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
If necessary, please see How to Split a .csv File into Smaller Cohorts.
Please be aware that Ocean’s cohort messaging service is designed to optimally handle no more than 1000 emails per site at a time. Sending numerous cohorts of 1000 emails in short succession will significantly delay the time these emails will be sent for your site and other Ocean sites. It may also result in email service providers blocking all Ocean emails from being delivered to your patients. Ocean will prioritize the sending of individual patient messages over bulk cohort emails.
We understand the need to keep your patient population informed about COVID-related updates. To send mass emails quickly (e.g. information about COVID-related updates to your entire patient population), it is recommended that you use a mass-email marketing service. If that is not an option, please only send one cohort message every 60 minutes to avoid impacting Ocean’s ability to deliver emails in a timely manner.
Below is a step-by-step guide outlines how to send Patient Group Messages using Ocean.
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.
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".
Note: A patient can only belong to a single cohort. If a patient is included in two cohort files, they will be assigned to the most recently uploaded cohort.
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.
- Note: The "Allow Reply" functionality is not available when using Group Messages with Ocean. Patients will not have the option to reply to your message, even if the functionality is enabled on your chosen template.
- Select "Send Invitations" to send your emails.
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 Settings page in the Ocean Portal.
- Click "Reports" and 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.
Note: The .csv file will only contain a history of sent group messages if there is at least 1 message that failed to send.