Setting up reminders helps ensure that your patients keep track of appointments and that they attend their appointment at the correct time. Reminders and notifications can be sent when appointments are first made, if appointments are changed, as well as at a certain time before the appointment - e.g. 2 days before the appointment. You can also set up two-way reminders so that patients can respond to SMS reminders and confirm their attendance, and also enable automatic top up of SMS reminder credits so that you never run out of credits.
- 1 Viewing your reminder preferences
- 2 Adding or changing your reminder preferences
- 3 SMS and email reminder options
- 3.1 Specifying how many days before an appointment that a reminder should be sent
- 3.2 Setting the sender address for email reminders
- 3.3 Setting your practice name as the sender for one-way SMS reminders (optional)
- 3.4 Purchasing a dedicated number for two-way SMS reminders (optional)
- 3.5 Changing from one-way to two-way SMS reminders
- 3.6 Patients' individual reminder and confirmation preferences
- 4 Purchasing Halaxy Classic credits
- 5 Viewing, editing and tailoring your reminder, notification and emailed invoice wording
- 6 Sending a one-off text to a patient
- 7 Confirming that reminders are being sent
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
- 8.1 How do I change the look and feel of my email reminders (e.g. make the text bold)?
- 8.2 How do I change who my reminder emails and emailed invoices are sent from (reminder sender address)?
- 8.3 How do I change the default wording on my appointment confirmations, reminder SMS and emails, and emailed invoices?
- 8.4 Different people in my practice want reminders sent at different times. How do I allow different people in my practice to have different reminder and emailed invoices preferences?
- 8.5 I want reminders to come from my practice name / Can I own the phone number for reminders rather than sharing it with other businesses?
Viewing your reminder preferences
The Reminders page records your reminder preferences as well as the wording template for text and email reminders. You can access the Reminders page by clicking the Profile tab and selecting Reminders. When you are on any page within your Profile section, click the Reminders heading to take you to the Reminders page. Two-way reminders are available for SMS reminders and not email reminders.
Adding or changing your reminder preferences
You can add or change when reminders are sent and how they are sent (i.e. via text/SMS or via email). To add or change which notifications and reminders you want to be sent, go to the Reminders page and use the preference boxes to select which reminders you would like sent by text message and which reminders you would like sent by email. If you do not require reminder notifications to be sent, leave both preference boxes blank.
Note that text reminders are limited to 160 characters; if reminders are longer than 160 characters they are sent as one reminder but more than one Halaxy Classic credit is used. If your reminder text stays below 305 characters, two Halaxy Classic credits are used. You can see an estimated character count for your reminders and actual character count for a particular reminder. There are no charges for incoming SMS responses from patients.
There are four types of reminders and notifications:
|New appointment||Notification sent when you make an appointment with a patient|
|Changed appointment||Notification sent whenever an appointment with a patient is changed|
|Pre-appointment reminder||Reminder sent to a patient at a pre-selected time before an appointment|
|Two-way reminder||Reminder sent to a patient at a pre-selected time before an appointment, with the ability for patients to respond to the text and confirm their appointment, with the confirmation status shown on your calendar|
After you have set your reminder preferences, click the Save button to save and activate your preferences.
Selecting when reminders are sent
You can also choose when reminders are to be sent. You can either select "Any day", which means the notification can be sent on a weekday or weekend or you can select "Weekdays" only. You can also nominate a specific time, such as 9.30am or you can choose the reminder to be based on the appointment time; so if the appointment is at 2pm and you have nominated reminders to be sent 24 hours prior, the reminder will be sent at 2pm the day before. This further helps to reduce your no shows.
Group and individual reminder settings
In group practices, reminder preferences and Halaxy Classic credits are set by default at a group level, so all preferences are the same for every practitioner in the group and all reminder credits are taken from the one credit card.
To change this so that preferences are set individually and enable different practitioners to have different reminder preferences, you can either:
- add each practitioner by clicking the Add New button and setting their preferences or
- add only the practitioners who would like different reminder settings.
Any practitioner you add on the Reminders page will use the credits from the group credit card. For a practitioner to be added as an individual, their credit card details need to be added to the Payments page on the Halaxy Classic Credit Settings section.
Practitioners with Owner level access are able to see each practitioner's preferences.
SMS and email reminder options
Specifying how many days before an appointment that a reminder should be sent
You can specify how many days before an appointment a reminder is sent - from the Days Before Appointment field, select your preferred number of days, with options up to 5 days. Selecting 1 day means reminders are sent 24 hours before appointments; selecting 2 days means they are sent 48 days before appointments; and selecting 3 days means reminders are sent 72 hours before appointments. You are able to specify different preferences for SMS reminders and for email reminders. For example, you can specify that an email reminder is sent three days before an appointment and an SMS reminder is sent two days before an appointment.
Tick that you want the changed preferences to apply to all future appointments including appointments that you have already booked.
Setting the sender address for email reminders
Email notifications and reminders are sent from a Halaxy Classic email address (email@example.com) by default. You can set your preferences so that email notifications and reminders are sent from your email address listed on your Personal page. When you are editing your reminder preferences, select the Practitioner email option in the From email drop-down field, and click the Save button.
