Difference Between Parent Portal and Client Contacts

PracticeQ offers two options when a parent needs to manage their dependent's/minors communication: The Parent Portal and Client Contacts. Provided directly below is a table summary contrasting the two options.

This article will also further detail specific information and use cases for each option to help you decide which option is best for your practice!

Parent Portal vs. Client Contacts

Feature Parent Portal Client Contacts
Client Management Requires both parent and minor to be added as clients. Contacts can be added without making them clients.
Access to Messages Only parent has access to messages; minor has no access. Contacts can access messages through the portal.
Portal Control Parent has full control over portal features. Control over portal features is more flexible.
Communication Channels Parent receives messages; minor doesn't. User can message both contacts or clients, but not concurrently
Appointment Management Parent can manage appointments. Contacts can manage appointments if granted access.
Email Notifications Parent doesn't receive appointment reminders. Contacts receive email notifications if configured.
Portal Access Parent needs to be added as a client for access. Contacts don't need to be clients for portal access.
Use Cases Quick setup for minors with parent control. Separate communication for parents and clients.

Parent Portal

The parent portal requires that both the parent and the minor be added as a clients in the system, and the following conditions apply to the the accounts.

1.  The parent portal uses the 'Messages' page.  Only the parent has access to the portal, the client (minor) has no access.  Any message sent in the client portal goes only to the parent. 

2.  The parent has full access to manage CC on file, update appointments, fill out forms, etc.  The system grants full control of the portal and any portal features that are active in the account to the parent.

3.  The parent does not receive any appointment reminders or form invitations by being the parent in the portal.  This setting only grants access to the portal, not to any emails associated with the client profile (forms and appointments).  Thus, it would be determined by the email address associated with the client on the Overview > Email field.

This is for any situation where the parent has full control over the client and the clinic wants to use the client profile > Messages tab to message the parent, but will never need to message the client directly. 

Client Contacts

Client contacts are much more flexible and are and have more available features.

1.  The contact does not need to be added as a client in the system.  The contact is added on the client profile > Contacts page.  This keeps a clinic's client list clean and limited to only the clients that they're seeing.

2.  The client does not require an email.  When adding a client to the system via Lists > Clients > Add New Client, you do not have to enter a client email or mobile phone number, as long as you enter a contact.  In these situations, the contact is considered a 'Primary Contact' and all emails and SMS messages are sent to the primary contact.  This includes forms, appointment reminders, invoices, etc.

NOTE:  The system does not list 'Primary Contact' anywhere, but the system treats the contact as such.

3.  The contact can receive emails alongside the client.  If the client has an email address, then the system will send the emails to the client, and any appointment notification can be sent to the contact as well. To send a form to a contact, you need to click on the client timeline, go to the contact section > ... > Send form Client Timeline > Contacts > ... > Send Form.  Sending a form to a client will not send it to contacts automatically.

4.  The contact can be added to the portal on behalf of the client and you have control over what the contact can manage.  Just because you allow clients to manage appointments in the portal, if you don't grant the contact ability to see/edit appointments in the contact settings, the contact will not be able to view/manage appointments in the portal.

5.  The client does not need to be added to the portal for a contact to have access to the portal.

6.  The contact's messaging portal can be accessed via the client profile > Contact section > ... next to the contact name > Message/Chat.  This allows you to access the contact's messaging portal.  You can also open the portal system via the tab at the top of the system (to the left of the My Forms page) and type in the client ID, which will show the client and any contacts.

Note:  Any message in the client profile > Messages page will not go to the contact.  These go to the client (or the client's parent, if parent portal is enabled for the client) and are NOT sent to the contact.  Further, there is no 'blast message' for all contacts, each message has to be sent individually.

This is excellent for situations where the client is a teenager or above but you need to have communication with the parents separate from the client. 

Which Option Should I Use?

These two features can overlap, but not in regards to the portal.  You can have a contact who receives email notifications for appointments and has access to the portal, and another client who is a parent to the client.  But you never want a contact set to have access to the portal and as a parent portal.  The system will not be able to handle this in the system.  Thus, in regards to the portal, it's important to decide which works better for your needs.

Key points:

1.  If the parent will be added as a client in the system alongside the client, the parent portal can be used.  If this is not an option, and you do not want the parent added as a client, then you can only use the client contact feature.

2.  If you want the client to have access to the portal and for a parent to have messaging capabilities as well, then you will need to use the client contact feature.  Parent Portal removes the client's ability to use to use the portal.

3.  If a client is a minor, and you're fine adding the parent as a client in your system, the Parent Portal is the quick and easy way to set this up without any additional settings to consider.

4.  Either option works if you have a parent with multiple children in the system.  Both allow the parent to sign in and click on the name of the client in the top right corner of the chat window and change the client that they're managing. 

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