Patient appointment cancellation emails

Automatically notify patients when their appointments are cancelled.

Rachel Harkness avatar
Written by Rachel Harkness
Updated over a week ago

Similar to appointment confirmation emails, you can notify patients of any cancelled appointments! These will function very much the same to confirmation emails, with the difference being that they go out when an appointment is cancelled (not created).

There are a few things you'll need to do in order to send appointment cancellation emails. Here is a video guide to get you started:

First, you'll want to create unique templates that will match all your different appointment appointment types. For the sake of ease in this guide, we'll be working with just one cancellation template—as it won't matter what appointment type the patient had originally booked; the cancellation email is purely meant to inform them that the cancellation has taken place. It's up to you if you'd like to create multiple cancellation templates for different appointment types, but in this guide, we'll only be working with one template.

Second, you'll want be sure to link your templates to your appointment types—this will ensure that each appointment sends out a cancellation email.

In this article, we'll walk you through:

Read on for the details on setting up cancellation emails!

Creating appointment cancellation email templates

Head to Settings, and then Appointment cancellations:

You'll be able to create a new cancellation template, or use the default "standard cancellation notice" that's included in your account:

You'll then be able to set up your unique appointment cancellation template! Below, we'll tell you a bit more about how these work.

Understanding appointment cancellation templates

First, be sure to set up a template name! This will be important when it comes to relating this template to an appointment type.

Then, be sure to set up an email subject—this is what the patient will see in their inbox.

Finally, the email content can be modified to your liking (Cliniko gives you some default text, but you can edit it if you'd like):

Understanding the email content editor

When you're crafting the content for your appointment cancellations, we recommend you take advantage of "placeholders"—these are the menu items in all capital letters across the top of the email content editor:

What the placeholders do is "pull" applicable content in to the appointment cancellation email. Using the {{Patient.FirstName}} placeholder will automatically result in the cancellation email showing the first name of the patient that gets it. Cliniko is pretty smart, and it knows who has an appointment, and when, and where—so the placeholders simply tell Cliniko which information to put in the cancellations!

You're also able to click the View sample button at the bottom of the editor to get a general idea of what your appointment cancellation emails will look like.

Once you have the cancellation templates set up, the next step will be to link them to your appointment types.

Linking cancellation templates to appointment types

Now that your templates are set up, you'll be able to link them to each appointment type. To do this, head to Settings, and then Appointment types:

Select the relevant appointment type from your list:

Below the "colour picker" on the appointment type page, you'll see the option to select a template for reminders, confirmations, or cancellations. Select Booking cancellation email:

The options that show up will be based on the templates you set up in step one:

If you don't see what you're after, we recommend double-checking that the template has indeed been set up as a cancellation template, and not a reminder or confirmation template.

Things to keep in mind

  • If None is selected, it means no cancellation email will be sent whatsoever for this appointment type.

  • Cancellations will only ever be emailed. There isn't currently an SMS cancellation setting within Cliniko.

  • Patients will only get cancellation emails if they have an email address on file, and don't have a custom communication preference set up to specifically not receive cancellation emails.

  • By default, every patient who is set to receive confirmation e-mails will also be set to receive cancellation e-mails.

  • New appointment types do not have a default cancellation template set-up. You'll need to edit your appointment type settings to assign a template.

  • Cancellation emails will go out immediately after an appointment is cancelled, regardless of who cancelled it (the patient, or a member of your staff).

If you want to also send your patients reminders of their upcoming appointments, you can set up email or SMS reminders! We talk about SMS reminders here, and email reminders here. To learn about setting up confirmation emails for newly booked appointments, head here.

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