How to spread demand

In an ideal world, you would complete all patient requests on the day they were submitted. But sometimes that just isn't possible. For example if you have staff of sick or you are particularly busy.

Instead, one approach is to spread demand over the coming weeks:

1. Block slots for clinical staff to use PATCHS in their appointment calendars in your clinical system (e.g. EMIS, SystmOne). This is recommended in our Key principles of using PATCHS article. In our practice we block one appointment per request and book the patient into that slot. We've created a 'PATCHS' appointment type with a different colour so it's easy to distinguish. The number of slots you book per clinician session depends on what you think you can cope with as a practice, which you may want to link to your request limiter settings.

2. Routine and Admin / Med requests can then be booked in future appointment slots as necessary, and don't all need to be dealt with the on the same day. The important thing here is still to initially respond to the patient to let them know when they should expect a response from a clinician. This could be a holding message from a receptionist e.g. 'Thank you for your message, as this a routine request a GP will contact you next Wednesday morning. Please expect a message or phone call from a withheld number'. You can read more about how to initially respond to patients on Patchs in this article.

👉 New feature! Booked slots - you can now do this by assigning requests to future dates in your Patchs inbox and notifying patients automatically!

3. Urgent requests should be dealt with sooner. See our advice on triage here. If you have Urgency AI switched on, it can help your staff identify which requests these may be.