Troubleshooting: Text Messages Aren't Sending

If you find that one or more patients aren't receiving texts from you, follow the steps below to troubleshoot.

Note: If you aren't receiving patient responses on your desktop and you know you should be, check out our article Setting Your Workstation to Receive Patient Texts.

Table of Contents

 

Step 1: Checking Your YAPI Service

YAPI Service is the main service that controls YAPI from your server.  If there is an issue with the power to your server or an issue on the server itself, this YAPI Service can sometimes turn off, preventing automated messages from going out and stopping YAPI from working altogether.  To find out if this is the issue:

  1. Try opening YAPI on a workstation and wait 3 minutes.

    • If YAPI DOES open on the workstation: Your YAPI Service isn't the issue.  Skip directly to the next section Step 2: Determining Whether the Problem is System-Wide.

    • If YAPI DOESN'T open OR SHUTS DOWN within 3 minutes: This indicates an issue with your YAPI Service on the server and it likely just needs a restart.  Continue to the next step.

  2. Locate your practice's server and find the YAPI Service Manager icon on the server's desktop:

    Screen_Shot_2022-06-27_at_3.15.02_PM.png

  3. Double-click the icon to open the YAPI Service Manager.

    • If the START SERVICE button is highlighted in blue:  Your YAPI Service is off and this is why your text messages didn't send.  Click the Start Service button to restart YAPI Service and wait 5 minutes for it to boot up. Monitor your practice's text log to see if message resume within about an hour.

      Screen_Shot_2022-06-27_at_3.13.14_PM.png

      • If you DO see your texts resume within that time:  This indicates that your YAPI Service shut down after housekeeping, and you don't need to do anything else to send out your texts.  You may want to contact your IT professional, though, to find out if there were any server or power issues overnight.

      • If you DON'T see your automated texts resume: This indicates that your YAPI Service was off during housekeeping so YAPI wasn't able to queue up the automated reminders when it usually would. Follow the steps in Manually Sending Appointment Reminders That Didn't Go Out for the Day to push out the reminders that should have gone out today. 

    • If the STOP SERVICE button is highlighted in blue:  Your YAPI Service is on but something else is causing your workstation to not open and this could indicate a larger issue that is also affecting your texts from being received.  Contact our Customer Support team for further troubleshooting.

      Screen_Shot_2022-06-27_at_3.12.40_PM.png

 

Step 2: Determining Whether the Problem is System-Wide

If a patient lets you know they didn't receive your text, this could be an indication of a larger issue or it could be affecting only them.  Figuring out whether the problem is system-wide will determine how you troubleshoot next:

  1. From the YAPI Dashboard, click Patients Patients.png and select Patient Finder.

  2. Enter the last name of the patient who didn't get their text with and click Search.

  3. In your search results, click the patient's name.  From the dropdown menu, select Communication, then Mobile Text, then Log to bring up their text log and see if there's a record of their text there.

    Screen_Shot_2021-11-09_at_12.58.08_PM.png

  4. In your Dentrix, Open Dental, or Eaglesoft or by asking around your office, find the name of a patient that also should have gotten a text around the same time as the patient that didn't get one.  You'll use this patient to spot-check and see if they're experiencing the same issue.  For example, If a patient didn't get their reminder, choose another patient with the same appointment date and time.  If a patient simply didn't get text you sent manually, check with your team to see if someone messaged another patient around the same time as the patient who didn't get their text from you.

  5. In the Patient Finder, search for this other patient.

  6. In your search results, click this patient's name.  From the dropdown menu, select Communication, then Mobile Text, then Log to bring up their text log and see if there's a record of their text there.

 

Step 3: Checking a Patient's Contact Information

If you've determined that a patient not receiving a text is an isolated incident, double-check the patient's contact information in your practice management software (Dentrix, Open Dental or Eaglesoft):

  1. Make sure the patient's number is listed in the mobile phone number or cell phone number field.

    • If the patient's number IS in the correct field: Continue to the next step.

    • If the patient's number IS NOT in the correct field: Move it to the correct one.  This is what caused the issue but we recommend also double-checking that the patient's phone number is correct for good measure.  Once YAPI runs housekeeping overnight, it'll recognize the number in the correct field and they will receive text messages from that point on.  Problem solved!

  2. Cross-check the patient's mobile number with the patient and make sure you have their current mobile phone number.

    • If the patient's phone number is CORRECT: The patient's contact information is not the issue.  Proceed directly to Step 4: Checking Whether a Patient is on Your Do Not Contact List.

    • If the patient's phone number is INCORRECT: Replace their phone number with the correct one.  Once YAPI runs housekeeping overnight, YAPI will recognize their new number and they will receive text messages from that point on.  Problem solved!

