within PS Suite.
  • From the "Settings" menu, select "Edit Searches...".
  • From the "Edit" menu, select "Import Searches...".
  • Click "Perform Search" to run the search.
  • In the Search dialogue box, under the "Report Format" section, ensure the "Include Privacy Column" box is checked
  • Review your search criteria and update as needed. When you are ready to proceed, click the "Search" button at the bottom right of the window.
  • After you run the search, from the "Report" menu, choose "Utilities" and then "Save as CSV...".
  • This .csv file can now be uploaded into Ocean. This is an example of an exported CSV file.

Once you have uploaded your patients into Ocean, you may wish to send them all a standard email. Please refer to this article. for details.

HN Importer (Requires Accuro or TELUS API)

The HN importer should include a header row.

It expects a comma-separated value file (CSV) with the fields declared in the following order:

  • Last Name
  • First Name
  • PHN
  • ...

Note: Any fields can come after "PHN" - only the 3 fields specified above (i.e. first name, last name, and health number) are required.

How to export a CSV from Accuro

    • Click the Accuro icon in the bottom-left corner of the EMR and navigate to Reports > Query Builder.
    • In the Query Builder, click on the green plus icon to create a new query.
    • Name your new query and press "OK" to add it to the definitions list in the leftmost panel of the Query Builder.
    • Add relevant rules to your query to filter the patients you wish to upload to Ocean.

      For example, if you wish to create an export of all patients with a smoking risk factor:
      1. In the "New Rule" panel, select "EMR" from the "Rule Category" and select "Risk Factor" from the dropdown list.
      2. Next, create a new rule in the "Manage Rule" panel and select "Risk Factor" followed by "Smoking."
      3. Click "Add Rule" to the condition to your query.
    • When your query is ready, select "Run Report."
    • You may be prompted to "Check for Alert Matches." Depending on your preferences, you can filter patient matches by provider and view types. You can also decide which query fields you want to display in the final report. Click the "Run" button when you are ready to proceed.
    • When the Report view opens, select the "Export" button.
    • In the Export Results window, ensure "Encryption" is unchecked, as Ocean cannot parse a password protected file.
    • Click the "..." button to define what folder you would like to save the export file. Type in the appropriate filename followed by .csv file extension and click "OK."
    • Locate the exported CSV file on your computer and confirm that the default settings were applied and that the first three columns of the file have the headings "Last Name," "First Name," and "PHN."
    • Upload the file using the Ocean Cohort uploader in the Ocean Portal, ensuring "HN Importer" is selected as the importer type.
PS Suite Patient Importer (Legacy)

The PS Suite legacy importer expects a comma-separated value file (CSV) with the following fields in the following order:

  • surname
  • firstName
  • EMR ID
  • health number
  • birthDate
  • sex
  • email address
Standard Wolf Appointment Importer

This Wolf importer is based on the standard export format from Wolf EMR's appointment scheduler.

It expects a comma-separated value file (CSV) with the fields declared in the following order:

  • booking type
  • insurance province
  • PHN
  • surname
  • firstName
  • birthDate
  • DPID
  • ApptDate (yyyy-mm-dd)
  • ApptDuration
  • ApptReason
  • blank field
  • area code
  • phone number

Note: There is no header line.

Wolf Patient Importer

This Wolf importer expects a file that must include a header row.

However, the columns in the file can be in any order.

Note: Names should be included as a single fields in quotation marks: e.g. “Doe, John”.

Med Access Patient Importer
    • To export from Med Access, click the Reports menu option, located in the top-right corner of the main window.

    • From the reports window, configure the criteria for your search. Open the Searching tab and press the "Search" button. Once the resulting list of patients appears, click the "Excel" link under "Export options."

      Ensure you set the "Limit" dropdown field to the highest number, typically 200, to ensure no truncation warnings are present in the export data.

The default export from Med Access should already be formatted correctly for use with Ocean, but to confirm, the Med Access Patient importer expects a .xls file. Row 1 of this file must include the title "Patient List:", while Row 2 must contain headers for all of the following columns in this order:

  • Family
  • Given
  • Initials
  • Ins #
  • Birthdate
  • Gender
  • Provider
  • Address
  • City
  • Province
  • Postal Code
  • Area Code
  • Phone Number

For reference, download and review the medaccess_format_example.xls file at the bottom of this article.

Patient Group Messages with Ocean

Ocean allows you to bulk upload a list of patients from a file to assist with performing population-based interventions or patient group messages. A list of patients can be uploaded with a user-specified "Cohort ID", which you can use to send batches of online questionnaires or secure messages.

Note: By default, group messages can be sent to groups with a maximum size of 100 patients. Configuring a custom 'From' address increases this limit to 1000 patients. For more information on how to configure a custom 'From' address, see here: Email Using Your Own Address

Below is a step-by-step guide outlines how to send Patient Group Messages using Ocean.

Download PDF Guide to Sending Patient Group Messages from Ocean

  1. Create your patient list file.

    • Within your EMR, you will need to export a list of patients, including their basic demographic information in a Microsoft Excel or a .csv text file.
    • The means by which you obtain this list of patients varies depending on which EMR you use, but it usually involves the execution and export of a search report in the system.
    • Many EMRs let you export a list of patients with upcoming appointments, which is particularly useful for using Ocean to send pre-visit questionnaires or reminders. However, as long as you can create a list of patients with their basic demographic fields in Microsoft Excel or as a tab-delimited or .csv text file, you should be able to make it into a format that Ocean accepts.
    • To learn how to obtain a properly formatted file that Ocean accepts, please refer to this article.
  2. Upload and name your patient list file.

    • Login to the Ocean Portal. If you aren't already in the Patients view, click the "Menu" button in the top left corner and select "Patients". Under the Actions menu in the left side bar (near the bottom) select "Upload Patients from File".
    • Search for the file that you created in Step 1.
    • Select the appropriate file "Importer" from the dropdown menu (e.g. standard, PSS or Accuro).
    • Give the file a name next to "Assign Cohort ID".
    • If appropriate, you can also add any eForms to be included in the email under "Queue eForms for uploaded patients".
  3. Send your patient group message.

    • To send a patient group message, select "Email Cohort" from the Actions menu at the bottom left-hand corner of the Patients tab.
    • Select your group using the "Select Cohort" dropdown menu.
    • Select the template that you wish to send from the Templates menu at the top right-hand corner of the dialogue box. (Learn how to set up your online message templates in this article.
    • Select "Send Invitations" to send your emails.
    • Note: If you wish to edit your templates, you must do so by opening the email window for a single patient from within the Patients view.
  4. View your patient group message transaction logs.

    • For audit or tracking purposes, you may want to download a record of all the batch emails that have been sent to your various patient cohorts. To do this, navigate to the Admin view of the Ocean Portal.
    • Under "Export Batch Email Transaction Logs", select the date range that you want to see in your exported file. To see all group message transactions, leave these date fields blank.
    • If you'd only like to see the report for a specific group, enter the Cohort ID in the field below the date range. If you'd like to view all of your cohorts, leave this field blank.
    • Click "Export" and your log will download as a .csv file, which can then be opened in Microsoft Excel.