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Automatically route inbound patient messages
Automatically route inbound patient messages
How to have inbound patient messages automatically routed by reason and location
Paige Leeman avatar
Written by Paige Leeman
Updated over a week ago

By default, all inbound messages from patients go to an “Unassigned” shared inbox where administrative staff who are on the front lines can triage them to the relevant individual or team.

Klara can now automatically route many of these messages on your behalf based on the reason for the message and (for teams with PM system integration) the patient’s next appointment location. This removes a step from your workflow so the right people can be directly notified and get back to patients faster!

In this article:

How reason routing works

The patient experience

When a patient reaches out to your practice using the messenger on your website or by accessing their Klara conversation anywhere else (on the web at or in the Klara iOS app), they'll be asked to select a reason before they can send a message. They'll see this request as soon as they enter the Klara conversation after verifying their date of birth.

Once a patient selects a reason, they'll enter their message.

The staff experience

Any team member who is subscribed to the specific reason that the patient selected ("Prescriptions / Refills" in this case) will be notified that there's a new patient message and the conversation will be listed in their inbox.

As you can see, administrative staff do not need to route the message from the "Unassigned" inbox to the relevant individual or team. It's been routed to them already automatically.

The conversation will also live in the "Unassigned" inbox where it will be labeled with the reason that the patient selected.

Voicemail channel: You can also work with our Customer Success team to set automated routing up for voicemail so that voicemails left to certain extensions route to specific reasons. For example, your voicemail recording can state "press 3 for prescriptions / refills" and that voicemail can be routed to the Medical Assistants who are subscribed to the "Prescriptions / Refills" reason.

How location routing works

Each time a patient messages the practice via any method (SMS text, website messenger, voicemail, etc.), Klara will check for the location of that patient’s next appointment as listed in your PM system.

Any team member who is subscribed to that patient’s specific location (for example, “Manhattan”) will be notified that there’s a new patient message and the conversation will be listed in their inbox.

Administrative staff do not need to route the message from the "Unassigned" inbox to the relevant individual or team at the relevant location. It's been routed to them already automatically.

The conversation will also live in the "Unassigned" inbox where it will be labeled with the location of the patient’s next appointment.

Klara will also add a location to the patient’s profile so that you’ll always have this context for this patient from now on.

Filter the inbox

Both from their own inbox, as well as the "Unassigned" inbox (as long as they're subscribed to it), team members can filter messages based on reason (and if applicable) location.

Filters will be applied by default based on what reasons and locations the team member is subscribed to in "Team Settings" > "New incoming messages." If a team member adjusts these filters, they're changing what conversations they're viewing in the inbox, as well as what messages they're subscribed to (and will be notified about) going forward.

How to enable automated routing for your practice

Team Administrators should take the following steps.

Step 1: Go to "Team Settings" > "New incoming messages"

Step 2: Click "Routing Settings"

Step 3: Enable reason and location routing. "Reasons" and (if you have an eligible PM system integration) "Locations" will be disabled by default. If you'd like to enable reason routing, click on "Reasons" and toggle it on.

If you'd like to enable location routing, click "Locations" and toggle on location routing. If no locations are displayed, you may need to click "Sync with EHR" to view them.

Step 4: Subscribe team members to specific reasons and locations. Go back to "New incoming messages." If you already have staff listed here, we recommend unsubscribing each staff member so you can set everything up fresh, as long as you have a few minutes to do that now.

Once you've unsubscribed each member, click "+ Subscribe staff."

You'll want to set up each of the teams in your organization. For example, perhaps you'll search for and add each individual from the Medical Assistants team at the Manhattan location and subscribe them to only be notified about messages with the reason "Prescriptions / Refills" and "Test / Lab Results" for patients who visit the "Manhattan" location.

You'll repeat this for each team within your organization.

You'll also want to make sure to subscribe any frontline administrative staff to "Other" reasons and "Location unknown"—in addition to any administrative matters and the location(s) they are responsible for—as this is the bucket that will capture any messages that missing a specific reason or location.

Step 5: Review your Routing Settings. Once you've subscribed all the teams within your organization, head back to your Routing Settings and click "Reasons."