Setting your practice name as the sender for one-way SMS reminders (optional)
You can choose to set your practice name as the SMS reminder sender, rather than a randomly generated mobile number. Setting your practice name as sender helps patients know immediately that the SMS reminder is from you. . In group practices, individual practitioners can choose to purchase their own number. This is available for one-way SMS reminders.
Click the Buy Name link under Custom Name. Confirm your credit or debit card, then click the Edit icon in the Preferences section and enter your practice name or other name you want to appear in the SMS/Text ID field (a maximum of 11 characters)
The SMS/Text Sender ID field in the Preferences section becomes visible after you enter your credit card details.
You can cancel this option by clicking the Edit icon and selecting Cancel Now or Cancel on expiry (if you want to cancel this option when your credit or debit card expires).
Purchasing a dedicated number for two-way SMS reminders (optional)
You can purchase a dedicated phone number through Halaxy Classic which is only used to send out reminders for your practice, so that the phone number cannot be used by other services that also use our SMS gateway provider, such as hairdressers, mechanics or other medical practices. Patients can save the number in their phones, and you will know that your reminders come from the same number and not different numbers. You purchase the dedicated SMS phone number through Halaxy Classic but you cannot use your own mobile phone number for sending.
On the Reminders page, click the Buy Number link under Dedicated Number. After you confirm your credit or debit card, reminders are automatically sent with your dedicated SMS reminder number as the sender.
You can cancel this option by clicking the Edit icon and selecting Cancel Now or Cancel on expiry (if you want to cancel this option when your credit or debit card expires).
Changing from one-way to two-way SMS reminders
To change from using one-way SMS reminders (that do not allow patients to respond) to two-way SMS reminders, you need to do three things:
- Click the 2-way Reminders check box on your reminder preferences;
- Tick that you want to apply the change to all future appointments; and
- Go to your wording for SMS reminders, and confirm that it is correct. You should remove the wording that says 'Please do not reply to this message'. You do not need to add wording that they can reply to the message because "Reply YES to confirm or call [your phone number] to reschedule" is automatically affixed to all two-way SMS reminders.
You are now set up for two-way reminders.
Patients' individual reminder and confirmation preferences
If a patient's reminder preferences differ to the rest of your practice, you can tailor their specific reminder preferences on their General page.
If you do have patients that have specific reminder preferences, the number of patients with specific preferences is listed under the Preferences section of your Reminders page (it is left blank if there are no such patients). Click the link to see a list of the specific patients that have preferences and to see what their preferences are.
Purchasing Halaxy Classic credits
Text reminders sent to mobile/cell phones cost $AU0.22 per 160 character text message sent (text messages with more than 160 characters cost more than 1 Halaxy Classic credit) and are highly recommended for pre-appointment reminders. If you use two-way SMS reminders, there are no charges for receiving incoming SMS responses from patients.
To purchase Halaxy Classic credits, click the Buy Credits button. Enter the value of Halaxy Classic credits that you would like to purchase, and the system tells you the number of text reminders that can be sent for that credit amount (for example, $30 gets you 137 texts reminders). Complete your payment details, and click the Add button to confirm purchase. Your payment details are also added to your Settings page.
You can also buy and top up Halaxy Classic credits in bulk and save, whilst improving your practice. You can read about bulk discounts on your Payments page.
Automatic top up of Halaxy Classic credits
You can set Halaxy Classic credits to automatically top up when there are 10 credits left, thus ensuring that you always have enough credits for reminders to be sent without you needing to check how many credits you have left.
Auto top up is initially disabled, click the Edit icon. Select Enabled. Enter the value of Halaxy Classic credits that you would like to purchase and click the Submit button to confirm purchase.
Transferring Halaxy Classic credits
In addition to purchasing credits, you can also transfer credits between practitioners within your group. Click the Transfer Credits icon, choose who the credits are coming from, who they are going to and the amount of the credits to be transferred. Then click Save.
Viewing, editing and tailoring your reminder, notification and emailed invoice wording
Click the Edit icon at the right of the page to view wording and preferences.
For group practices, where all notifications and reminders are the same, if changes are required, the changes can be made by clicking the Edit icon at the right of the page. If individual practitioners require changes, click the Add New button at the bottom of the page and add the individual practitioner. If that practitioner requires their own credit card settings, they need to be added on the Payments page. You can then edit their settings.
You can view, edit and tailor the wording of the following text and email notifications and reminders:
- New appointment notification;
- Changed appointment notification;
- Appointment reminder (including the two-way reminder instructions affixed to the reminder text);
- Emailed invoice email wording for both patients and organisations; and
- The look and feel of email reminders, including the ability to add hyperlinks in email reminders.
