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Creating and Managing Reminders
Creating and Managing Reminders

Automate reminders - powerful and easy!

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

Panacea provides a fully automated communications mechanism to help you stay on top of client communications simply and effortlessly. It is designed to help you maintain strong relationships with your clients within minimal manual intervention from you.

Note - we refer to communications and 'reminders' interchangeably throughout this help section.  They are what you make them.
For information on creating and managing product reminders, please see the separate Help Centre article.

Client communications are currently supported via SMS text message or email.  Note that email communications are free, but SMS messages do attract a small 'per-message' charge.  SMS messages are sent 160 characters at a time, so longer messages may result in you being charged for multiple SMS messages (e.g. a 200 character message would take two SMS messages and would be charged accordingly).
Note that, where there are multiple clients associated with a patient, Panacea will send reminders to the primary owner (i.e. the first owner that was associated with that patient).

Email communications can be created in rich text, allowing you to use attractive formatting and images in your client communications.

Note that you are responsible for ensuring that you remain in compliance with your countries' communications and anti-SPAM laws. We recommend getting to know these so you know what the rules are. We also recommend taking care to not bombard clients with communications - when it comes to client communication quality trumps quantity every time.

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.

This page provides a general overview of the powerful communications options available within Panacea. Please refer to the other articles in this 'how to' section for detailed instructions on creating and using templates.

Email Addresses and Mobile Numbers

Panacea can only send email and SMS messages to clients who have email addresses and mobile numbers configured within their client record, so make sure you capture these details from every client.

Mobile numbers can be entered either with or without the country code included, as long as you use '+' country code notation. For example:

  • +64 27 555 9876 is a valid mobile number. You must use this format (including country code) if the client's mobile uses an international number (i.e. different country code to the clinic)

  • 0064 27 555 9876 is not a valid mobile number, as it does not use the '+' country code notation

  • '+64 27 555 9876 (HM)' is not a valid number, as it contains non-numeric characters

  • 027 555 9876 is a valid mobile number. Panacea will automatically append the country code from the clinic when one is not specified.

Clinic Settings:  Reminders

The following reminders options are configurable at the clinic level (i.e. by clicking Settings >> Clinics and selecting the required clinic):

  • Appointment Template:  The template that Panacea will use to send automatic appointment reminders.  If this is blank then automatic appointment reminders will not be sent.

  • Auto Reminders:  Enables/disables automated (scheduled) reminders - note this is the same setting displayed on the Reminders screen (see below)

  • Deceased Reminders:  Enables/suppresses reminders related to deceased patients.  Also the same setting displayed on the Reminders screen.

The Reminders Screen

To access the main reminders screen, just click on 'Reminders' from the left hand navigation menu.  

From here you can:

  • View all reminders for the selected date range

  • Control whether auto reminders are on or off.  When 'on' reminders will be sent automatically as scheduled

  • Control whether reminders will be sent to owners of deceased patients (there are several safeguards regarding deceased reminders - see below)

  • Filter reminders by status

  • Filter reminders by date range

  • Create ad-hoc reminders

A similar reminders screen appears on the 'Reminders' tab of every patient or client. This lets you easily view reminders just for that patient or client.

Filtering Reminders

The reminders screen can quickly become busy as the number of reminders (scheduled and already processed) starts to build up.
Use filters to reduce the clutter and to help you find just the reminders that you're looking for:

  1. Use the 'Reminders' tab under the patient or client record to view only reminders associated with that patient or client

  2. Use the 'Status' and date filters (see below) to filter reminders by specific statuses or date ranges.  Leave the 'From' or 'To' dates empty to show all reminders before or after a selected date respectively.
    Use the 'x' to the right of the date selector to clear the date selections.

Deceased Reminders

We realise how important it is to control communications to owners regarding patients who are deceased.  No client wants to receive a vaccination reminder for a beloved pet who is deceased.
Some vets require the ability to send automated communications related to deceased animals (e.g. condolences, cremation information, etc.), so Panacea does allow automated reminders to be sent even when the patient is deceased, but these are carefully controlled.
The most important thing to remember is that, to suppress communications regarding patients that are deceased, those patients must be marked as deceased in Panacea.  We recommend editing the patient record and marking the patient as deceased (as illustrated below) as soon as you're aware of the patient death.

Panacea uses three levels of protection against sending automated reminders regarding deceased patients:

  1. Reminder templates have a 'suppress if deceased' option (ticked by default).  Any reminder using that template will be suppressed if the patient is deceased, irrespective of any other setting.
    We recommend leaving this ticked for all reminders unless you're quite sure you'd want the reminder to be sent regarding a deceased patient

  2. When you create reminders you can select the 'suppress if deceased' option to prevent that reminder from being sent, even if the template doesn't have this option selected

  3. Deceased reminders can be turned on or off at the clinic level, either from the reminders screen or the clinic configuration.  If this option is turned off (as illustrated below) then no reminders will be sent regarding deceased patients, irrespective of any template setting

When reminders are suppressed for deceased patients they appear as 'suspended' in the reminders view, as below.  You can still edit, resume or immediately send these suspended reminders if required.

Creating Reminders

Create new reminders by clicking the green '+' sign at the top right of the reminders screen (note you can also do this directly from the 'Reminders' tab of the client or patient screens).  The 'New Reminder' screen will appear:

You are presented with the following options:

  • Template - optionally select a template for your reminder.  Templates save time and effort and cut down on errors such at typo's.  See the templates user guide for more information on creating and managing templates

  • Name - enter a descriptive name for the reminder.  This will be set automatically if you choose a template, although you can over-write this

  • Client - you must select a client for the reminder to be sent to

  • Patient - you can optionally select a patient for the reminder, although remember that some variables (such as {PATIENT_NAME} will only work if a patient is associated with the reminder)

  • Delivery type (email or SMS) - rich text is only available for email reminders

  • Frequency - one time by default, although this can be changed so the reminder will automatically re-send daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, yearly or biannually

  • Suppress if deceased - see above

  • Reminder body.  This will be automatically populated by your template (if you select one).  You can freely edit the body, irrespective of whether a template was used.  Type an open curly bracket ('{') to bring up a list of variables that you can insert into the reminder.

Once you've entered all of the required information click the green save icon at the top right of the screen to save and schedule the reminder.  It will now appear on the Reminders page.

Managing Reminders

Panacea provides the following options for managing reminders from the reminder screen:

These options are (from left to right):

  • Pause or resume the reminder ('pause' icon changes to a green 'play' icon when the reminder is paused)

  • Send the reminder now (use with caution - you won't be prompted to confirm).  This will send the reminder immediately.  If the reminder is repetitive then the 'Scheduled At' date and time will be updated accordingly (i.e. so the next instance will be sent at the selected interval from this message).

  • Edit the reminder.

  • Delete the reminder (you will be prompted to confirm prior to deletion)

Automated Appointment Reminders

Panacea automatically sends automated reminders to clients 24 hours before their scheduled appointment (this interval will be configurable in a future release).
These automated reminders will be sent if:

  1. A template has been selected for the 'Appointment Template' in the clinic settings for the given clinic (see above), and

  2. The client has a valid mobile phone number of email address (as appropriate).

Otherwise there's nothing more for you to do - just schedule the appointment and the reminder will be created automagically.
If the appointment is scheduled to occur less than 24 hours from now then the reminder will be sent shortly after you save it in the schedule.  If you want to suppress or re-schedule this reminder then head to the Reminders screen as soon as you've saved the appointment and manage it from there.
Suspend it first if you plan to edit the reminder or schedule to prevent it from being sent while you're working on it.

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