Communications Templates

Powerful templates for fully automated client communications

Damian Funnell avatar
Written by Damian Funnell
Updated over a week ago

Panacea provides powerful communications templates that allow you to create a message template just once and to re-use it as many times as you like.
Panacea also allows you to create consultation templates for insertion into consult notes - for more information on consultation templates please refer to the separate Help Centre article.

Communications templates not only allow you to define the content of the communication, but also the delivery method (i.e. SMS or email) and when it will be sent.  Panacea's powerful scheduling engine allows you to specify the frequency of the communication and the offset from the event that triggers it.

Communications templates support the use of variables, which are enclosed in {curly brackets} for easy identification. Variables are a convenient and powerful means of inserting all kinds of information, from clinic name and logo to client, patient and procedure information, into your reminders.  Please refer to the relevant Help Centre article for a list of communications templates variables and advice on how to use them.  It's time well spent, as you'd be amazed at how powerful you can make your client communications using template variables.

Access communications templates by clicking Templates - the Reminders tab will be selected by default.

From here you can:

  • Search for templates by name or description - just start typing into the 'search' field

  • Add new templates (click the green '+')

  • View templates by clicking on their title

  • View details of any of the listed template categories by clicking on them

  • Edit or delete a template by clicking either the pencil or the trash can icon next to it

Default Appointment Reminder Template

Panacea will automatically send appointment reminders using the appointment reminder template that you choose.
First create an appointment reminder template (using the instructions below).  Next configure Panacea to use this appointment reminder template for your clinic - click Settings > Clinics, click on your clinic and then select the Settings tab.  From here you can modify the 'Appointment Template' in the Schedule section, as illustrated below.

Creating and Editing Templates

To create a new communications template, click the '+' icon at the top right of the screen (consultation templates are covered in a separate Help Centre article):

The template editor, which opens when you create or edit a template, is illustrated below.

Options available via the template editor are:

  • Name - Give the template a meaningful and recognisable name. You will select the template using this name, so you want it to be something unambiguous.  This name will also appear at the top of your message (email delivery only), so choose something that will also be meaningful to the client.

  • Status - Active (default) means the template can be used in new communications. Suspended means the template is not available for use.

  • Description - Optional, appears in the template view only.

  • Category - Optional, allows you to group templates by categories you define.

  • Delivery Type - Email or SMS.  Remember that you will be charged for each SMS message sent (or for every 160 characters for longer messages).  Rich formatting is also not available for SMS messages.

  • Frequency - The frequency with which you want to send the message to the client.  You can select one of the preset options from the drop-down list or you can enter any combination of years, months and days.

  • Offset - The timing offset between the communication and the event that triggered it.  For appointment reminders, for example, you want to choose an offset before the event, as there's not much point reminding a client about an appointment that's already passed.  For product reminders you want to choose an offset after the event.  Choose a preset option from the drop-down list or enter any combination of years, months, days, hours and minutes.

  • Reply To, CC and BCC - Allows you to set the 'reply to', 'carbon copy' and 'blind carbon copy' email addresses for email reminders.  The 'Reply To' field will be automatically populated with the email address for your clinic (this is configured under clinic settings).  
    Having a 'reply to' address is recommended, as clients often reply to reminder emails, even when you ask them not to.  CC and BCC addresses can be very handy if you want to store a copy of all reminder emails in your CRM system and/or in an email archive.

  • Suppress if Deceased - Enabled by default. Suppresses reminders created using that template from being dispatched if the patient is deceased, irrespective of whether reminders for deceased patients are enabled at the clinic level.  This option only has an effect if the reminder is associated with a patient and the patient is marked as deceased in Panacea.
    Disable this option with caution and only if you're positive that a client would still want to receive the communication even if the patient is deceased.

  • Template Body - Supports the use of rich text and images (email only) and template variables. Allows you to create attractive, informative communications that include client and patient-specific information (see below).

Set the above options as desired and then enter your message into the template body.  

Creating Effective Copy

The Panacea template creator is powerful and easy to use - it allows you to create templates that are as detailed or as simple as you like, including the use of rich text, colour, your clinic logo, etc.  If you're familiar with using a word processor then you'll have no problem driving the template editor - just start typing!

Remember that rich text options are only available for email templates - if you're wondering why the formatting toolbar is not available it's because you've chosen 'SMS' as the delivery type.
To create effective template copy we recommend testing and refining every template by sending it to yourself first before unleashing it on your client.  You may need to set up test patient and client records (using your own email address and mobile telephone number) if you don't already exist as a client in Panacea.
This type of testing helps you to see how the communication will look from a client's perspective.  Things to remember:

  • Hover over buttons on the formatting toolbar to find out what they do.  Remember that there are 'undo' and 'redo' options in case you make a mistake.

  • Template variables are powerful and easy to use - they make reminders (and other communications) more relevant and effective.  It's worth taking the time to learn how to use them and what variables are available.
    You just need to type an open curly bracket ('{') to be presented with a list of template variables to choose from.  Easy!

  • Short and sweet beats long and windy every time.  Many clients will only read the first few lines of an email or SMS in a preview before deciding whether to open the message or not.  Design your templates with this in mind.

  • Clients cannot reply to SMS or email messages from Panacea at this time.  They will not receive a response if they attempt to do so.  You might want to consider mentioning this in your template to avoid clients being frustrated by a perceived lack of response if they try to reply to your messages.

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