Creating / Configuring Patient Reminders

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

    • You can customize your automated Patient Reminders by logging into the Ocean Portal. Click the "Menu" button in the top left corner and select "Patient Reminders".
    • Click the "Settings" button in the top right corner.
    • Ensure reminders are enabled and you have set the reminder time of day. Refer to Patient Reminders Settings for a detailed description of each setting.
    • Click "Add Reminder Rule" or "Edit" next to an existing reminder rule to configure your reminder.
    • Clicking either option will bring you to the "New Reminder Rule" or "Edit Reminder Rule" page. Configure each element of your reminder here. Refer to Edit Reminder Rules for a detailed description of each setting. Click Save

Enabling Appointment Confirmation from Patient Reminders

When patients are sent Patient Reminder emails, staff can also use this opportunity to have patients confirm their upcoming appointments, which can then be synced back to the EMR.

How to enable appointment confirmations for Patient Reminders

    • Log into the Ocean portal. Click the "Menu" button in the top left corner and select "Patient Reminders".
    • Click "Settings" in the top right corner. Create a new Reminder Rule by clicking Add Reminder Rule or Edit an existing one. 
    • In the Edit Reminder Rule page, under the "Appointment Confirmation" heading, use the drop down to select enabled. Remember to Save your changes.
It's recommended to include @apptDate, @apptTime and @providerName keywords. You can still send a template lacking these values, but for patient clarity and continuity, it is recommended your reminder template includes this information.

How patients confirm their appointments via Patient Reminders

    1. Reminders via Email

      • Once appointment confirmation has been enabled, Ocean will include the following line at the bottom of the email message patients receive:

        Please click on the link below to confirm your appointment:
        Confirm Appointment

      • After verifying their date of birth, the patient will be presented with a screen confirming their most recent upcoming appointment date, time, and provider.
      • If the reminder email also contains a secure message and/or Ocean eForms to complete, the patient can proceed by clicking "Next" to access those additional materials.
      • Behind the scenes, Ocean syncs the confirmation back to the EMR and updates the patient's appointment status in the schedule.
    2. Reminders via Text Messages

      • If a reminder has a secure message and/or attachment and/or eForm and/or appointment confirmation and the patient has an email on file, the text message will instruct the patient to check their email.
      • If a reminder has an appointment confirmation enabled and the patient doesn't have an email on file, the patient will receive a link in the text message to confirm their appointment. After clicking the link, the patient will be presented with a screen confirming their most recent upcoming appointment date, time, and provider.

How appointment confirmations appear in the EMR

PS Suite Med Access Accuro OSCAR PRO Other EMR
Optional customization options exist for OSCAR Pro users. Individuals can set the appointment status to a specific code to indicate when an appointment reminder was sent to the patient by Ocean and also when a patient has confirmed their appointment through an Ocean reminder. For information on how to configure this appointment status, please refer to: Set your Appointment Status Setting.
  • In this example, when the Ocean reminder is sent, Ocean changes the appointment status in OSCAR PRO to code e.
  • In this example, when a patient confirms their appointment, the status for their appointment has been changed to code h, "Confirmed" in OSCAR PRO.

Sending Patient Reminders via SMS Text Message

Text messages offer an effective method for sharing appointment reminders with patients. The Ocean Platform now provides support for clinics to send Patient Reminders using text messages in addition to email.

This overview explains how you can enable text messages for your Patient Reminders, along with some additional details around capturing patient consent, and the costs involved with enabling this service.

How It Works

Ocean Patient Reminders are sent via email by default (assuming a valid email address is available for the patient). For reminders scheduled before an appointment, you can now also enable a text message that will be sent to the patient on the same date as the email reminder.

Reminders will appear in the following formats:

  • Text message reminders that do not include an Ocean form or have patient confirmations enabled.
  • Text message reminders that include an Ocean form and/or have patient confirmations enabled.
  • Text message reminders with appointment confirmation enabled sent to patients without an email address on file.

Note: Ocean can capture appointment confirmations via text message, but any forms associated with the reminder will not be accessible without an email address.

How do I change the organization name used in the text message reminder?

Site Admins can modify the organization name used in the text message reminder by updating the 'Organization Title' field in the Admin area.

What language will be used for the text message reminder?

Ocean will send the text message in either English or French, depending on the patient's preferred language as specified in the EMR. If the patient's preferred language is unspecified in the EMR or is an unsupported language, the text message will be sent in English by default.

