Patient Letters

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Introduction

Most practices need to be able to create documents for communicating with patients.

EXACT simplifies the procedure by means of default Letter Templates that are provided for typical communications such as appointment reminders, overdue fees, sales events and clinic closure.

For example:

Letter templates contain merge fields that cause the software to automatically insert data from EXACT's records into any letters that the practice generates from a template.

Examples:

 

Important for automation

Templates and merge fields enable the automation of communications with little or no intervention by practice personnel.

Document Details window:

 

Complete the following fields (as appropriate) to create the document:

 

Provider: Click in the field and use the selectors to select a Provider under whose name the document will be written.

Note: If you are logged in as a Provider, your Provider Code will appear here by default, and if the patient has a Provider assigned, that Provider will display by default. 

 

 

Specialist: Click in the field and use the selectors to select a Specialist under whose name the document will be written.

 

Category: This defaults to Admin Document but you can select an alternative type from the list.

Click the ‘Select’ button to display the View Contact Categories window, where you can Add, Edit and Delete categories:

There is no limit to the number of Categories that you can create.

These Categories are significant in the Patient File Contacts tab (as indicated below), where contacts can be displayed/sorted by the Category. Note also how the template Description field is shown under the Description column:

 

Description: Type a description for the document content. This will be displayed in the list of contacts.

 

Document Templates pane:

 

 

Templates: These can be Standard (delivered with the software), created/customised and/or imported.

EasyPost templates display the EasyPost icon:

Arrange templates by dragging them into folders templates into folders.
Hover your mouse cursor over a template to display an Edit and a Delete button.
Use the +1 button at the bottom of the screen to add templates by means of the Create Template screen.

Edit button:

This opens the RTF format document for editing using Microsoft Word (or the Presentation Manager window, if it is enabled). A Merge Fields selector overlays the document, enabling you to conveniently insert merge fields into the content. For details on editing, see Creating a New Template.

 

Categories: Use these as a means of rationally arranging templates (drag templates into folders).

Create any number of Categories.

Hover your mouse cursor over a category to display a Delete button.

Add categories from three locations in the Document Details screen - see points 4, 9, 10.

You can also select and add Categories from the Create Template screen.

 

Preview of the selected template.

 

Add new category button:

 

+1 button opens the Create Template window. See Creating a New Template.

 

Print: Print the selected letter template for this patient.

 

EasyPost: Click to send the template to EasyPost (populated with the selected patient's details) for third party printing, addressing and posting (requires the EasyPost module and Presentation Manager).

 

Preview: Without Presentation Manager this will pop up the template document for viewing.

With Presentation Manager, this displays the document preview at right, with merge fields populated with sample patient details:

 

 

Cancel button: Cancel the document details and close the window.



Create a Patient Letter / Document

Multiple launch points for creating patient letters

Open the Document Details window from the Create a Patient Document button in multiple locations in EXACT, including:

  • The Patient File Tool Bar:

    - or -

  • The Contact List:

     

Create from multiple locations

Patient letters can be created from multiple locations such as the patient file, recalls or contact lists by clicking on the Create a Patient document button wherever it is visible.

Patient Contacts tab lists letters

If EXDOC is installed these letter contacts are automatically stored on the patient’s Contacts tab and can be viewed and/or edited by double-clicking on the required letter.
NOTE: Without EXDOC the letter symbol will indicate the creation of a letter, but the actual letter itself will need to be either saved manually on one of the practice's computers or printed in duplicate and the copy held on file.

Letter templates

Letter Templates are used when writing letters. These templates contain the standard layout and wording common to all letters of the same purpose, and merge fields that are automatically resolved with actual data when the letter is processed. For example, all referral letters will contain merge fields for basic information about the patient such as name and date of birth, and may begin with a first sentence of ‘Thank you for seeing…’

See also:
Portal blog and video: Creating letter templates

To contact by Letter

  1. Select the Create a Patient document button

  2. Complete details in the Contact by Letter screen:

     

    Select the type of letter: Create either a single letter to the selected patient or multiple letters to patients within the contact list.

    Select Group by Family if there are several members of the same family, and you want to send one letter for the family.

    You have the checkbox option to Tick as complete when printed. If you check this box, EXACT will remove each patient from the contact list when the letter for that patient is printed, leaving only patients on the list with unprinted letters.

    With this unchecked the patient is not marked as Complete on the contact list until further manual action is taken. In other words, leave the checkbox unchecked if you want a reminder to take further action.

  3. Select OK.

    A Contact Multiple Patients window will appear:

     



  4. With these fields appropriately configured, select OK.

    The Document Details window displays, as described below.

    If you have Presentation Manager enabled, the Document Details window will have a preview window and slightly different fields.

    The Document Details window enables you to write to the patient as well as create/modify the Letter Templates that are the basis of the individual letters written.

