Text Reminders to Cut Missed Appointments

The Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, are piloting a text message “reminder” service to help reduce the number of missed appointments by outpatients.

The Hospital send text messages to all outpatients prior to their appointment reminding them of the time and location of their appointment, as well as a number to call if there is a problem.

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust says thousands of pounds are wasted every year on missed clinics.  In 2008 a total of 37,289 outpatient appointments were missed at the hospital without prior notice – the equivalent of just under nine per cent of all appointments scheduled.

The month-long pilot, which has been running for two weeks, is already being hailed a success. Karen Murray, project lead, said: “Even if we just prevent 20 missed appointments we have had a success and it will pay for the setting up of the service. We view this as a long term exercise – it could be used for other things such as letting people know that their results are available.”

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