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Engagement: Automated Appointment Communications
Engagement: Automated Appointment Communications

Enable and configure your Automated Appointment Communications in Engagement

Grace Richards avatar
Written by Grace Richards
Updated over a week ago

Automated Appointment Communications in Engagement will simplify your daily tasks and reduce the number of outbound calls you need to make. In Engagement, there are multiple notification options that, once configured, will be sent out automatically. These notifications include:

Automated appointment notifications use the content available in your Engagement Verbiage section to populate messages. Verbiage acts as a library of all automated messages. Before enabling automated appointment communications, be sure to customize messaging Verbiage. Click here to learn how!

Simply reminding your patients of their appointments and ensuring they confirm ahead of time, will also help to avoid no shows and cancellations! In this article, you'll learn:

Watch this short video to follow along with the step-by-step process of enabling automated appointment communications:


When are automated appointment communications sent?

It's important that automated appointment notifications are sent during appropriate time periods. Notifications are defaulted to be sent out during the following times:

On non-appointment days, automated appointment notifications are sent between 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM (local time zone).

On the day of the appointment, automated appointment notifications are sent between 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM (local time zone).

Note: The frequency of appointment notifications can be adjusted (ie, 3 days before), but the specific time that the notification is sent out cannot be adjusted (ie, at 10:00am).

If a message is scheduled to be sent before 8:00 AM on an appointment day, it will send the night before.


Enable Automated Appointment Communications

It's easy to pick and choose which automated appointment communications you'd like to enable from the Appointment Communication tab in your Engagement Settings. Follow the steps below to get started:

  1. First, access Engagement Settings by clicking on the gear icon in the upper right hand corner

  2. Select the Practice Setup tab and then click on the Appointment Communication section

  3. To enable automated appointment notifications and start sending them to patients, select the Enable automated appointment notifications check box. You can disable this at any time if needed by deselecting the check box.

  4. Hit Save at the bottom of this page to save the rules you have applied in the sections for the Automated Appointment Communications.

Important: Once this is enabled and you click save at the bottom of the page, Engagement will start sending notifications according to the settings that are established. Please make sure that your messaging Verbiage has been set up.


Automated Appointment Notification Options

New Patient Welcome Message

New Patient Welcome notifications will send a welcome text to new patients who schedule their first appointment. This will include the date and time of the appointment. This message is sent 10 minutes after an appointment is created or the start time is changed.

In this notification, a link to complete forms will be included. New patients will receive new patient forms. Existing patients will receive forms if they haven’t already been filled out. They will also have the opportunity to update their information.

  1. From the Practice Setup tab in Engagement Settings, click on the Appointment Communication section

  2. Select the Welcome notifications check box to enable

  3. Choose the Preferred Delivery Channel (email or text)

  4. Hit Save at the bottom of this page to save the rules you have applied in the sections for the Automated Appointment Communications.

Note: If an appointment confirmation is scheduled to go out within 48 hours of the welcome notification, it will be skipped to avoid too many messages to the patient.


Appointment Save-the-Dates

Appointment Save-the-Dates are sent to existing patients when they schedule an appointment and will include the date and time of the appointment.

  1. From the Practice Setup tab in Engagement Settings, click on the Appointment Communication section

  2. Select the Save-the-date check box to enable

  3. Choose the Preferred Delivery Channel (email or text)

  4. Hit Save at the bottom of this page to save the rules you have applied in the sections for the Automated Appointment Communications.

Note: If an appointment confirmation is scheduled to go out within 48 hours of the save-the-date, it will be skipped to avoid too many messages to the patient.


Appointment Cancellations

An Appointment Cancellation notification is sent 10 minutes after an appointment is deleted, canceled, broken, or otherwise removed from the schedule without being reassigned to another date/time.

  1. From the Practice Setup tab in Engagement Settings, click on the Appointment Communication section

  2. Select the Appointment cancelled check box to enable

  3. Choose the Preferred Delivery Channel (email or text)

  4. Hit Save at the bottom of this page to save the rules you have applied in the sections for the Automated Appointment Communications.

Important Note: If an appointment is broken or canceled in your practice management software, appointment reminders will not be sent out to the patient.

