When sending messages to patients you can either manually type a message, or pick one from a list.
Patients are notified about your message by email as default. If your area has enabled our SMS module, you will also see a 'Send as SMS' option.
When manually typing a message, you have the choice of the message being:
- Reply required: patients can respond to your message.
- Reply not required: patients can acknowledge your message.
- Reply not required - save to clinical system: patients can acknowledge your message, and the message is immediately saved to the clinical system
Attaching images and documents
You can also attach images and documents to your messages by selecting the 'Add attachment' button on the left. Only png, jpg, jpeg, and pdf files can be attached allowed with a maximum file size of 5mb.
What do patients see when you send them a manually typed message?
If you send a reply required message, this is what the patient sees:
They can type their response and press submit.
If you send a reply not required message, this is what the patient sees:
They can only click Close message to acknowledge they have seen your message.
Patients see one message at a time
We don't advise asking multiple questions or sending multiple bits of information in one message, because patients may miss them. Instead, you should send multiple messages to patients one after the other. Patients are shown the next message in sequence after they have responded to or acknowledged the first one. This is for safety reasons, to ensure patients can reply to every question you ask, and acknowledge every bit of advice you send them.
Therefore it’s important to only send messages as ‘Reply required’ if you actually need a response from the patient. Because if the patient doesn’t reply, they won’t see any messages you sent afterwards.
Completing a request with unanswered 'reply required' messages
If you select the Complete message button where the patient has not answered all the Reply required questions you have asked them, it will remain in the Awaiting response inbox. Doing this can be useful if you want to clear your inbox without closing requests.
If the patient replies, it will go back into the 'Unassigned' inbox in case they reply on a day you are not working.
If the patient doesn't reply to a Reply required message or doesn't read a Reply not required message, they can be sent automatic reminders. This must be set up by your practice Patchs admin.
'Send in body of email / SMS' and 'Send as SMS' options
For more details see 'Send as SMS' behaviour
Send in body of email / SMS
- If the 'Send in body of email / SMS' box is not ticked the patient will be sent a link to view your message in Patchs. If the patient has a Patchs account, they will need to log in to view the message. If they don't have a Patchs account, they will need to enter their date of birth to view the message. This option is recommended if you are sending sensitive information as it is the most secure. Your practice name will be added by Patchs when the message has been sent and the patient will see your name in the Patchs chatbot - so there's no need to add these yourself.
- If the 'Send in body of email / SMS' box is ticked your message will be sent as an email and/or SMS. The patient won't need to access Patchs to view your message. This option is recommended if you are not sending sensitive information as it is the least secure. Your practice name will be added by Patchs when the message has been sent - so there's no need to add this yourself. This option is currently not available for 'Reply required' messages, as patients still need to access Patchs online to reply to messages.
Send as SMS
Patchs messages are sent by email by default to save on SMS costs. If the 'Send as SMS' box is ticked, the message will be sent by SMS. This may be as well as, or instead of, an email message depending on your practice settings.
Don't share more information than necessary
Theoretically someone else could access information you send patients, for example a controlling partner that has access to the patient's phone. Therefore we recommend not sharing more information than you have already been provided (if you are responding to a message) unless you have confirmed you are communicating directly with the patient themselves, for example, you have spoken to them on the telephone first.