Messaging FAQ

Gwynneth Derere
Gwynneth Derere
  • Updated

Can Patchs send messages to patients by SMS and email?

Yes. The practice can choose either method or both. Email can be preferable for practices who wish to reduce their SMS costs.

Is there an option to set the default to SMS instead of email? 

Yes, this option has been added to Patchs as part of the SMS options

Does SMS have to be enabled per practice?

Yes. Please contact the Advanced support team if you need SMS setting up.

Will it affect any other text messaging products that a practice may already use?

No, Patchs is completely independent.

What happens if our area doesn’t have an SMS gateway, how does the SMS functionality work and what is the mechanism this goes through? 

We offer our own SMS connection (with a cost per message fragment).

Can Patchs send via SMS if no account is detected, without us having to select it? 

A patient does not need to be registered on Patchs to receive an SMS from Patchs, but Patchs will need the telephone number of the patient. To do this, you can create the patient automatically in Patchs by searching for the patient within Patchs (which uses PDS API) or by opening the patient in the clinical system and selecting the message patient option in the Patchs toolbar.

Can Patchs cap the numbers of SMS messages sent using the system?

Not currently. Patchs can assign cost codes to individual practices and they can monitor their usage through the reporting dashboard. However, it cannot currently cap the usage. The product team are evaluating adding this feature.

If a GP Practice sends a text via Patchs and it fails, how are they notified? 

A failed delivery receipt is sent to the Patchs inbox.

Will appointment reminders reach non-smartphone users?

Yes. They are sent via SMS as well as email.

For patients not wanting to receive links to open information sent by the practice, can this be overridden? 

Yes, this can be overridden for emails and SMS messages that do not require a reply from the patient.

Sending SMS through Patchs, does this translate to the patients first spoken language? 

The SMS gives a link to the Patchs webpage which takes them to the message. This can then be translated into a preferred language.

Does Patchs integrate with the NHS App?

Yes. When using the NHS App, patients receive emails/SMS as usual but can also go into the NHS app to check responses and reply (as usual like the Patchs website). We are currently working on incorporating push notifications in the NHS app. 

How do I enable the Patchs NHS App integration for my practice?

Please inform the Advanced Implementation Team or Support Desk and then we will ask NHS Digital to enable access for your practice.

For bulk messaging, do you need to create a CSV export from the clinical system to do this?

Yes. We are currently working to automate the upload process.

If sending out bulk SMS campaigns, how do we manage the call/recall and how does it code back into EMIS if declined? 

Staff users are notified of delivery statuses when they send out the campaign, so they can see ones where it didn't send (e.g. disconnected number). You can’t recall messages. Patients can’t opt out because the bulk messaging is designed for providing clinical care rather than marketing. Bulk messages are coded back into the clinical system.

For bulk messaging, if a parent is a carer of 3 children how do we separate those out, so they are named for the correct patient when sent via SMS? 

The contact details are exported from the clinical system and uploaded to Patchs so you can message anyone in the clinical system. The message template doesn’t put the person’s name, so there isn’t an issue of putting specific children’s names.

Are bulk messages coded back into the clinical system? 


Can you bulk message questionnaires?


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