In this article:
Gentu's SMS messaging system not only allows you to send SMS messages directly to patients, but can also send automatic SMS appointment reminders to your patients to remind them of upcoming appointments.
- In this page, ad hoc SMS messages is the term used to describe sending a once-off message directly to an individual patient.
- Automated SMS appointment reminders is the term used to describe Gentu's automatic sending of messages to remind patients of an upcoming appointment.
Please see our dedicated SMS Settings & Message Template article for information on enabling and configuring SMS messages in Gentu.
Once you have enabled Automated SMS Appointment Reminders in Settings, Gentu will automatically send an SMS appointment reminder to patients who have a valid mobile phone number recorded in Patient Details.
The SMS reminder message will be sent as scheduled in your SMS Settings - from 1 to 7 business days prior to the patient's appointment.
Gentu will begin trying to send messages at 9:00 AM, and will continue to check for new appointments that require a message to be sent every 15 minutes until 5:00 PM.
Please note: All text messages are sent unencrypted. Genie Solutions does not recommend sending sensitive or identifiable information via SMS mesaging.
From the Day view of the Appointment Book, you will be able to see an indication that a patient had an automated SMS appointment reminder sent.
The appointment will display Awaiting Reply when the message is first sent.
When the patient responds, the message will update. (Note: this behaviour does not apply to ad hoc SMS messaging.)
Note: You will need to refresh the appointment book for new responses to be retrieved and displayed against the appointment.
Appointments which have had an automatic SMS reminder sent will also display a status icon in the top right corner.
Appointment reminder sent and awaiting response.
- This will occur if the patient responds with Yes or Y.
- This is based on first reply received, and will not change if patient later responds with a different reply.
- If the patient's response is a confirmation but includes additional words or emojis, this will not automatically confirm the appointment.
Any response that is not a confirmation, including No or N.
Message failed to send.
- Opening the SMS History will elaborate on why this may have occurred.
- Messages will attempt to resend every five minutes (up to 5 times) before failing and presenting this icon.
- If the cause of the failure is due to insufficient SMS credits, these messages will be queued to attempt sending again when new credits are purchased, unless the appointment is scheduled for today's date or a date that has since passed.
If you have turned off the Send SMS Appointment Reminders option in your settings, you will not be able to see the SMS appointment reminders in your appointment book.
This will remove all past and future reminders from display, however these will re-appear if you turn the setting back on, and will remain available in the SMS History for the patient.
Once you have enabled SMS Messaging in Settings > SMS Settings, you can send an ad hoc SMS message directly to a patient. This can be performed through the Appointment Book or through the Patient Details window.
- Select the patient's appointment.
- Click the SMS button.
Note that ad hoc SMS messages sent from an appointment will not appear on the patient's appointment, unlike automated SMS appointment reminders.
- Open Patient Details
- Click the SMS button to the right of the patient's mobile phone number.
Clicking the SMS button will open the patient's SMS History, allowing you to type an ad hoc message into the input box at the bottom of this window. You can view how many SMS credits the message will used for an ad hoc message beneath the input box.
- Ad hoc SMS messages will be sent as soon as the SEND button is clicked.
- You may need to scroll down to view newly sent messages.
- If an ad hoc SMS messages fails to send due to insufficient credits, these messages will be entered into a queue and will be sent when credits are available.
Please note: All text messages are sent unencrypted. Genie Solutions does not recommend sending personal information via SMS.
If a patient has previously received an ad hoc or reminder SMS, this will be captured in their SMS history.
You can view a patient's SMS history by:
- Opening an appointment for that patient and clicking the SMS button, or
- Clicking the SMS button in Patient Details screen.
The SMS history window is displayed in a conversation-style thread, with older messages at the top of the window and more recent ones at the bottom.
- Messages from your practice will appear on the right side of this window in a teal bubble.
- Messages from the patient will appear on the left side of the window in a grey bubble.
Every message in the SMS History will display a timestamp to indicate when it was sent.
If the message was sent today, there will not be a date against the message, only a timestamp.
Messages sent yesterday will show the timestamp and the word Yesterday, and older messages will include a date.
If the message was sent automatically, the message will be marked with the words Appointment Reminder before the date and timestamp.
|Older SMS (Automatic)|
If you have disabled the Enable SMS option in your settings, you will not see the new message input box in the SMS history.
The window will also have a blue notice at the top of the window to advise that Ad hoc SMS is not enabled, however all SMS history will remain present.
