Send Batch Messages To Patients and Families

Use broadcast messaging in PCC EHR to send batches of messages to patients and families. You can use PCC’s Broadcast Messaging report, or customize any patient-based report, to create a patient list. PCC EHR will collect all contact information for the patient (emails and cellphones) and send the message to all of them.

Broadcast Messaging requires some initial setup before you can begin sending messages. Contact PCC Support to get started using Broadcast Messaging

Urgent Need Update: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the associated need for ongoing communication with your patients, PCC has added a broadcast messaging option to the Report Library. PCC has rapidly developed this new feature in response to urgent need. If you encounter any unexpected functionality, please contact PCC Support.

Watch a Video: You can learn how to use Broadcast Messaging in PCC EHR by watching the Send Broadcast Messages to Patients and Families video.

Send Broadcast Messages

Open the Report Library

Open the PCC EHR Report Library from the Reports menu.

Select the Broadcast Messaging Report or Other Patient-Based Report

Find and open the Broadcast Messaging report.

This new report is available in the Patient Recall category, and also can be found by searching “Broadcast Messaging” under the All Reports search.

Use Any Patient List Based Report: PCC built the Broadcast Messaging report for the purpose of sending batch messages to your patients and families. You can also use these features with any other report based on your patient list data in the PCC EHR Report Library, that includes all reports in the patient Recall category, with the exception of Overdue Vaccine Recall, Broadcast Message Log, and Broadcast Message Detail. Any custom report based on the Patient List can also be used to send Broadcast Messages.

Select Report Criteria

Adjust the report criteria options to find the patients and families you wish to contact.

Broadcast Messaging includes a range of criteria for narrowing down the list of patients included in your report. For example, exclude by patient or account flag to ensure that inactive or deceased patients aren’t contacted, or select by care center flag to limit the results to patients of one care center.

By default, the Broadcast Messaging report will include all patients who have been seen in the past three years, are not marked as deceased, and who are under 21 years old.

Run the Report and Review the Patient List

Once you’ve adjusted the criteria to meet your needs, run the report, and check that the resulting list includes the patients or number of patients you expect.

Export Your Results

Click the “Export” button at the bottom right of the results window.


Select One or More Sending Methods

You’ll see three options, PDF, CSV, or “Send message to patients via” with the option to choose a sending method.

Select one or both of the sending methods, SMS or Email.

Compose a Message

Write your message.

Text (SMS) messages are limited to 160 characters per message. The character count in the bottom right of the window shows how many characters you’ve used out of the 160.

If you select the email option, you will see a subject line for the email. There’s no character limit to emails, so you can write as much as you need.

If you select both the Text (SMS) and Email options, you will see both the Subject field and and character count. When you send both message types, you’re limited to 160 characters. Anything in the Subject field will appear as the subject line of the email and the first line of the text message.

Include Your Practice Information: Broadcast Messages are plain text, and include nothing more than what you type. Be sure to include your practice name, and, if necessary, contact information, so the recipients will know who the message is from. 

Send Your Message

When your message is complete, be sure to double check it, since there’s no going back after sending. When you’re happy with it, click send.

If you’ve chosen to send a message via text and email, the message will go out by both methods to the phone numbers and email addresses you selected in Practice Preferences to all accounts in your report result. Accounts may receive both an email and a text message.

Duplicate Email Address or Phone Numbers: If siblings or patients with shared custodian accounts appear in your search results, duplicate messages will not be sent. Only one message will be sent to each email address and phone number.

You’ll see a confirmation message, and you’ll be returned to the report results.


How Do I Get Started With Broadcast Messaging?

Broadcast Messaging will be available to all PCC clients after the PCC 8.12.10 update, coming to practices in April of 2020.

After your update, your practice can ask PCC to turn on Broadcast Messaging at your practice.

Next, your practice needs to assign limited permissions for broadcast messaging. Who at your practice will compose and send these messages? Broadcast Messaging is extremely powerful, and can send thousands of messages with just a few clicks.

Use the User Administration tool to add a new Role for Broadcast Messaging, and then assign that role to particular users at your practice.

