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 appointments. For example, you can send a check-in message 2 hours before a pending or confirmed appointment, or send a follow up message 5 hours after a completed one.

Automated Communications are set up around rules.

To create an automated communication rule

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
  • An appointment type
  • Leave Active as No until you are ready to set the automation active


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

  • Click on +Add Filter Condition to set the trigger
  • Use the Trigger filters to refine the automation.
  • 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 appt 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.

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!


  • 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 an SMS 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.

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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