Learn more about breaking/canceling appointments in your practice management software:


Appointment Confirmation Requests

Appointment confirmation requests are sent to patients at a customizable number of days prior to their appointment date. Choose to send multiple follow-up appointment confirmations if the patient does not confirm after the first message is sent.

  1. From the Practice Setup tab in Engagement Settings, click on the Appointment Communication section

  2. To enable Confirmation Requests, select the Confirmation request notifications check box next to each attempt number you would like to activate

    1. If forms haven’t been filled out before receiving a reminder or confirmation they will also get a link to fill out forms with these text.

  3. Enter in Number of days before the appointment that the reminder will be sent

  4. Choose Preferred Delivery Channel for each attempt

  5. Select time when the message will be sent

  6. Hit Save at the bottom of this page to save the rules you have applied in the sections for the Automated Appointment Communications.

Important Note: Engagement reacts to keyword confirmation responses from patients. Patient responses such as:

  • C

  • Confirm

  • Yes

  • Okay

  • Ok

  • Si

  • Confirmed

  • I’ll be there

  • 👍 emoji

will mark the appointment as confirmed. If a patient sends something like "I confirm I will be there", Engagement won't be able to automatically change the status of the appointment and the patient will receive a follow-up confirmation request. In order to avoid this, please assess the patient direction in your messaging Verbiage and/or change the status manually in your Practice Management Software.


Check-in Request Notifications

Automated Check-In Requests will simplify the check in process for you and your patients by going mobile!

  1. From the Practice Setup tab in Engagement Settings, click on the Appointment Communication section

  2. Select the Check-in request notifications check box to enable

  3. Enter in Number of minutes prior to the appointment that the request will be sent

    1. Note: If you use a practice kiosk to check patients in, this time frame is when patients will appear to check in on the kiosk. If the Check In Request Notification feature is not enabled, patients will still only appear on the kiosk within this time frame.

  4. Select options for Patient Check-in (Mobile App only or Mobile App, Text, or Email)

  5. Select check box to enable the Require QR-code Scan

  6. Select check box to enable to automatically move appointment status to Here/Arrived in Practice Management Software when check in

    completed

  7. Hit Save at the bottom of this page to save the rules you have applied in the sections for the Automated Appointment Communications.

Click here to learn more about using the virtual check-in feature.


Upcoming Appointment Reminders

  1. From the Practice Setup tab in Engagement Settings, click on the Appointment Communication section

  2. Select the Appointment reminders check box to enable

  3. Enable up to four appointment reminders by selecting the Add reminder button

  4. Enter in the number of days, hours, or minutes before the appointment that the message will be sent

  5. Select Delivery Preference

  6. To delete existing Reminders click the Trash Can icon

  7. Hit Save at the bottom of this page to save the rules you have applied in the sections for the Automated Appointment Communications.

If a patient has multiple appointments scheduled to occur on the same day, the patient's reminder and confirmation will list all appointment start times. For example:

If Johnny is scheduled for hygiene then restorative as separate appointments on the same day, Johnny's confirmation and reminder will start with: "Johnny (8:00 AM), Johnny (9:00 AM), please respond with C to confirm your appointment."

Family Appointment Reminders

Patients who are listed as a Guarantor with dependent family member(s) will receive combined appointment reminder and confirmation communications as long as each family member's appointment starts within 1 hour of each other.

For example, patient Jenny Foster is listed as a Guardian with her two kids Sutton and Sage labeled as her dependents. Jenny is labeled as their Guarantor.

Jenny and her kids are scheduled for three appointments today. Because Jenny is the Guarantor, she is the only patient in this family who will receive this consolidated appointment reminder message:

"Sage (3:10 PM), Sutton (3:20 PM), Jenny (3:30 PM), just a reminder that you have an appointment with Perfect Dental today at 3:10 PM."

You can review the combined appointment reminder message in the Communication log of the patient card.

You can also review automatically sent messages in the Communication tab of Engagement. Just click on the Automatic section from the dropdown on the left side menu and apply the desired filters to populate sent messages.

If you would like to set up patients to receive independent appointment reminders (not combined), please contact Support (support@dentalintel.com).

Looking to learn even more about using Automated Communication in Engagement? Watch our Automated Communication Webinar below!

Keywords: Appointment reminders, confirmations

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