Select Which Phone Numbers To Use For Broadcast Messaging

By default, Broadcast Messaging sends text (SMS) messages to all available phone numbers and email addresses in the patient’s home account, confidential communication preference, and patient portal information. If you prefer to limit which contact methods Broadcast Messaging uses, you can now select which fields should be included in the Practice Preferences menu.

Per-Message Costs of Broadcast Messaging

How much will it cost long term? PCC is still collecting information on per-message costs for broadcast messaging. We know that emails are fairly inexpensive–at around $0.10 per thousand messages. Text messages are far harder to predict, as different carriers charge different amounts and surcharges.

Free Through August, 2020: Broadcast Messaging is an optional feature that includes a small additional cost per text and email. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, PCC is covering the cost of all text and email messages sent through August of 2020. Pricing information will update as we learn more and continue to develop this feature. Please contact PCC Sales to discuss your options.

Who Will a Broadcast Message Be “From”? What If The Family Replies to the Message?

Email

When a patient or family member receives an email from Broadcast Messaging, the message will be from your practice, with an email address noreply@CLIENT.pcc.com, where “CLIENT” will be replaced with your acronym.

If they reply to that email, it will go to a “noreply” email account on your PCC system, in order to filter bounced emails.

Your practice can configure who will receive a copy of these noreply emails. For example, families might reply to your message with a request to be seen, even though it says “noreply”.

PCC Support can configure what email address will receive copies of email replies from parents and families.

Text (SMS) Messages

When a patient or family receives a Text (SMS) message, it will appear to be from a phone number with your practice’s local area code. PCC provisions these lines, creating one number per-practice or multi-practice group.

You can ask PCC Support for details about this phone number, and optionally share it with your patients and families so they can know the number the messages will come from.

If a family responds to that text message, the Broadcast Messaging service will ignore that text.

Unsubscribing

If a patient or family does not wish to receive Text (SMS) messages from your practice, responding “stop” or “unsubscribe” will prevent that number from receiving future texts. Likewise, each email sent via Broadcast Messaging includes an unsubscribe link, that will remove the recipient’s email address from future mailings. These addresses and numbers will be moved to your blacklist, and appear there in the Broadcast Messaging Log Report

If a patient or account has unsubscribed from Broadcast Messaging, and would like to receive your practice’s broadcast messages again, responding to a previous message with “unstop” will remove their number from the blacklist, and they’ll begin receiving your messages again.

Bounced Messages and Dead Phone Lines

PCC’s Broadcast Messaging service will automatically recognize when an email address fails, or a cell phone number fails. When that happens, PCC will automatically add that cell phone number or email address to a black out list so your practice does not send messages to disconnected numbers or emails.

Repeated messages to dead emails or cell phones can lead to your system being identified as a spam service. PCC has set up the blacklist feature to avoid this.

Broadcast Messaging Log

PCC EHR’s Report Library includes a Broadcast Messaging Log, which tracks all Broadcast Messages sent. You can review historical messages and see results of each batch of messages.

Broadcast Message Log is found in the Communication category and the Patient Recall category in the Report Library, and can be run for a range of dates and limited by user.

Results include the date and time of each message run, the user who sent the message, the message content, type and count of messages, both email and SMS, were attempted, how many were sent successfully, and how many failed.

Broadcast Messaging Details Report

The Broadcast Message Details report provides detailed results of a single broadcast message run. You’ll find it in the Patient Recall category.

The communication log criteria lists all previous Broadcast Message runs. Select one from the drop-down menu and click Generate to run the report and see the results of that run.

The results show the date and time of the run, each recipient, the patients associated with each email address or phone number, the status, and a blacklist column.

If an email or phone number is added to the blacklist, the Excluded from Future Broadcasts column indicates a reason why a contact method has been added. If a text message is sent to a landline, that number is added to the blacklist with the reason “Not Text Enabled”. “Validation Failed” indicates an email address that is invalid or no longer exists.

Review Replies with the Inbound Messages Report

When a recipient of a Broadcast Message replies via email or text, you can review those replies in the Inbound Message report in the Report Library’s Communication category.

Here you’ll see all replies, including automatic responses from emails, and direct replies from users. You can use these results to keep your user’s contact information updated, or follow-up with users who need additional help or answers.

  • Last modified: May 29, 2020