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How do I choose the type for a field?
How do I choose the type for a field?

Learn how to decide what type of field you should use to capture some information from a patient.

Brendan Kilfoil avatar
Written by Brendan Kilfoil
Updated over a week ago

Depending on the type of question you're asking and the type of answer you're looking for, you'll want to choose a field type that works accordingly. A field's type affects 3 things:

  1. How the field is displayed during Form filling (i.e. a text box, a list of options, date picker, etc).

  2. Whether or not the value entered into the field updates the patient record in Cliniko.

  3. Whether or not the entered value appears on any Treatment Note created by Finger-Ink

The different classes of field types

There are two main classes of field types:

  • Patient fields (further divided into custom and standard)

  • Other fields

Patient fields are Cliniko-specific field types. They're pre-filled on the iPad when the Form is started, and update the patient record when the Response is processed. They're also present on the produced PDF, and can be included on any Treatment Note created when processing a Response, but aren't by default.

Put simply, fields like these are updated from your patients' answers using patient fields:

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☝️ Not all patient fields can be updated by Finger-Ink, but most can — including custom patient fields. The entirety of what we manage can be found below.

Other fields are for everything else. They don't pre-populate during Form filling, and don't update the patient record directly. Instead, they only ever appear on the PDF and any produced Treatment Note.

Patient fields

Custom patient fields

This is near the top of the article because custom patient fields in Cliniko are awesome. They allow you to define your own fields on your patient records in Cliniko — allowing you to capture, and report on, patient information specific to your clinic.

Finger-Ink supports your custom patient fields out of the box. They're downloaded to Finger-Ink from Cliniko once every 24 hours, and available right in the Form editor:

Custom patient fields work similarly to standard patient fields in that they are also pre-filled when starting a Form in the iPad app, and update the patient record as you'd expect. All custom patient field types are supported in Finger-Ink and work as you'd expect.

Standard patient fields

We have a number of standard patient fields that update the patient record in the ways you'd expect. Here's the list:

  • name (title, first, last, preferred)

  • date of birth

  • sex

  • gender identity

  • pronouns (nominative, accusative, possessive [pronominal], possessive [predicative], reflexive)

  • address (lines 1-3, city, state, post code, country)

  • phone (mobile, home, work, other)

  • email

  • referring doctor

  • medicare (number & reference number)

  • reference number

  • occupation

  • automated reminder type (e.g. Email, SMS etc.)

  • sms marketing

  • email marketing

  • booking confirmation emails

  • referral source type (with limitations*)

  • concession type

  • emergency contact (name, number)

  • invoice details (to, email invoice to, invoice extra information)

  • DVA card number

  • privacy policy consent

If you want the patient to update any of these directly, then you should be using the appropriate field types on your Form.

Dynamic standard patient fields

Some standard patient fields are dynamic. This means that, while they might have some standard options in Cliniko, these standard options can be overwritten with anything else. Sex is a good example of this. You can see we can specify an alternative value when editing a patient record:

When you use the Sex field type in Finger-Ink it doesn't enforce this behaviour, but it does allow it. Here's the Sex field type configured on a Form to allow the patient to specify:

Apart from the Sex field type, the Gender Identity and all Pronoun field types also allow the same behaviour.

Referral sources

The Referral sources field type is special because you define your own list of Referral sources you care about in Cliniko:

These referral sources are downloaded to Finger-Ink from your Cliniko account once every 24 hours. If they change, we update your Forms. That said, there are some caveats you need to be aware of when asking for the Referral source in your Forms.

Concession type

The Concession type field is similar to the Referral sources field type in that it is also downloaded to Finger-Ink from Cliniko once every 24 hours. However, it's not as special a field, so has no added caveats.

Referring doctor

The Referring doctor field type is treated differently to any other of the standard patient fields in that we can't directly update the Referring doctor field in Cliniko. Because of this, values in the Referring doctor field are put into the "Extra information" box on the patient record:

Privacy policy consent

The Privacy policy consent field type is similar to the regular Policy consent field type in that it allows for long-form text to be entered, couple with "I accept" and "I do not accept" buttons below the text. The difference is that this one updates the Privacy policy consent status on the patient record:

Other fields

What we term Other fields don't pre-populate during Form filling, and don't update the patient record directly. Instead, they only ever appear on the PDF and any produced Treatment Note.

Similar to patient fields, they're also divided into classes (which we also use to group these fields within the Editor):

  • Treatment note-specific

  • Information-only & consent

  • Lists

  • Multimedia

  • Text

  • Other

Treatment note-specific

The only field in this class is the Body chart (selectable on treatment note) field.

It never shows during Form filling. Instead, it is sent to the Treatment note after the Response is processed, and allows you to select a body chart within Cliniko, as you would with any other Treatment note body chart:

Information-only & consent

Display-only text

Great for showing patients a bit of information. Often used as the only field on a screen, showing the information and a next button only.

Policy consent

For when you need your patients to accept a policy or consent agreement.

☝️ Making a Policy consent field required removes the "I do not accept" button — effectively enforcing agreement to your policy, or preventing the Form from being completed.


All the different field types in the lists class can be configured to have a raw value "behind" them. That means they can be used in Calculation fields later on.

Select one option only (via buttons)

This is used for selecting one option from a short list of options (similar to a radio button).

Select one option only (via scroll)

This is exactly the same as the previous field type, except for the options being displayed as a list rather than as buttons.

Select one or more options (via buttons)

This is for selecting one or more options from a list when "select all that apply" would be applicable.


Photo with front camera (selfie)

Available on the iPad only. This field is used for capturing a selfie of your patient.

Embedded video

The Embedded video field type is what you need when you've produced something for the patient to watch. Perhaps to educate them on how your service works, or perhaps to give them directions to your clinic.

Body chart

The Body chart field type is exactly what you need when you're wanting the patient to indicate where they're experiencing pain. You choose the background image (i.e. the actual chart to use) in the Form Editor, then this is presented to the patient as they're filling out the Form.

☝️ The Body chart is only produced on the PDF if the patient draws something on top of the chart. If the field is set to required, then the patient must draw something.


The Drawing field type works similarly to the Body chart field type, except that there's no background image.

☝️ Like the a Body chart field, a Drawing field is produced on the PDF if the patient draws something. If the field is set to required, then the patient must draw something.


The Image field type works in the same way as the Body chart field type, except that the patient can't draw on it, and it's always produced on the PDF.


Single-line text

This is the default field type — used for short, open-ended questions.

Multi-line text

When you think your patient has more to say, the Multi-line text field type is the one you want.

Single-line text (with number keyboard)

This functions exactly like the Single line text field type, but presents the number keyboard on the iPad when the field gains focus. That said, the patient can always navigate away from the number keyboard to the letter keyboard — and we don't enforce numbers in this field.

Email address

This field is displayed as a single-line text, but includes special validation logic to ensure that the entered value is an email address.



If you're asking when something occurred, often it's better to use a text field. This is because people can have trouble remembering the exact date when something happened. Using a text field means they can enter something like "last week" or "3 months ago".

However, sometimes you need an exact date. For this, we have the Date field type! Here's how it looks in the web:


The calculation fields type is useful for when you're implementing some sort of scoring into your form. It will never show during Form filling.

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