Text variables can be used within your Chart Part templates to pull context-specific information into your encounter note or message area when the Chart Part is used. So, for example, text variables can be used to construct a sentence that includes the patient's name, age, sex, or pronouns, your name, and the date and/ or time when the template is used. Basic text variables can be viewed within the Chart Part editing window directly. And there are special text variables that can be used to pull in lab values, vitals readings, and information from the patient's submitted questionnaires.

There are separate text variables that can be used within the context of default appointment notification and reminder messages.

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There are several different types of text variables that are available to automatically insert context-specific information within Cerbo:

  • Built in text variables that work with Chart Parts in your encounter notes, secure message/ email message templates, and task notes (but not appointment notification/ reminder messages). Note that these are different from the built in text variables that work with the appointment notification and reminder messages.
  • Text variables that can pull in custom vitals readings or lab values. These are not listed anywhere, because the specific variables will depend on what custom values or lab results you have set up in your system. But they follow a specific syntax, as described more fully below.
  • Text variables that can pull in questions and answers from questionnaires that the patient has submitted via the Patient Portal. There is a tool for finding and using these variables from your patient portal questionnaires.

Basic Chart Part Text Variables for Encounter Notes, Messages, and Task Notes

You can review the available text variables for your encounter note and message templates by opening Admin > Manage > Chart Parts, then clicking to add a new Chart Part, and then on View Available Variables. These can be used to pull in information about the patient or from the patient's chart, as well as the name of the person using the template, or the date/ time.

Note that text variables themselves are not directly accessible when completing your encounter note or writing a message to a patient. But you can create a Chart Part template that includes only a single text variable to be able to pull that specific piece of information independently into your message or note as needed.

{???} is a special type of variable that acts like a fillable text input when it is used. You can use the tab key on your keyboard to navigate to and select the next {???} in your note or message, and start typing to replace that with your text.


  • [[pt_name]] is a [[pt_age]] year old [[pt_sex]] who reports {???} would become Jane is a 43 year old female who reports {???}. And you can tab to select the next {???} placeholder in your note, to quickly navigate to that spot and type additional notes and observations.
  • [[pt_rxs]] pulls in the patient's current medications list.
  • [[doctor]] [[dateandtime]] would become Susanna Jordan, MD 12/28/2023 1:28pm, so it could act as a name and date/time stamp for quickly passing tasks back and forth between staff in a more trackable way.

Special Use Case: using the [[next_apt]] variable with arguments

The [[next_apt]] text variable, which pulls in the patient's next upcoming appointment information, can be used with special "arguments" to pull in more than one upcoming appointment, or the information for the 2nd to next upcoming appointment, for example.

    Syntax: [[next_apt(number-of-apts-you-want)]]
    Syntax: [[next_apt(number-of-apts-you-want,number-of-apts-to-offet)]]

    [[next_apt(2,3)]] means skip the next 3 appointments and print the next 2 (the 4th and 5th next appointments, respectively)

    - Your next appointment is: [[next_apt(1,0)]]
    - Your 2nd upcoming appointment is: [[next_apt(1,1)]]
    - Your 3rd upcoming appointment is: [[next_apt(1,2)]]
    - Your 4th upcoming appointment is: [[next_apt(1,3)]]

Text Variables for Patient Vitals and/or Lab Results:

You can use special variables for pulling in the most recent readings for "custom vitals" that you have added using the following syntax to pull in the most recent value for that vital:

Vital name: [[pt_vital_SHORT NAME OF VITAL]]

NOTE that this may not work if there are spaces or special characters in the custom vital's Short Name. You can edit the Short Name to omit these, if needed, under Admin > Manage > Vitals. 

You can use the same pt_vital syntax to insert discrete lab results values. However, for lab results, you may want to instead use:


When a chart part with this variable in it is used, this will insert the following into the encounter note:

  • Lab result field name
  • Most recent lab result value
  • Result date

To pull in multiple previous readings for custom vitals or lab results, you can use the follow syntax:

[[pt_lab:NAME OF LAB RESULT FIELD OR FULL NAME OF VITAL(#)]]    where #=the number of previous readings

For example, this will push any of the last 3 O2 Sat readings available:  [[pt_lab:O2 Saturation Rate(3)]]

Text Variables to Pull Info from a Patient-Submitted Questionnaire

Every question and answer in forms/ questionnaires submitted via the Cerbo patient portal can be pulled into the encounter note via text variables. There is a special tool that you can use to get the variables from your questionnaires to use within your own templates. See Create a Chart Part based on a Patient Submitted Questionnaire