 

Step 4: Checking Whether a Patient Is on Your Do-Not-Contact List

Patients may not be receiving their texts because they accidentally opted themselves out.  If a patient texts back STOP, QUIT, CANCEL, END, STOPALL, OR UNSUBSCRIBE to a text they received from you, YAPI adds them to your Do-Not-Contact Phone List so they don't receive any more messages they don't want, but a patient may have done this in error.  To check if the patient is on your Do-Not-Contact List in YAPI:

  1. From the YAPI Dashboard, click Setup and Manage Setup_and_Manage.png.  Then, select Manage Opt-Out Lists, then Do-Not-Contact Phone List.

  2. When prompted, enter your YAPI password and click OK.

  3. In the list:

    1. If you DON'T SEE the patient's name or phone number: Proceed directly to Step 5: Checking a Patient's Phone Carrier.

    2. If you DO SEE the patient's name or phone number: This is why they are not receiving texts.  Either the patient opted themselves out or a member of your team opted them out through their communication settings in the Patient Finder.  If this was done in error, select the checkbox next to their name and click Remove.  Their texts from you will resume from that point on.  

      Screen_Shot_2022-06-29_at_10.45.18_AM_2.png

      Note: Any previous texts sent before a patient was removed from the Do-Not-Contact Phone List will not send to them.  If you need to resend a text, see Sending Individual Texts from the Dashboard.

 

Step 5: Checking a Patient's Phone Carrier

Some phone carriers automatically set their customer's privacy settings so they don't receive messages from 5-digit short-code phone numbers.  Because YAPI sends its messages from one of these numbers, some users' phones may automatically reject the message, thinking it's spam, and often your patients don't even know about this setting.  

  1. Ask the patient who didn't receive their text which phone carrier they use.  

    • If the patient uses T-Mobile or Sprint: Ask the patient to contact their carrier and have them allow messages from short-code numbers.  This should do the trick, but if they still aren't receiving texts after having this setting adjusted by their mobile carrier, proceed to Step 6: Checking Reminder Settings.

    • If the patient uses any other carrier: Proceed to Step 6: Checking Reminder Settings.

 

Step 6: Checking Reminder Settings

If the text your patient(s) didn't receive was an appointment reminder, there are several possible causes within your appointment reminder settings.  To determine if these settings are what's causing the issue:

  1. Ask the patient (and possibly other members of your team, if needed) if the missing text was an appointment reminder or if one of your team members sent them an individual message:

  2. From the YAPI Dashboard, click Setup and Manage and select Global Setup.

  3. When prompted, enter your YAPI password and click OK.

  4. In the Global Setup window, navigate to the Reminders tab.

  5. In the pink and purple text reminder sections, locate the number of days prior to the appointment that each reminder is set to send:

    Screen_Shot_2022-08-05_at_8.12.11_AM_2.png

    Make sure that no reminders are set to send at 0 days or 0 hours.  This can cause reminders not to send or to send after a patient's appointment.  

    • If NO reminders are set to 0 days or 0 hours: Continue on to the next step.

    • If ANY reminders are set to 0 days or 0 hours: Change these to 1, then click Save:

      Screen_Shot_2022-08-05_at_8.12.44_AM.png

      If one of the reminders you changed was the one your patients were supposed to have received, this is what caused the issue and you can stop here.  Your reminders will start sending as they should tomorrow.  If this isn't the case, continue on to the next step.

  6. Click the Visualize button:

    Screen_Shot_2022-08-05_at_8.35.57_AM.png

  7. Look at the table in the Text Reminders window that pops up.  Based on your current settings, this table shows when patients are scheduled to get their appointment reminders based on their appointment day:

    Screen_Shot_2022-08-05_at_8.35.25_AM_2_2.png

    Use this to determine when patients should have received their reminder based on your current settings.  In this example, patients with a Tuesday appointment should receive reminders on the previous Saturday and Monday:

    Screen_Shot_2022-08-05_at_8.35.25_AM_2.png

    • If your patient(s) SHOULDN'T have gotten their reminder yet based on your current settings: This either indicates patient error (they thought they were supposed to get a reminder but it hasn't sent out yet) OR your settings are different from what you may have thought they were (this is common).  If you want patients to receive their reminders earlier than how they're currently set, follow the steps in Customizing Appointment Reminders to adjust your reminder settings.

    • If your patient(s) SHOULD have received a reminder BEFORE TODAY and didn't get it: Proceed directly to Step 7: Checking Your YAPI Housekeeping Time.

