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Where is the option to record Notes?

I cannot find the Notes option in OpenEMR 5.0.2.

This page:
talks about a Notes option available from the dashboard. However I have no such Notes option available. Do you know why this might be please?

I’m interested in using it to record random notes on patients, predominantly non-medical notes.


hi @PeteBoyd, have you looked at the messages center? Should be in the top nav bar as Messages.

the dated reminders serve as an area not part of the medical record

Thank you @stephenwaite for the pointer, I’ve had a look. The documentation says there’s an actual “Notes” option, which isn’t there in reality. Messages appears to be able to be squeezed into shape to support the keeping of notes, but with a host of caveats. And Dated Reminders doesn’t appear to suit my needs.

The use case I have for this is “anything they might have done with the client that day, i.e. collected meds, sorted housing etc, and the wellbeing of the client in general”.

Here’s my experience and feedback from investigating the use of Messages and Dated Reminders for keeping notes on a patient:


If this is for keeping notes, then the action of “Send message” doesn’t convey that.
The built-in help for this feature says it “Lets you send messages to staff members about patient related matters.”, which makes it sound as though it’s built around sending a message to others, as opposed to keeping notes.

Set a message as Status: Done and it disappears from view after you’ve clicked Send. It also doesn’t appear in the patient’s medical record dashboard. If there are only messages with a a status of Done, then in the dashboard it says “There are no messages on file for this patient. To add messages, please click here.” But we know there are messages.

Select Edit and still there are no messages displayed. Press Show All and it will then show messages with a status of Done.

If however there are messages with a status of New, then the dashboard wil instead say “Displaying the following number of most recent messages: 3
Click here to view them all.” Doing so will take you to a view where you can see messages with both status of Done and New.

Note: one option there takes you to Show Active, and the other to Show All. Instead of saying "To add messages, please click here. ", it could give a link to ‘Show All’.

“Edit” is not an intuitive word for where this option take you to.

This doesn’t seem to make it fit for the purpose of keeping notes on a patient when they can be so hidden from view. It seems I’d need to give users the caveat that they set all messages to New and leave them as New; and a lot of instructions around the behavioural nuances around here.

Set a message as Status: New and they do appear in the patient’s medical records dashboard without further clicks.
However if I set Status: New, then I must set a recipient in ‘To’, because otherwise it says “Recipient required unless status is Done”. If I’m offering this to users as a way to save notes about a patient, then sending the note to someone isn’t intuitive.


The UI says that messages are restricted to a max length of 160 characters. The documentation here:'s_Dated_Reminder
however says the max length is 255 characters.
Either way, this is way too short for keeping notes.

How do you set it to NOT active on a certain date? (no “Due Date” or “Select a Time Span”)

Unless a recipient is chosen, “Send This Message” does nothing, has no feedback at all.

These reminders are sent to people and then appear under “My Messages” for each user they’re sent to. This is very much not the territory of making a note that appears when users look at a patient record. This isn’t appropriate for my use case.

The built-in help for this feature says:
“This ‘Dated Reminder’ functionality is useful for informal notes that are not meant to become part of the patient record as the ‘Patient Notes’ do.”
I doubt the documentation for this should say it’s about keeping “notes”, when it is more suited to sending reminders or messages.