How many PATCHS slots should you offer patients?

A key feature of PATCHS is the ability to limit the number of requests that patients can submit. GP practices often ask what that number should be. In my experience from using PATCHS, somewhere between the following is idea:

  • Minimum: 12 requests per 1000 patients on you practice list per week. So for a list size of 10k that's 120 PATCHS requests per week. Anything less than this and patients will get frustrated and you won't reap the benefits of PATCHS.
  • Maximum: 12 requests per 1000 patients on you practice list per average working day (i.e. averaged across Monday - Friday). So for a list size of 10k that's 120 PATCHS requests per working day on average. Anything more than this and you risk being overwhelmed and staff going off sick with stress. This is an average figure, so if you were doing 'Total Triage' without limits on the number of requests you received, you would expect more requests on a Monday and progressively less throughout the week. 

The skill is finding a happy medium between the two figures above. Each practice is different, and you will likely have to experiment and tweak until you find a good fit. The good news is you can view patient feedback in real-time (including when patients can't get onto PATCHS) to see how you're doing.

If you're switching from another online consultation system

If you're already using another online consultation system and are switching to PATCHS, then a good rule of thumb would be to take how many requests you receive from your currently online consultation provider on a 'good' (i.e. manageable) day, and just convert those to PATCHS slots.