Automated Communications are currently in Beta. If you would like to join the beta testing group please ask via a Dentally Support ticket.

Automated communications allow messages to be scheduled around events such as appointments, creation of invoices or estimates. Using automation means that you never forget to email an invoice, or an estimate again. Let Dentally take care of it for you.

To create an automated communication rule

Automated Communications are set up around rules.

To create an automation rule, start at Settings > Automation. You need to have Level 4 (Administrator) permissions to do this.

Rule Description

  • Give the Rule a name
  • Select a type - Appointment, Invoice or Estimate
  • Leave Active as No until you are ready to set the automation active

Set an Appointment Type automatic communication

Trigger

Now set what triggers the automation.

  • Set the time the message is due to be sent out
  • Set the time - Hour, Day or Week
  • Before or After the appointment
  • Start time of the trigger event (this is the only option at present)
  • The appointment criteria now needs to be set - as a default, the automation will contact ALL appointments
  • Click on +Add Filter Condition

Trigger Filter Conditions

The first time you set up Automated Communications, the trigger field looks like this

Dentally Automated Communication Trigger for Appointments
  • Click on +Add Filter Condition to set the trigger
  • Use the Trigger filters to refine the automation.
  • You have the option of State, Site ID and Reason.
Dentally Automated Communication Appointment Filter choices
  • For each attribute, you will have related conditions. For Example, Appointment Reason will show you appointment reasons, such as Exam, or Implant, or Emergency. Site id will allow you, if you are a multiple site practice, to filter only those patients from your site.
  • You can check more than 1 check box. For example you may have a post-treatment message that you send to patients, in which case you might use both Completed and In Surgery as your trigger options in case the appointment was not marked as complete at the time.
  • Make sure that you select the + Add Condition button at the end of the list. This adds the selected trigger criteria to your list.
  • If you do not use the + Add Condition button, your criteria will not be saved.
  • You can build very specific conditions for your communication. For example, you can send your SMS to those patients who attend one site, who attended an Exam type appointment.
Dentally Automated communications - complex filters

NOTE: For pre appointment reminders and confirmations, your trigger should be set to only contact appointments of status Pending or Confirmed, or you may remind patients about cancelled appointments!

Set an Invoice type automatic communication

An automated correspondence will be sent the set amount of time after an invoice has been created. If an email is sent as part of the automation, the invoice will be attached as a PDF document to the email. If the invoice is created, triggering the rule, but is then subsequently deleted, an email will not be sent. Unpaid invoices will be sent showing the outstanding amount. Paid invoices will be sent showing as a receipt, detailing the payments made against it. The rule can be set to send the correspondence depending on the payment status of the invoice, ie regardless if it is paid or not, only send unpaid invoices to the patient, or only send paid invoices (receipts) to the patient.

Trigger

Now set what triggers the automation.

Dentally - Automated Communication - Invoice Unpaid
  • Set the Rule name
  • Set the Type to Invoice
  • Set the Trigger to be the time after the invoice is created. The minimum is 1 hour so that if you need to delete an invoice you won't send an incorrect invoice to a patient.
  • Select the Invoice conditions (if no conditions are set, paid and unpaid invoices will both trigger correspondence to be sent)
  • The attribute 'Paid' and No will lead to an email or SMS about an unpaid invoice.
  • The attribute 'Paid' and Yes will lead to an email or SMS with a receipt.

Set an Estimate type automatic communication

An automated correspondence will be sent the set amount of time after an estimate treatment plan has been created. If an email is sent as part of the automation, the estimate will be attached as a PDF document to the email. If an estimate is created in error and is deleted, the message will not be sent.

Trigger

Now set what triggers the automation.

Dentally - Automated Communication - Estimate
  • Set the Rule name
  • Set the Type to Estimate
  • Set the Trigger to be the time after the estimate is created. The minimum is 1 hour so that if you need to rethink treatment, it gives you time to do so. Deleting the estimate and producing another will result in the most recent estimate being sent.

Setting the Message

  • Now select the message template you want to use for each delivery mechanism, SMS or Email.
  • Or, if you haven't yet created a template you can create a new one from here - click on + Create SMS Template or + Create Email Template

Message Preferences

Select the preference that best suits the message you are sending.

You can set the order in which you would like the automated messages to be attempted.

  • SMS Email - attempt to send an SMS first. If the SMS fails, then try patient's email.
  • Email SMS - attempt to send an email first, then if the email fails, attempt to send an SMS.
  • All - send correspondence where a template is set.
  • If there is both an SMS and an email template, and the patient has both a mobile number and an email address, the patient will receive the message twice.

You might choose SMS first, then email in instances where it is important that a message is read in a timely manner. For example, a contactless reception check-in message.

You might choose email first for messages which are not as time sensitive, such as post appointment feedback messages. Attachments, such as invoices and estimates can only be sent by email.

Select the preference that best suits the message you are sending.

Save and Set Active

When you save, the automation is set to Active.

Change this, and set Active to No to pause the automation until you are ready to set it in motion.

To turn on the automated communication

  • Click on Settings > Automation
  • Set the list filter to All from Active
  • Click the edit icon to the far right on the name line
  • Set Active to Yes and Save

'Catch up'

When you first enable a new rule, the Automation feature will catch up and send the messages that it now considers overdue. This is an important thing to consider; for example:

If you create a rule to send a pre-appointment information email 5 days before the patients' appointments; once saved, the rule will then check to see if there are any appointments that have not been contacted and are in effect overdue. It will then 'catch up' and send those messages in its next pass and will therefore send the messages to all applicable appointments in the next 5 days, until the rule is satisfied. From that point on, the messages will the start to go as and when the appointments are 5 days in the future.

An Example Rule

  • In this example, the rule is called Post Appointment Correspondence
  • It is set to be triggered 1 day after the patient has been marked as arrived, or in surgery.
  • It is set to use Email first - the template called Post visit feedback - and then to try SMS using the template Appointment - Post visit thank you.
  • Once saved, it is automatically Active, but I don't want it to start just yet, so I have set Active to No until I am ready to set it in motion.

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