July 17, 2019

Two important goals of a growing dental practice should be to increase appointment attendance and maintain patient loyalty. One of the best ways to accomplish these goals is to keep in touch using patient-preferred communication technologies such as text and email. Automated appointment communications are included with your Dentrix Ascend subscription and are configured by you. So what happens if you start receiving complaints from patients about getting appointment reminder texts in the middle of the night? Check your configuration.

Schedule Reminders
Schedule reminders are reminders for patients to schedule their recare when they did not schedule their next appointment during checkout. The reminders can be sent before the due date or after the due date has passed.

Schedule reminders are sent out based on the due date and depend on the specified number of days before or after the due date. These options are configured in the Notification Schedule portion of the editor:

Ascend uploads and queues these messages the day that they are supposed to be sent. Recare reminders are always sent during business hours as configured in your Location Hours settings. For example, if the recare due date is 7/10/2019 and you want to send the reminder five days before the due date, then these reminders will be sent on 7/05 during business hours. If your practice is closed (has no hours defined), for example on Saturday and Sunday, the reminder will wait and be delivered when you are next open.

Appointment Reminders
Appointment reminders, on the other hand, are sent out based on the time of the appointment. For example, if you want a reminder to be sent out one day before the appointment, and the appointment is at 2:00 p.m., then the appointment reminder will be sent out at 2:00 p.m. the day before.

The only way to get yourself into trouble is if you set up reminders to be sent out an unusual number of hours before the appointment. Do the math. For example, if you set up the reminder to go out 12 hours before the appointment, and the appointment is at 12:00 p.m. (noon), then the appointment reminder will be sent at 12:00 a.m. (midnight). Don’t do that!

Additional Information

  • There are multiple triggers to choose from when configuring the notification schedule, depending on the reason you are sending the message. You must choose one when setting up a reminder.
  • Depending on your choice, the relative time selections might be hours, days, weeks, or months.