Make sure you have staff subscribed for each reason. If no staff members are subscribed to a reason, it won’t be visible to patients when they go to message you through the web messenger and by accessing their Klara conversation elsewhere. You add staff members from this screen as well by clicking into the reason.

If you've enabled location routing, go back to your Routing Settings and click "Locations." Click into each location and make sure you have staff listed for each one.

Step 6: Test it out!

We recommend testing out the patient experience as a final step. The easiest way is to either:

  • Pretend you're a new patient and reach out to your practice via the web messenger.

  • Add a new test patient to Klara and go to to log in as the patient. Make sure you don't message the patient first (and keep them in the "Closed" inbox).

  • If you also want to test location routing, you’ll need to add yourself as a test patient to the PM system first and book an appointment at a specific location.

Common questions

What if we're in the middle of a conversation with the patient? Will the patient still need to select a reason?

No. Reasons will only display to the patient when it makes sense. Reasons will not display to the patient when:

  • The conversation is already assigned to an individual or shared inbox (including "Unassigned"). The conversation must be closed.

  • The patient hasn't read the last message from the practice.

  • The last message from the patient was within the past hour.

A patient wrote in and chose a reason (example: "Billing") for their message. We responded and closed the message. 30 minutes later, the patient sent another message and it was still routed to "Billing". Why?

This message was routed to "Billing" because the patient sent the message within one hour of their previous message. Klara assumes that any message within one hour is likely about the same topic and should be routed to the same place. The patient will not see an option to select another reason if they go to message you within that hour.

Is there anything that would overwrite the reason the patient selected?

The reason is only overwritten if the patient leaves a voicemail or sends an SMS message to your practice's textable number. In that case, the reason is instantly removed, as this new question is likely about a different topic.

Can I remove a reason option so that it's not visible to patients?

Yes, you can remove a reason from being visible to patients by unsubscribing all team members from that reason under "Team Settings".

Can I customize the reasons that are displayed to patients?

You can remove a reason from being visible to patients. If you'd like to add a new reason, please reach out to or chat us below. We'll consider the user experience and consult with you on the user experience. You cannot customize the way the default reasons are worded.

Can I manually label conversations with a reason or location?

The reason and location cannot be removed or added manually by the staff. We recommend keeping custom shared inboxes in place so you can continue to route messages to those inboxes when needed.

Most of my patients are reaching out in the context of a past appointment. Can messages be routed based on past appointment locations?

Messages will always be routed based on upcoming appointment location, however, once the patient has messaged in once and an upcoming appointment has been identified, that message (and the patient’s profile) will stay labeled with that location. The only reason that location will be removed is if they message in and have an upcoming appointment at a different location. Although it depends on the frequency of your patient’s appointments, we expect most of your patients will have a location listed within about a month of using location routing.

How will the message be routed if the patient does not have an upcoming appointment at the time that they message in?

The message will be routed to the “Unassigned” inbox unless they’ve already reached out to you in the past and a location was attached (because they had an upcoming appointment at that time).

Does the patient reason and location label remain on the conversation if the conversation is assigned to an individual or shared inbox other than "Unassigned"?

The label will remain on the conversation when viewing it from "My Inbox." The label will not remain when viewing it from a custom shared inbox such as "Refills" as you should not need as much context at this point. However, the conversation history from the staff side will always display what reason the patient selected, the patient’s profile will always display the patient’s location (if applicable).

Will Klara have the ability to route inbound SMS messages by reason in the future?

Yes, we plan to incorporate reason selection into every inbound channel of communication in the future. We'll provide more information as we get closer to making this available to you!

Will Klara have the ability to route patient questions by practice provider in the future?

Yes, we're currently working on functionality that will allow teams with supported PM system integrations to automatically route patient questions to the right individuals based on the provider of their next appointment. Stay tuned for more information soon!

I have the voicemail integration currently set up to route questions to certain custom shared inboxes in Klara based on the extension the patient chooses. Do I need to change that setup to accommodate for reason routing?

No, you don't need to change your current voicemail integration setup. Voicemail messages will continue to route to the relevant custom shared inbox. However, if it simplifies things for you, you can have voicemails route to individuals subscribed to certain reasons instead. Please reach out to our team at and we'll help you make this change.

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