Treat this guide as a tutorial. The easiest way to learn the SMS reminders system is to use it.
1. Before we begin
If you haven't already, add yourself as a patient in Medilink (you'll practice by sending messages to yourself). Make sure to add your mobile phone number to your file in Medilink.
2. Configure SMS reminders
Step 1. In the system tray on your computer, right-click on the Medilink SMS icon and select Setup.
You'll see the following window. Here you can change your SMS settings and create/edit/remove message templates.
Explanation of the different sections:
- Login: choose your messaging provider (more than likely IntelliMessaging).
- Send/receive interval: by default this will be 30. What this means is that every 30 minutes, Medilink will send any messages that you have created and process any messages that you have received.
- Other SMS options
- Your message formats
- Currently selected message format
- List of key fields: when a message format is generated per appointment, the key fields will be replaced with real data. For example, the <patientfirstname> key field will be substituted with each patients first name for their respective messages.
Step 2. Once you have logged in, make sure the Confirm SMSes option in section 3 is enabled. Have a look at your default message template (edit it if you want). Click OK when done.
3. Perform a Bulk SMS
In this section, you'll learn how to send a message to all patients in a providers column for a particular day.
Step 1. Find an open provider column that does not have any scheduled appointments so far (you might need to go a few months ahead of today). In this example, I've found a provider (Dr M Kirrily) with an open schedule for September 13, 2018 and there are currently no appointments - jackpot!).
Step 2. Add yourself to this schedule a few times.
Step 3. Double-click the provider column header and select Bulk.
Tip: you can also go to Appointment menu >> SMS Options >> Bulk SMS and follow the prompts to select a provider/practice and date range to bulk send SMS reminders for.
You'll notice that the appointment statuses will change to a white circle. This means the SMS messages have been created but not sent yet. Remember the Send/Receive Interval we touched on earlier? The messages that we create will be sent when the interval ticks over (e.g. every 30 minutes).
In general, you'll probably just create the messages and then forget about it and let the interval send them for you. However, if you want to send a message right away or demand any messages that have been sent to you, you can do a Send/Receive Now from the Medilink SMS system tray icon (in the Windows taskbar).
Step 4. Do a Send/Receive Now (saves you from waiting for the interval to tick over while you're practicing).
Refresh your appointment book by going forwards/backwards a day. You should see the appointment statuses as a white circle on a green background. This means that the SMS reminders have been sent.
Just to recap on the appointment statuses so far:
- White circle on grey background: message has been created but not sent
- White circle on green background: message has been sent
Step 5. Check your phone. You should have received any messages you sent to yourself. Notice how the message template fields were replaced with relevant information such as your first name, the providers name, the practices phone number, etc.?
Step 6. Reply to a message. Note, Medilink can only process responses such as "OK" or "Yes" to confirm an appointment.
Step 7. In Medilink, let's receive the message you sent in step 6. Perform another Send/Receive Now (as done in step 4).
Step 8. Refresh the appointment book again (go backwards and forwards a day). The appointment that corresponds to the message you replied to has been confirmed. A
Tip: Medilink can only process predefined responses such as Ok/Okay/Yes. Patients can sometimes send obscure responses. In these cases, Medilink won't update their appointment status to confirmed. You can view their responses in the footer of the appointment book (see image below).
Done! Congratulations, you now know how to send bulk SMS reminders!
4. Send a quick SMS
Quick SMS reminders can be used to send a message to a particular patient (as opposed to sending a message to every patient with an appointment on the day).
Step 1. Create an appointment for yourself. Highlight the appointment and select the Quick SMS button.
Note: if you're using the older interface, you won't have a Quick SMS button. Click on the following button instead.
You'll see this window pop up. It shows you the message you're about to send to the patient. If you're happy with the message as it is, you can click Yes to create it. If you want to edit the message, select No.
If you click No, you'll see the following window. Here you can edit the message as desired and send it. Click OK to create the message.
Note: if you want the patient to reply to confirm their appointment, select Yes for the Would Like Confirmation option.
Done! You now know how to send a quick SMS!
5. Send a simple SMS
Simple SMS messages don't use any templates.
Step 1. To generate a Simple SMS, bring up the patient (yourself) in the Accounting screen.
Step 2. Click on the SMS Options button and select SMS Patient.
Step 3. Type in your message and click Send.
Note: with the Reply Via System option enabled, any replies by the patient will be picked up by Medilink (you can review these responses, we'll show you how in the next section: Review sent and received SMS reminders). If you disable the Reply Via System option, you have to enter a phone number in the Sender field that the patients reply will be directed to.
6. Review sent and received SMS reminders
There may come a stage where you want to see a list of messages that have been sent or received.
1. View Receives: an isolated view to see only messages that have been received.
2. Review: the most general view (and probably the one you'll use the most, if not exclusively). Here you can see information such as when messages were sent, and for which appointments/patients. You can also see the message sent as well as the reply (if there is one).
3. Review Simple SMSes: an isolated view that only shows sent/received "simple" SMSes (see section 5: Send a simple SMS).
For the most part, you'll use the Review window. Here's an example:
Done! If you made it this far, you know basically all there is to know about the SMS reminder system! Go through the tutorial a couple of times if you want to get more comfortable with the module.
If you have any questions, let us know.
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