Messaging patients in the Smart Inbox

You can reply to patients directly from the Smart Inbox

Laura Perring avatar
Written by Laura Perring
Updated over a week ago

This article covers:

Messaging in the Smart Inbox

In the Smart Inbox, your practice has the ability to respond directly to your patients after an eConsult. To make this as easy as possible, we have built the messaging panel at the bottom of the consultation view.

Clicking into this messaging panel will expand the messaging view and allow you to use the full range of response options available.

This includes deciding if you will reply with an email or SMS message, in the top right corner of the messaging panel. You can reply to the email or mobile number provided within the eConsult (patient or proxy), or add new contact details if relevant (e.g. from the patient’s clinical record).

New Message

To send messages to patients who have not submitted an eConsult directly you can use the New Message feature. To send messages to patients who have not submitted an eConsult directly you can use the New Message feature. To send the messages from the Smart Inbox simply click on the plus button in the top right corner and then press New Message. You can send emails or SMS messages, use templates and allow patients to reply

Please note that this feature does not currently support interoperability, but we are actively working on adding this capability in the near future. You will therefore need to either download or copy and paste the message into the clinical system as a record.

Once you've sent a message, it will be shown under either the Awaiting Response folder in the Clinical or Admin section if you selected a two way message or in the Completed folder.

If you enable allow patient to reply once to your message, their responses will also be found in the New Response folder.

Email replies from the Smart Inbox

Email replies to an eConsult are the default response option, and the default email address will be the email that the patient entered when they submitted their eConsult.

If you want to send the email to a different address, simply select Add new email and enter in the email address.

Adding attachments to your email from the Smart Inbox

To add an attachment to your email, click the attachment icon to add any of the following file types: .pdf, .docx, .jpg, .png, .jpeg, .rtf, .doc, or .txt.

Currently, you can only attach one file to an email with a maximum file size of 8MB.

If you accidentally add the incorrect file, simply press the cross at the end of the file in the message box to remove it.

You can discard an unsent message at any time by clicking on the ‘Cancel’ option within the messaging panel.

When you send a message confirmation for a sent message will pop up in the lower-left corner of the Smart Inbox, it will also appear above the eConsult.

SMS replies from the Smart Inbox

You can also send patients an SMS following an eConsult. The phone number will default to the one on their eConsult, but you can also send an SMS to another number by clicking on the Add new number.

At the moment you cannot send attachments via SMS. SMS also has a strict 1,000-character limit and a fair usage policy, which may mean that overuse could cost your practice. Get in touch with your Account Manager if you have any questions.

Once sent confirmation of the message being sent will pop up in the lower-left corner of the Smart Inbox.

Templated responses from the Smart Inbox

To help with practice efficiencies and allow you to respond as quickly as possible we have created some templated responses that you use. These can be accessed from the the top left corner of the messaging panel, by selecting the Templates icon to see a full list of pre-created response templates. Users can amend the messages before sending and see below for adding your own templates.

Custom SMS/email templates

Users can add their own personal and shared templates to the Smart Inbox allowing you to reply even quicker with templates that are personalised to your practice or eHub. To create a canned response simply enter the message into the response box and press Save as template naming the templates for future use.

To access previously created templates, press the Templates icon in the top left corner of the messaging panel. You can select from personal, shared, or public templates. Please see our guide here on managing custom templates.

Two-way messages from the Smart Inbox

You can allow patients to reply to your email or SMS from the Smart Inbox by using the Allow patient to reply once toggle in the messaging panel. Once a message has been sent to the patient that includes this option, the eConsult’s status will default to Awaiting Response.

This feature will create a unique, one-time use link that is sent to the patient, which allows them to complete a ‘response template’. The response template allows them to supply additional information and attach photos only once and within 7 days of receiving the message.

Any submissions to the Patient Response Template will be shown in the thread for the original eConsult, as well as in a new folder on the left-hand side of the Smart Inbox called New response.

For example, below is the response template that the patient completed at the request of the practice (at the top). Just below the response is the text that the practice sent to the patient where they requested additional information, in this case, photos of the patient's acne.

Note that at the moment if an eConsult has been submitted on behalf of a patient under 16 years old, the proxy will need to enter their date of birth and not that of the patient. This will change in the future.

Viewing sent messages in the Smart Inbox

Any sent message will be displayed at the top of the eConsult - this gives you quick visibility of the latest updates regarding the patient’s consultation.

Successfully delivered or failed messages will be marked as such.

Failed Messages

Any messages via SMS or email that failed to send will appear in the Failed response folder awaiting action by the practice staff. For more information see here.

Saving the messages from the Smart Inbox into EMIS or SystmOne

Messages that are sent using the EMIS or SystmOne integrated toolbar are saved individually into the patients record. For messages sent via the browser please see below for the guide.

Users using the SystmOne or EMIS integrated toolbar are able to save messages into the patients record by simply pressing Save to record. You'll first need to ensure that you have matched the patient for more information see here. Once saved this will be displayed in the clinical system as a separate record from the eConsult PDF and ICE data along with being coded as either an email or SMS.

Exporting messages from the Smart Inbox into PDF

Any messages that you send to the patient from the Smart Inbox will also be included in the PDF generated when you click the 'Export as PDF' button. If further messages are sent after the point the PDF is generated these will not be included in the generated PDF, however, a new exported PDF can be generated.


Will my sent messages be saved to the patient record?

At the moment you are able to 'Export as PDF' the eConsult and this includes any messages sent to the patient at the point that the PDF is generated. Users can also copy the message and paste it directly into the clinical system. When using the SystmOne and EMIS interop in the Smart Inbox, you can save the messages quickly into the patient record.

Can the sender ID of an SMS message be changed?

The SMS message sent to the patient will default as being sent from ‘eConsult’. It is not possible to change this. Patients cannot reply to an SMS message, unless you have selected the ‘Allow patient to reply once’ toggle in the messaging panel. Patients can then use the one-time link provided in their message to send more information to the practice.

If you have any questions or you feel that this article could be improved, please feel free to give us some feedback by emailing us, pressing the emojis below or using the chat button on the bottom right-hand side of this page to speak to one of the eConsult team.

Did this answer your question?