Patient Messaging

Staying in touch with your patients in between visits is often essential. Checking in with them needs to be frictionless for your clinicians.

What you’ll learn #

In this guide, you will learn how to do the following:

  • Send messages to patients
  • Write patient messages to Canvas
  • Use Questionnaires to check in

Send messages to patients #

The messaging workflow in Canvas allows clinicians to generate an outbound message using free text or templates. Use the notification protocol below to know when a message has been created. The protocol below uses a FHIR call to read all of the attributes of the message created in Canvas so that you can deliver it to your patients and/or their authorized contacts.

import json
from canvas_workflow_kit.constants import CHANGE_TYPE
from canvas_workflow_kit.protocol import (STATUS_NOT_APPLICABLE,
from canvas_workflow_kit.utils import send_notification
import requests
from canvas_workflow_kit.fhir import FumageHelper

class MessageNotification(ClinicalQualityMeasure):
    class Meta:
        title = 'Message Notification'
        version = 'v0.0.1'
        description = 'Listens for message submission and sends a notification.'
        types = ['Notification']
        compute_on_change_types = [CHANGE_TYPE.MESSAGE]
        notification_only = True

    def get_fhir_communication(self, message_id):
        """ Given a Communication ID we can perform a FHIR Communication Search Request"""

        fhir = FumageHelper(self.settings)
        response ="Communication", {'_id:': message_id})

        if response.status_code != 200:
            raise Exception(f"Failed to retrieve FHIR Communicaton with {response.text} {response.headers}")

        return response.json()['entry'][0]['resource']

    def compute_results(self):
        result = ProtocolResult()
        result.status = STATUS_NOT_APPLICABLE

        if self.field_changes['model_name'] == 'messagetransmission':
            canvas_id = self.field_changes.get('fields', {}).get('message_id', None)
            if canvas_id:
                message = self.patient.messages.filter(id=canvas_id[1]).records
                if message:
                    message_id = message[-1]['externallyExposableId']
                    fhir_record = self.get_fhir_communication(message_id)
                    if fhir_record['sender']['reference'].startswith("Practitioner"):
                        # REPLACE this url with your server url which should receive these notifications
                            headers={'Content-Type': 'application/json'})

        return result

Write patient messages to Canvas #

Patient responses can be written to Canvas using the FHIR Communication Create endpoint. They can be assigned to a user through the recipient attribute using a practitioner ID. They will appear in the messages inbox in Canvas.

All users in Canvas have a practitioner ID, not just clinicians. By default the FHIR Practitioner Search endpoint will return clinician’s that can be scheduled, however, you can include the includes non-schedulable practitioners query param to return all staff members.

Use questionnaires to check in #

You may also want to use a simpler questionnaire to capture data points such as mood, anxiety level, or side effects on a more frequent basis. If you collect this data through your patient-facing application, the FHIR QuestionnaireResponse Create endpoint would allow you to write it to Canvas in a structured way that can be leveraged in reporting or used in protocols.