    • If your patient(s) is/are set to receive their reminder TODAY and didn't get it: Check the time that your reminders are set to start sending out:

      Screen_Shot_2022-08-05_at_8.55.10_AM.png

       

      • If the time passed over an hour ago: This is not the issue.  Proceed to Step 7: Checking Your YAPI Housekeeping Time.

      • If this time hasn't passed yet or it passed less than an hour ago: You can stop here; you've figured out the issue!  Your patients just haven't gotten their reminder yet but they will get it soon.  Reminders start sending at that time each day but it can take about a half hour for YAPI to send them all and could take slightly longer depending on each patient's mobile phone carrier.

 

Step 7: Checking Your YAPI Housekeeping Time

Every night, YAPI runs housekeeping to create a backup of your settings and see who's new in your patient database.  During housekeeping, YAPI also queues up all of its automated texts so they're ready to send out the next morning.  For this to work, though, your practice management software (Dentrix, Open Dental, or Eaglesoft) can't be making a backup at the same time.

To see if YAPI's housekeeping (and your automated texts) are being interrupted by your practice management software's backup settings:

  1. From the YAPI Dashboard, click Setup and Manage and select Global Setup.

  2. When prompted, enter your YAPI password and click OK.

  3. In the Global Setup window, navigate to the Options tab.

  4. Note the time listed in the Housekeeping section (but don't change it):

    Screen_Shot_2022-08-05_at_2.06.32_PM_2.png

    This is when YAPI's housekeeping is set to start each night and can continue for up to an hour and a half.  In the example above, YAPI starts housekeeping at 9pm and may not finish until 10:30pm.

  5. Consult your practice's IT to find out when your practice management software is set to create a backup copy each day.  

    • If your practice management software's backup DOES NOT within the time that YAPI does housekeeping: This is not the issue.  Proceed directly to Step 8: Checking the Windows Time on Your Server.

    • If your practice management software's backup DOES fall within the time that YAPI does housekeeping: This is likely what's causing the issue and is most common with Eaglesoft users.  Discuss options with your IT to see if they can change your practice management software's backup time so that it doesn't overlap with YAPI housekeeping.  If it's not possible to move your backup time, adjust your Housekeeping time in YAPI's Global Setup instead and click Save.

      Warning!  YAPI's Housekeeping time must be set to start AFTER your practice is closed and must finish BEFORE your practice opens.  Otherwise, this can interfere with YAPI's automated systems and can't prevent it from creating a backup each day.  For more information, see Introduction to YAPI Housekeeping.

 

Step 8: Checking the Windows Time on Your Server

If you've eliminated all other issues or it seems like text messages are sending but are delayed by quite a bit, the Windows Time clock on your server may be out of sync.  Ask your IT to resync Windows Time by completing the procedure below on your server:

  1. In Windows, open the Task Manager.

  2. Click the Services tab and at the bottom of the window, click Open Services:

    Screen_Shot_2022-07-05_at_4.07.04_PM_2.png

  3. In the Services window that pops up, scroll down to find Windows Time and double-click it: 

    Screen_Shot_2022-07-05_at_4.07.17_PM_2.png

  4. In the Windows Time Properties window that pops up, set Startup Type to Automatic (if it isn't already) and click OK:

    Screen_Shot_2022-07-05_at_4.08.36_PM_2.png

  5. Click the button below to automatically download our Windows Time Sync Fixer (a file named NTP2.bat).

    Click Here to Download our Windows Time Sync Fixer (NTP2.bat)

  6. Once your download completes, locate the NTP2.bat file on the computer you're working on.  Right-click the file and select Run as Administrator.

  7. Allow the program to run until the window closes by itself (This should only take a few seconds).  Then, wait one minute.

    Screen_Shot_2022-07-06_at_11.43.14_AM.png

    Tip: Watch the clock in the Windows Task Bar (at the bottom right corner of your screen) while the program runs.  In most cases, the time will "jump," indicating that your Windows Time has been reset.  This jump won't always be visible if the time was only out of sync by a few seconds, but it's a good indicator if you do see it.
  8. Locate the YAPI Service Manager icon on the server's desktop and double-click it:

    Screen_Shot_2022-06-27_at_3.15.02_PM.png

  9. Once the YAPI Service Manager opens, click Stop Service and wait 2 minutes. 

    Screen_Shot_2022-06-27_at_3.12.40_PM.png

  10. Click Start Service and wait 3 minutes for the system to reboot.

    Screen_Shot_2022-06-27_at_3.13.14_PM.png

  11. Try sending a text to your own mobile phone. 

    • If you receive it within a couple of minutes: You've fixed the issue!  Your texts will now send out without being delayed.

    • If you don't receive it within 15 minutes: Contact our Customer Support team for further troubleshooting and let them know the steps you've taken so far.

 

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