Letter function - Who else needs this improved?

Good communication with referrers is the best way to grow and maintain our business, and Letters are the main way we do this. Is anyone else finding the Letter section of Cliniko is letting them and their practice down? This is one of the functions most used by our practitioners, and the area of Cliniko that seems the weakest. Hence fixing this would be the single thing that would make the biggest difference to my practitioner’s daily work lives and general work satisfaction (no small thing when recruitment is so difficult at present).

Do other people agree that this is a huge priority?

In my opinion, for letters to be functional, we need:

  • Templates which include personal pronoun placeholders (he/she/them/they) which match the client info - this will ensure that these are correct and minimise manual input into templates.
  • Referrer details to be automatically inserted
  • The ability to do basic formatting: To Centre and Fully Justify text, to be able to view the whole page (Print view) and view page breaks for printing multiple-page letters and reports. I would also like to be able to insert bullet pointed lists and basic tables to summarise data/scores.
  • Being able to print or email a PDF copy of letters which include letterhead information (I would envisage this being similar to the “Create PDF” function in the Treatment Notes section of clinical, which works really well.
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I agree I end up copying and pasting into Word with my headed paper and saving as a PDF which is a faf. Also the ability to password protect it to email copies to comply with data protection.

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bit of a weird one but aren’t most of these features already in letters?

We have a letterhead template uploaded to Cliniko for our letters. I have several templates set up depending on the letter type or who the recipient will be.

You can insert the GP info but I think things could improve in this area. We have multiple specialists/referrers attached to patients but Cliniko only allows you to create a relationship with 1.

The ability to change some formatting alignments would be greatly appreciated though!

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Please Cliniko - listen to users and make this a priority. Have a look at what Coreplus offers and update your genuinely poor, out of date letter system. We spend so much time having to write letters, and the Cliniko system is unusable. I have to use Word (in 2021)!

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Hi Luke - ostensibly yes, but completely unusable, with no letterhead, no formatting, minimal options for inserting details (especially referrers), no customisation. Basically crap.

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Hi Luke, you are correct in some ways. I too have many letter templates in Cliniko. Regarding the referrer, you are correct in that the referrer details can populate, but this doesn’t always happen smoothly, and I think needs to be addressed to be smoother. This has been raised by other users.

The pronoun placeholders are definitely not there. What I mean by this is that in the letter templates there are other placeholders, such as name, but not pronouns. Therefore if I have the sentence " Thank you for referring Johnny, who is concerned about pain in his left ankle", using a template the name would insert automatically, but I would still need to go in and manually edit the pronoun to “his”. Given the frequency of using pronouns in language (most sentences), and that these don’t automatically change to match the client details (interestingly Cliniko asks for pronouns, but then doesn’t use this data field in any meaningful way), it greatly reduces the usefulness of having a template. My previous PMS had this placeholder, and it is just so useful and reduces time and errors.

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Hi Anne, I understand why you are using Word! The issue with that for me is that the Files section of the client file then becomes cluttered with items, and the Letters tab is empty!

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I agree with all of the above. Major drawback and cannot be hard to do.

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Yes, agreed, we copy and past into word as well. This is a major problem and one of the reasons we are looking at changing programs

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Not sure if I’m keeping up with the issue either.

Perhaps a list of referrers kept like the “expenses” log could be helpful and then link to these in letters template?

Our big one with letters is ability to paste pictures/drawings or change font would be helpful

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Some of the features are already in there. Here are some features that would help our practice.

One letter for multiple contacts so we can just CC referrers as opposed to creating a letter for each contact.

I like the pronoun feature request.

Having the ability to attach client files would be very helpful without having to collate outside of Cliniko. We want Cliniko to be our point of truth with what was sent.

Send via secure messaging like medical objects.

Metric report on the letters written as a % of total patients AND letters written as a % for new patients.

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Hey everyone! I just wanted you to know we are reading this (and all of the community posts in general). I know it looks like tumbleweeds from us a lot of the time, but we do appreciate your feedback - in fact, we rely on it to make Cliniko better.

It can be tricky for us to figure out how to contribute to a conversation like this. Ideally, we’d be able to say “we’re working on all of this stuff!”, and everyone would excitedly high-five each other, but the truth is that our resources are finite, and improvements to letters are not currently in the pipeline.

With that said, I’ve compiled a list of the most requested improvements - not just from this post, but from customer feedback in general - and presented it to the team for discussion. Even if we can’t do everything on the list, just a couple of them would make a huge difference.

The list is as follows:

  • Pronoun placeholders
  • Ability to align text: left, right, centre
  • Save draft
  • Autosave
  • Basic tables
  • Preview function
  • Insert images
  • Add attachments from file section
  • Support for hyperlinks
  • Ability to send to multiple contacts at once
  • CC / BCC option
  • Footers

Signatures on letters hasn’t been mentioned in this post, but is something we are actively working on (somebody please excitedly high-five me).

I’ve also linked the team to this conversation, so they can get more context around some of the requests, and in case you want to make extra suggestions.

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I really like your idea of Cliniko being the “point of truth” for what is sent out. Having one letter for multiple contacts would also be great. I also really like the idea of some metrics associated with letter writing.

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Thanks Martina, I really do think that just a couple from the list (pronoun placeholders, aligning txt, preview function and cc option) would be an enormous improvement!

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Not sure if you saw that Cliniko have recently said that the letter template is not something they’re working on and it’s not on their development plan.

This is the clincher for me - I’m moving to CorePlus. For those of you interested in a PM system that listens to it’s clients and actually provides the things clients ask for, maybe take the move as well?

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Hi Jem, I have seen this, but had a better conversation with someone else from Cliniko on the help chat recently. There are many things that I like about Cliniko, but like you, the letter issue is just about a deal-breaker. I plan to trial another PMS concurrently with Cliniko (probably Power Diary) in about a month’s time (when I have more time), and after using that for myself for a bit I will decide if I want to transfer the whole practice. I prefer not to do this, but given how often we use letters, we may move simply because someone else does it better.

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Hi Sally, I have the same plan - it’s an enormous pain transferring systems, so like you I’ll run it concurrently for me, and then transition the practice over if it works out. Like you, I need a better letter system - word is not a viable solution, and Cliniko is unusable. Coreplus also has secure message integration with their letter writing system - another big draw (and one that Cliniko has ignored/avoided).

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Thank you for acknowledging this Martina.
I have a couple of other requests to add to your list:

  • the option of dropping into the background an A4 letterhead template upon which the copy would sit. (We use Word to finalise the letter in part because we cannot sit our copy onto our base letterhead template. (Think the olden days where you would print from Word onto a pre-printed letterhead containing logo, graphics, business contact and practitioner details.)
  • formatting options like font choices (even just a couple including times new roman!) and better ability to manipulate paragraph spacing and tabbed lines.
  • definitely pronouns. The ability to choose a person’s pronouns in the patient details would make functional sense if it could be applied to the letters
  • the ability for the referring doctor details to be pulled in from a Case. Often the original referring GP is not the new Case referring GP but to get the correct details we need to change the original GP in the Patient Details settings.
    Would be great if this could be a priority. You do so much that is user friendly and generally fabulous - just add this to the list :wink:
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@martina thank you for replying, it’s good to know that posts are being read. Is there anything else we as Cliniko users can do to get Letters pushed higher up the priority list? (Petition Joel to get an extra staff member to work on this?!)

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Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you know that we have recently added pronoun placeholders for letters. Here’s our support guide that explains how it all works:

This is by no means the end of improvements to letters - the other ideas are still being worked on or in discussion.

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