Topic AI Questions

Gwynneth Derere
Gwynneth Derere
  • Updated

Topic AI Questions allows you to choose different questions and questionnaires to ask patients when they submit a Patchs request that contains a topic picked up by Topic AI.

You can choose from over 90 different clinical topics, and use any template questions and questionnaires stored in Patchs - either our standard ones or ones you've created yourself.

When patients are asked to complete a questionnaire by Topic AI, they can decline to answer it if they think it is irrelevant to their request. This is because research evidence and our own experience shows that patients will not use online consultations if they are asked too many irrelevant questions.


Default settings

There are certain questions and questionnaires we recommend as standard. Please note some of these will trigger the Urgency and Signpost AIs if certain answers are given by patients. 

Where possible, we try to recommend questionnaires that have an extensive evidence base and usage in clinical care (e.g. PHQ-9, asthma control, FeverPAIN).

Topic Default question or questionnaire Urgency + Signpost AI triggers
ADHD ADHD self report scale questionnaire Nil
Alcohol AUDIT Nil
Anxiety GAD-7 questionnaire Nil
Asthma Asthma control questionnaire  Nil
Autism Autistic Spectrum Quotient questionnaire Nil
Back pain Back pain red flag questionnaire Emergency - if patient has any red flag symptoms
COCP COCP Review Nil
COPD COPD Review Nil
Cough Cough questionnaire Emergency - if patient says they are breathless
Depression PHQ-9 questionnaire Emergency - if patient answers positively to final question about self-harm or suicide 
HRT HRT Review

Urgent – if results suggest stage 2 hypertension i.e. systolic blood pressure is 150 mmHg or higher, or diastolic blood pressure is 95 mmHg or higher.

Emergency – if systolic blood pressure is 170 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure is 115 mmHg.

Periods - Heavy (Menorrhagia)


Periods - Heavy (Menorrhagia) questionnaire


Emergency – if the patient answers ‘Yes’ to the question: ‘Do you feel short of breath after doing normal activities?’

Urgent – if the patient answers ‘Yes’ to:

  • ‘Are you currently pregnant?’
  • ‘Do you bleed in between periods?’
  • ‘Do you bleed after having sex?’
Sleepiness Epworth Sleepiness Scale Nil
Snoring Epworth Sleepiness Scale Nil
Knee pain Knee pain score questionnaire Nil
Medication review Medication review questionnaire Nil
POP POP Review Nil
Prostate IPSS questionnaire Nil
Rash Attach photo + warning Nil
Sick note Sick / Fit note details questionnaire Nil
Skin lesion Attach photo + warning Nil
Skin lesion Skin lesion questionnaire Nil
Smoking Smoking status questionnaire Nil
Sore throat FeverPAIN questionnaire + Attach Photo (tonsils) question Urgent - if patient scores 4 or more on the FeverPAIN questionnaire

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) - male or female


Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) – male or female questionnaire


Emergency – if the patient answers ‘Yes’ to: 'Can you see blood in your urine?’

Urgent – if the patient answers ‘Yes’ to the following questions (and ‘no’ to the above question):

  • Are you feeling more confused?
  • Do you have new pain in your side or upper back?
  • Do you feel like you want to be sick or have you actually been sick (vomited)?
  • Do you have a high temperature (fever)?
Vaginal discharge Vaginal discharge questionnaire Nil

Change question order 

You can change the order in which questions and questionnaires are asked to patients (if a topic is predicted by Topic AI) by dragging them up and down the list.



Add new question

You can add your own questions or questionnaires by using selector on the right of the page. These include any of our standard Patchs message templates and any you've added yourself as a practice.

Depending on your practice settings you may see two additional options when adding a new question:

  • 'Patients can decline to complete these questions if they think it’s not relevant to their request'. This will be ticked by default so patients can decline to answer the questionnaire if they think it's irrelevant to their request. If you untick this box, patients have to complete the questionnaire to proceed. If you untick the box please be aware that research shows that patients may abandon their request and: 1) Submit another request with different answers so it is not picked up by Topic AI, which is a risk because you will not know the patient’s true symptoms, 2) telephone your practice causing queues and creating delays in care for both themselves and others, 3) Not seek care at all.
  • 'Apply to all requests'. If you tick this option the question will be asked to all patients every time they submit a request. For example, if you want all patients to answer questions about their smoking status or alcohol intake you can tick this box for the ‘Smoking status’ and ‘AUDIT-C’ questionnaires.

Each question or questionnaire is only asked once in a request. For example, if different topics trigger the same quesiton or questionnaire and they are all triggered by Topic AI in the same request.

Clinical safety

Please note, you are responsible for the clinical safety of any questions or questionnaires you add. However, gathering further information from patients via questions is felt by our Clinical Safety team to be safe, as long as you do not also give the patient information, for example signposting to other services.

This is because Topic AI isn't currently linked to Urgency AI - so questions and questionnaires will be triggered by Topic AI regardless of the urgency of the patient request - though we are working on adding this in future.

Please also note, because Patchs AI is not 100% accurate (nothing is), that Topic AI may:

  • Predict topics that aren't there (false positives) - meaning patients may be asked questions or to complete questionnaires that aren't relevant (though they can decline to answer them).
  • Miss topics that are there (false negatives) - meaning patients may not be asked questions or to complete questionnaires you'd like them to (though you can ask the patients the questions or questionnaires manually by sending them a message from a template).

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