Which phone number will Ocean send the text message reminder to?

Ocean will send text messages to the mobile phone number listed in the patient's chart. The specific field for each EMR is shown below:

PS Suite Med Access Accuro OSCAR Pro

For PS Suite, Ocean will send the text message reminder to the patient's 'Mobile' phone number.

SMS Text Message Consent

The first time that a reminder rule is configured to send via text messages, an acknowledgement statement will be displayed reminding your site of the additional cost for text message reminders and to collect consent. Patients may not have considered that you would use their cell phone number to send a text message at the time they provided it to your clinic. Although the text message does not contain personal health information (PHI), the phone number itself is a personal identifier.

It is therefore important that you consider your approach to capturing consent from your patients before sending them text messages. Clinics should follow standard industry consent protocols for sending text messages to their patients. Note that patients can easily opt out of receiving text messages

Patients that cannot be sent a text message because they are on the opt-out list will not generate a per message charge. 

Learn more about how to manage text message consent.

Costs Associated with Text Message Reminders

Text message reminders is an optional feature of Patient Reminders. Each text message will be charged on a per message basis (in addition to the monthly Patient Reminders license). The first time that a reminder rule is configured to use text messages, a pop-up will be displayed confirming that you are aware of the additional fee. Selecting "I accept" will confirm your acknowledgement of the additional cost for your site and any subsequent use of text messages for reminders. You can only proceed to use this feature once your acknowledgement has been collected. You can review the number of text messages sent and associated costs at any time in the Billing section within the Admin view.

Reminder Rules - Using Javascript Conditions

Most reminder rules can be built using our simple rule builder. In special cases when our simple rule builder can't meet your needs, you can use JavaScript expressions to create a reminder rule.

1. Specifying a subset of patients using keywords

You can use keywords as a filter to only send reminders to patient appointments that meet that specific criteria. The most common criteria can be triggered using ScriptPatient functions and ScriptUtil functions. These functions are formulated as follows:

Object.function('relevant keyword') == 'value that meets the specific criteria

For "Object.function", select between ScriptPatient functions or ScriptUtil functions. 

For "relevant keyword", use Ocean keywords

For "value that meets the specific criteria", you will need to enter the exact text value. If this is a value from your EMR (e.g. appointment type or reason for visit), it is recommended you copy and paste it directly from your EMR to avoid typographic errors.

Provider names and appointment types can sometimes be returned inconsistently from EMRs. We use .includes instead of an exact match (==) as a catch all to cover these cases. 

Action Rule
Send reminder only for patients over the age of 55.
pt.getAge() > 55
Copy Rule
Send reminder only for female patients.
Copy Rule

2. Including patients that meet one of multiple criteria

You may wish to set a single reminder rule that will be sent for any appointment that meets any one of several criteria. Your first step is to determine the criteria that needs to be met in order for the reminder rule to trigger. You can use the 'or' operand || (two parallel bars), or the 'and' && (two ampersands) within the Javascript condition to specify your condition. Use 'or' to trigger the reminder if any of the conditions apply. Use 'and' to trigger the reminder if all conditions apply.

Action Rule
Send reminder for all female patients over the age of 55.
pt.isFemale() && pt.getAge() >= 55
Copy Rule
Send a reminder for all appointments except those containing "VV" AND "TEL"
!ScriptUtil.getKeyword('@ptReasonForVisit').includes ('VV') && !ScriptUtil.getKeyword('@ptReasonForVisit').includes('TEL')
Copy Rule

3. OSCAR PRO users: key in on free-text Reason field

  • OSCAR PRO contains two Reason fields in the appointment window. Our reminders rule builder by default keys in on the value in the reason drop down. It's possible to key in on the free-text field by using JavaScript expressions.
  • It's also possible to key in on an appointment with both a type and free-text in the reason field. Ocean will string together the Appointment Type and free-text field using a dash "-". Ensure that you are copying the appointment type label verbatim from your EMR. 
Action Rule
Send reminder for appointment containing "video" in the free-text Reason field.
Copy Rule
Send reminder for appointments with "Initial Intake" AND "video" in the free-text Reason field.
ScriptUtil.getKeyword('@ptReasonForVisit').includes ('Initial Intake-video')
Copy Rule

Test your Reminders

When creating a new reminder rule, especially one that involves custom JavaScripts like the examples above, it's always a good idea to run a test to ensure the script runs as desired. Learn more about Testing Reminders.