You can view the text of each type of reminder by hovering your mouse over the view icon (which looks like a magnifying glass) next to each notification or reminder preference selector. You can edit and tailor the default wording for each reminder or notification to the needs of your practice. Click the Edit icon at the right of the page to access the reminder editing page, which is the page where you can see the existing wording for all reminders and notifications, sent by text and sent by email. If you have never edited a reminder or notifications, the default wording is shown. You can edit the wording using the dynamic fields on the right where required. For example, if you use the + Patient Full Name (i.e. the patient's full name) field in the wording of a reminder, the reminder dynamically includes the full name of the patient for whom the appointment is made, no matter who the patient is. Note that two-way reminders by default affix "Reply YES to confirm or call [your phone number] to reschedule." at the end of the reminder, which you can tailor to your own needs.
You can also tailor the formatting of email reminders including by adding bold, italics and text colour. You can also add hyperlinks.
Click the Save button to save any changes you make, and any changes you have made are applied to future reminders (unless you have customised a specific reminder for a specific patient's appointment.
Automatic appointment locations in your reminders
By using the dynamic term Appointment Location, Halaxy Classic automatically selects the appointment location that appears on the calendar, so you do not need to type out individual locations in your reminder wording. Halaxy Classic's reminder process automatically selects the location, including for appointments at your practice locations, home visits as well as appointments at organisations' addresses and other addresses.
SMS reminder length, character estimate and preview
For SMS reminders, a character count estimate is shown at the bottom right of the wording field. You can view a preview of the SMS reminder by clicking the Preview button, which shows your SMS reminder with Test Patient as the patient name. Character estimates and previews let you know and manage how many Halaxy Classic credits are used by your SMS reminders, so you can edit wording where required. Note you can get an actual character count for an individual reminder by going to the relevant appointment on the calendar and viewing the reminder for that appointment). Reminders with over 480 characters (i.e. 3 credits) are more likely to be rejected by telecommunications providers, so it is strongly recommended that you keep characters in your reminder wording below this level.
When a reminder or notification type is not needed
If your practice does not require a particular reminder or notification, or does not require it to be sent in a particular way (e.g. by email), do not delete the wording. Instead, make sure that the preference is not selected on your reminder preferences on the previous page.
Sending invoices automatically
All invoices that are paid in full can be emailed automatically. You can set this up on your Payments page. You can do this for both individual and organisations.
Sending a one-off text to a patient
Main article: Sending one-off reminders
You can send a one-off text to a patient from the General page of their profile.
Confirming that reminders are being sent
There are two ways that you can confirm that reminders are being sent:
- On the calendar, if you want to confirm that a particular reminder for a particular patient was sent; and
- By running a Reminder report on the Communication page, if you want to confirm that your reminders as a whole are being sent.
For a particular reminder
Main article: Viewing a particular reminder
You can confirm whether a particular reminder for a particular appointment was sent by opening the appointment and clicking the Reminder bell to see the reminder status. If the reminder failed, you can see the reason why.
For reminders as a whole
You can confirm whether reminders as a whole are being sent by running a Reminders report on your Communication page. You can also use the Reminder Report to view a list of reminders with a particular status (e.g. all failed or all confirmed reminders) or of a particular type (e.g two-way reminders or appointment change notifications).
To run a Reminders Report, go to your Reports page under your Finances tab, and then select the Communication page. Click the New Report button and select the Report Type, Reminders. You can then refine the report by selecting from specific parameters including dates sent, for a particular patient or practitioner, status (e.g. scheduled or failed), type (e.g. email or SMS) and sub-type (e.g. notification, reminder, two-way reminder, etc). Click the Run button to see the report (practitioners with Personal Access can only run a Reminder report for themselves).
On the Reminder Report, you can see the type of the reminder, the date of the appointment (and which practitioner the appointment is with), the date the reminder was sent and was scheduled as well as the reminder status and recipient details. From the Reminder Report, you can go to:
- The appointment in the calendar by clicking the appointment date;
- The patient's profile by clicking the patient's name; and
- The actual text of the reminder by hovering over the Help icon (which looks like a question mark) after the recipient's details, you can see the actual text of the reminder.
You can save, print or export the report.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I change the look and feel of my email reminders (e.g. make the text bold)?
You can customise the look and feel of your reminder emails to give your reminders more impact. For example, you can choose to bold key words, change text colour and font, and upload a picture. On the Reminders page under the Profile tab, you can edit your reminder template by clicking the edit icon. To access the template menu, click anywhere in the template body and the menu options appear so you can customise the reminder to your needs.
How do I change who my reminder emails and emailed invoices are sent from (reminder sender address)?
Changing your email address on your Personal page but not your Users page changes the email address from which reminders are sent to be the contact email address on your Personal page. You can read more here.
How do I change the default wording on my appointment confirmations, reminder SMS and emails, and emailed invoices?
You can change the default wording for reminders and emailed invoices on your Reminders page.
Different people in my practice want reminders sent at different times. How do I allow different people in my practice to have different reminder and emailed invoices preferences?
You can set reminder preferences to Individual on your Reminders page so that different people in your practice can have different reminder and emailed invoices preferences.
I want reminders to come from my practice name / Can I own the phone number for reminders rather than sharing it with other businesses?
You can set reminders to come from your practice name on your Reminders page. You also have the option of owning the mobile number that SMS reminders come from.