Gentu allows you to send an SMS to patients in bulk from the Patient List. For instructions on using this feature, please see our Bulk SMS Communication page.
> What kinds of bookings will Gentu send automated SMS reminders for?
Gentu will only send SMS reminders for Appointments. It will not send SMS reminders for procedures. Gentu does not support SMS messages for recalls at the present time, but these can be sent using Ad Hoc SMS.
> Can I print a report showing all SMS reminders sent to my patients?
Yes, you can do so by selecting Print > SMS Report from the Appointment Book. For more information, see Appointment Book Reports.
Please note that you will need to have enabled Automated SMS Reminders in order to view the Print > SMS Report option.
> What if a patient doesn't have a mobile phone number recorded?
If the patient has no mobile phone number recorded, Gentu will not send them an automated SMS reminder message for their appointment. It will also not be possible to send an ad hoc message to this patient.
> How can I change the content of the SMS appointment reminder message that patients receive?
Please see the SMS Settings & Message Template article for more information on changing your SMS reminder message.
> What if I don't have enough credits to send automated SMS appointment reminders to every patient with an appointment booked?
If you do not have enough credits to send a message to every patient for a particular day, Gentu will send as many SMS messages as it can (in sequential order by appointment time).
Once all credits have been used, Gentu will stop sending SMS messages and will display the error text Insufficient SMS credits on the appointment booking itself.
Gentu will resend any pending messages as soon as SMS credits are available to do so, unless the appointment is in the past.
> How do I know if I have run out of credits?
You can check your credit balance at any time by navigating to Settings > SMS Credits. This window will display the number of credits remaining as of a certain date and time, and reloading the page will update these details, ensuring you can always remain informed about your credit balance.
> Gentu is telling me "The phone number you have entered is not valid". What do I do?
Gentu will present you with this error message if the patient's phone number was entered incorrectly, such as having too few characters. Gentu expects the phone number to be 10 digits only.
It is not necessary to add the country code - for this reason it is also not possible to send an SMS message to a non-Australian mobile phone number.
It may also be that the patient's phone number has been copied in to Gentu from another source. This can cause invisible characters to be saved alongside the phone number and can cause this error. Please carefully re-type the patient's phone number, save, and try again.
> My patient/s did not receive their automated SMS appointment reminder message. Why not?
There are a few reasons that could explain why a patient might not receive their SMS appointment reminder message:
- The patient's mobile number isn't recorded correctly or contains invalid characters.
- The patient has the Do not SMS checkbox ticked within Patient Details.
- The patient's appointment as a status applied, and you have chosen in Settings > Appointment SMS Reminders to not send reminders when a status is applied.
- The patient is booked in for a Procedure (rather than an Appointment).
- The patient's mobile phone service provider is experiencing outages.
A good thing to do is to check if you can see the patient's name in the SMS Report. If you cannot see the patient's name in the SMS Report, it means that Gentu has not sent a message out to that patient.
If you are unsure, please contact Gentu Support for further assistance.
> I booked an appointment after the cut-off date for the reminder to be sent. Will they still receive a reminder?
In short, yes.
Within the period leading up to a certain date Gentu will retrospectively check to ensure that all eligible appointments have had a reminder sent for them. This will depend on the numbers of days Gentu has been set to send SMS Appointments prior to an appointment, as specified in Settings > Appointment SMS Reminders.
If it finds any appointments without an SMS already sent; and the patient is not marked as Do Not SMS, it will send a reminder for that appointment.
> I have moved or changed a patient's appointment. Will they still receive a reminder?
In short, yes.
The patient will receive a reminder for their new appointment as per the scheduled time set in your Appointment SMS Reminder settings.
However, please note that moving an appointment will not change its status. For this reason if you do move an appointment, we recommend changing the status back to None.
> Why has a patient reported receiving more than one SMS reminder?
This can most often occur if a detail has been updated on the patient's appointment, and your Appointment SMS Reminder settings are set to send a message whenever there is no status. For this reason, any updates to the appointment, such as the location, can trigger a new SMS Reminder to be sent to the patient.
> Why has a patient received a reminder for an appointment I can't see in the Appointment Book>
This can occur if you have removed a user from the Appointment Book without first deleting the Appointments. If you open the patient's record, you can select the Appointments page to identify any appointments that may have been hidden from view.
To rectify this, navigate to Settings > User Columns and tick all users. You can then view the appointment book to try and locate any appointments that may remain for these users. Once you have removed these appointments, you can remove the users from the Appointment Book again.