    Letter Templates can include merge fields. These are placeholders for patient, provider, specialist, practice and other details that can be inserted directly into a letter from EXACT, which are replaced with actual data when the letter is processed.

    Document Details window:

     

     

    Complete the following fields (as appropriate) to create the document:

 

Provider: Click in the field and use the selectors to select a Provider under whose name the document will be written.

Note: If you are logged in as a Provider, your Provider Code will appear here by default, and if the patient has a Provider assigned, that Provider will display by default.

 

Specialist: Click in the field and use the selectors to select a Specialist under whose name the document will be written.

 

Category: This defaults to Admin Document but you can select an alternative type from the list.

Click Select button to display the View Contact Categories window, where you can Add, Edit and Delete categories:

There is no limit to the number of Categories that you can create.

These Categories are significant in the Patient File Contacts tab (as indicated below), where contacts can be displayed/sorted by the Category. Note also how the template Description field is shown under the Description column:

 

 

Description: Type a description for the document content. This will be displayed in the list of contacts.

 

Document Templates pane:

 

Templates: These can be Standard (delivered with the software), created/customised and/or imported.

EasyPost templates display the EasyPost icon:

Arrange templates by dragging them into folders templates into folders.
Hover your mouse cursor over a template to display an Edit and a Delete button.
Use the +1 button at the bottom of the screen to add templates by means of the Create Template screen.

Edit button:

This opens the RTF format document for editing using Microsoft Word (or the Presentation Manager window, if it is enabled). A Merge Fields selector overlays the document, enabling you to conveniently insert merge fields into the content. For details on editing, see Creating a New Template.

 

Categories: Use these as a means of rationally arranging templates (drag templates into folders).

Create any number of Categories.

Hover your mouse cursor over a category to display a Delete button.

Add categories from three locations in the Document Details screen - see points 4, 9, 10.

You can also select and add Categories from the Create Template screen.

 

Preview of the selected template.

 

Add new category button:

 

+1 button opens the Create Template window. See Creating a New Template.

 

Print: Print the selected letter template for this patient.

 

EasyPost: Click to send the template to EasyPost (populated with the selected patient's details) for third party printing, addressing and posting (requires the EasyPost module and Presentation Manager).

 

Preview: Without Presentation Manager this will pop up the template document for viewing.

With Presentation Manager, this displays the document preview at right, with merge fields populated with sample patient details:

 

Cancel button: Cancel the document details and close the window.



Templates for Letters, Postcards and other Documents

A practice can create additional letter / postcard and other document templates for use with the patient letter feature within EXACT.
These should have the appropriate layout and text for their purpose and contain merge fields that will be auto-populated by data from within EXACT when the letter is created.
Note that you are still able to view, edit and amend letters and other correspondence before they are sent.

Creating a Letter Template

Portal blog and video: Creating letter templates

To create a new template

  1. Open the Document Details screen.

  2. Click the Add button:

     

    The Create Template screen displays, with default (locked) Standard Templates listed. You have to base any New template on a standard template, so it is essential to select a starting template.

    IMPORTANT: For EasyPost you must select an EasyPost template as these have the address labels set up for EasyPost.

     

  3. In the Create Template window:

     

    TIPS:
    - To quickly locate a known template: Select any template then type the starting-letter of the known template to immediately jump to the next template starting with that letter. Keep typing to cycle through all templates starting with that letter.
    - Select the Import Templates button to browse for and then import saved templates.

  4. Click the Create and Edit template button:

    This opens the standard means of creating / editing templates from an MSWord RTF document.

     

    To change this template to a Non-EasyPost template (and remove the non-editable blue address block)

    Simply click the Remove EasyPost Support button at top left in the Merge Fields tab:

    (You will only see this if you have your Presentation Manager in PINNED mode)


    To select a Merge Field:

     

  5. Save and close this template when completed. NOTE: You may need to close and re-open the Document Details window to see a preview of the updated template.

  6. At any time you can re-open it for editing by double-clicking the template in the Document Details screen list.

Testing a New Letter Template

  1. Using a test patient, click the Create a Patient Document button

     

  2. When the Document Details screen displays,

    • Select the Provider who will send the letter.

    • Type a Description for the letter.

    • Click Preview and ensure that it has inserted the appropriate information and that it reads correctly. If any changes are required, make a note of them.

To test a letter template by means of Presentation Manager (EasyPost applies)

(Requires Presentation Manager. Presentation Manager is a prerequisite for EasyPost, so this applies if you have EasyPost)

  1. Using a test patient, click the Create a Patient Document button

     

     

  2. When the Document Details screen displays,

    • Select the Provider that the letter will be from.

    • Type a Description for the letter.

    • Click Preview to display a preview on the right of the screen with merge fields populated.

    • Ensure that the letter has inserted the appropriate information and that it reads correctly. If any changes are required, make a note of them.

