There are 3 stages to sending out an email - or any correspondence - to a large group of patients. In this example, we are going to contact all active patients with an email address, who are due to come into the practice soon, then send a pre-written email.
Stage 1 - Compose a template message to send to all appropriate patients
Stage 2 - Select the appropriate patients using the Patients Report
Stage 3 - Send an appropriate message to these selected patients.
This procedure can be applied to sending emails, texts and letters through Dentally Mail - however, please remember that if you send letters with Dentally Mail or SMS messages, there is a charge for sending these types of correspondence. Printed letters can only be sent if the 'Dentally Mail' option is enabled in the Billing section of your Practice Settings. There is a guide to how Dentally Mail works here
So, let's get started on the messaging run:
Stage 1 - Create a Correspondence template.
To create a letter, email or SMS that you wish to send, use the correspondence templates from Settings > Templates.
Remember - if you are sending out a SMS message you are limited to 150 characters per text credit and any messages longer than this will cost more to send.
In this example we are going to create a new email template.
- Go to Settings > Templates > Email tab
- Create a new Email template
- Add the Template name - you will be using this in Step 3
- Add the Subject line
- In the message area, type the message you wish to send
- Use data tags if you would like each patient to receive a personalised email
We would always advise sending a test copy of this email to yourself to make sure it displays how you expect when received. If you have a test patient in your list with your practice or personal email address, try sending it to just that patient first.
Stage 2 - Use the Patients Report to create a group of patients
In this example we are going to find:
- active patients (not archived)
- patients who have an email address in their details screen
- with an appointment within 2 weeks
- who have opted in to receiving contact by email
How to select patients using the Patients Report
- Generally you will want to Match all filters.
- Select 'Active patients'
- Select 'Email address' and choose the option 'has any value' - this means that the patient has an email address in their details
- Select 'Receive Email' is and select True - this means that in a patient's details they have Receive Email set to 'Yes' and have not opted out of receiving emails from you
If you wish to restrict this messaging run to just those patients due to come into the practice in a date range, the following stages are a guide. If you simply wish to contact all patients, regardless of their next visit, then you can simply leave these filters out
- Select the date range for the Next Appointment.
- To select a date range you need to select Absolute, After and select the start date. Then ADD Filter. Select the date Before the date you are looking for. So, for example, to look for appointments between 18/3/20 and 1/4/20 you need to select AFTER 17/3/20 and BEFORE 2/4/20
If you only wish to contact patients who have been in the practice recently, you could use the 'Patient Last Appointment' filter and choose 'After'.
Ensure there are no other filters that you do not require selected that may be restricting the numbers of patients displayed.
- Save this set of selections - called a Segment - so that you can use it again. You need to give this segment of patients a name. We are going to use this segment of patients in the next stage.
Now you have created a group of patients you wish to contact and you know how many there will be ......
Note that there is a natural cap of 200 on the amount of patients a user can contact through this feature to avoid sending more correspondence than intended. Unless this cap has been amended in the past, this will need to be changed to allow the sending of a higher number of messages.
To increase the maximum messages cap:
- Go to Settings ⚙️ then Users
- Select the user who will be sending the messages and click the Edit button
- In the Security section, raise the number in the 'Maximum number of patients that can be contacted' option to cover the amount of patients you need to contact.
Stage 3 - Send an email to the selected patients
To send the email you created in Stage 1 to the patients you selected in stage 2
Go to the Messages centre in Dentally. This is accessible from the 'Paper Aeroplane' icon on the left of your screen. In this section, we are going to create a Message Run.
- Click 'New Message'
- Give your new message a name so that you can track it
We can then follow the steps in the Messaging run
- Step 1 - select the segment of patients you saved earlier
If you are unable to select the segment you require due to the number of patients contained being higher than your messaging cap, please see the section above labelled 'To increase the maximum messages cap'
- Click on Done
- Step 2 - click on Open
- Select the type of message you wish to send. Email in this case
- Click on Email. Then click on Done
- Step 3 - click on Open
- Select the email template which you created in Step 1
- Check that the email looks as you expect.
- Click on Done
- Step 4 - click on Open
- If you are ready to send the run now, click on the Green - 'Send the Message Now'. If you would prefer to save the run as draft for now and pick it up again later choose 'Save for Later' (you can then find this message run in the 'Draft' section the next time you come into the Messaging centre.
Once, you click 'Send message now', you will see the emails sending immediately, but the whole list may take a short while to complete. Any undeliverable emails will be returned to your Inbox.
The 'Results' section of the message run will show you the total numbers contacted/failed.
The 'Patient's section will give a list of patients contacted/not contacted
If you want to check in future on the Messaging runs that you have sent, you can return to the Messaging centre and view Running or Completed message runs.
The Patients Report
To learn more about the Patients Report and how you might use it, we have a number of tutorial webpages for you to refer to.