To check the Test Template's results

If information is missing or incorrect, check the following:

  • Did the patient file you used for testing contain the missing information?
    For example, a birth date was required in the letter; was one present in the patient file?

  • If the test document contains a space where the merge field data should have appeared, this is usually an indication the data is missing from the record.
    However, if instead the text of the merge field itself appears in the document, this indicates the merge field is invalid or incorrect.

  • Check all your square brackets are present [ ]

  • Check for a missing full stop [patient.lastname] between terms in the field.

  • Did you remember to format the letter (e.g. spaces, line returns, fonts etc)?

  • Sometimes, a merge field will not work correctly if copied into the document using “cut and paste”.
    Try typing the merge field in manually then repeat the test.

  • If you are unable to correct a problem, contact the Support Desk for assistance.



Merge Fields in EXACT

Merge fields are a powerful EXACT feature, enabling users to automate the creation of multiple letters and emails from templates.
This section provides an explanation and procedures.

Understanding Merge Fields in EXACT

EXACT makes available a set of standard merge fields in a floating Letter Merge Fields window:

 



This window will remain open until you click the X button in the top right-hand corner, or right-click the window and select 'Close'.

You can 'park' the window in a place on the screen where it is not in the way of your work, and resize it by dragging any of the borders with the mouse cursor.

These merge fields are like reusable placeholders that you insert in your letter templates.

When you create a letter from a particular template, EXACT populates the letter's merge fields from its database. You do not need to manually find and enter each piece of information for each individual letter or email message.

For example, instead of typing "Mr Peter Jones", you could have these merge fields in the letter template:

[patient.title] [patient.firstname] [patient.lastname]

When you create the letter/s for printing or emailing, EXACT extracts these fields from its database and automatically populates the letter content. One of the letters may be to a Mr Peter Jones, but you may well have specified a range of a few hundred patients, and with just a few clicks generated a custom letter for each of them.

Merge fields document formatting
Treat the merge fields as you would any other text in the document, using normal punctuation and formatting.
For example, insert single spaces between each merge field: [patient.title] [patient.firstname] [patient.lastname]
Or if you want just the patient's last name to be bold: [patient.title] [patient.firstname] [patient.lastname].

Who can access the merge fields?
The list of fields available can be viewed by someone with appropriate security, such as the Practice Administrator.

Where are the merge fields accessible?
Configure Menu > Practice Settings, then click the View Merge Fields button.

The ‘View Merge Fields’ button is also accessible:

  • When an existing letter template is edited, or a new letter template is created

  • When an email template is created or edited.

Using Merge Fields in EXACT

To select merge fields from the floating Merge Fields popup window

Use standard Windows selection controls:

  • To select one merge field, simply click it.

  • To select a block of merge fields, select the first field you require, press ‘Shift’ then click the last field you require.

  • To select several non-adjacent fields, hold down the 'Ctrl' key then click each field you require with the mouse.

When the Letter Merge Fields window is no longer required, click X to close it.

To copy selected merge fields from the floating popup window into the template document

Copy fields from the Letter Merge Fields popup window into Word using the clipboard.


To filter the list of merge fields by group

EXACT has a long list of merge fields. For ease of use you can filter this list according to subset (group) by means of a button at the bottom of the Letter Merge Fields window:

For example, these are just appointment related merge fields:

 

Using Date Merge Fields in documents

There are many date merge fields in EXACT such the current date, patient next appointment date, patient dentist recall date, etc.

Each date field can have ‘options’ applied to it to give you the desired formatting in your letters or emails.

Below are the possible date options:

Type in Template

Displayed in Letter

[general.date]

29/07/12

[general.date:OPT=DOWONLY]

Wed

[general.date:OPT=DOWONLY,FULL]

Wednesday

[general.date:OPT=DAYONLY]

29

[general.date:OPT=DAYONLY,FULL]

29th

[general.date:OPT=MONTHONLY]

Jul

[general.date:OPT=MONTHONLY,FULL]

July

[general.date:OPT=YEARONLY]

00

[general.date:OPT=YEARONLY,FULL]

2012


You can use more than one date option in your letter to give you the desired result as shown below:

[general.date:OPT=DAYONLY,FULL] [general.date:OPT=MONTHONLY,FULL] [general.date:OPT=YEARONLY,FULL]

Note that if you are using Presentation Manager, the options above are not valid. You will instead be given the choice of some standard date format options, which you can customise as required in Word.
This will display as (e.g.) 29th July 2012

Writing to Specialists

EXACT includes a Specialist File (File Menu > Specialists). This is an address book of all the specialists to whom the practice refers patients.

  1. Specialist details can be included in a letter by selecting a specialist in the Document Details window:

     

  2. Click the Specialist field, then select the appropriate code from the list, either by scrolling through the list using the ‘Arrow’ buttons, or select from the ‘View Specialist’ window by clicking the 'select' list button

  3. In the Letter Templates field you will need to select the appropriate template containing specialist information and fields.