Gloucestershire hospitals are using text to remind patients about upcoming appointments, in a bid to reduce “no shows”.
It is hoped that the move will significantly reduce the number of people who don’t turn up for treatment, which is costing Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS foundation millions of pounds every year.
Between August 2008 and January 2009, 18,706 appointments were missed in Gloucestershire hospitals. This equates to over £1 million lost and wasted each year through “no show” appointments.
Linda Bingel, project manager for the new service said “Each appointment a patient doesn’t attend without informing the trust is a waste of valuable time and resources, that could benefit another patient.”
Bingel continues “It is hoped that the new text reminder service will help increase outpatient efficiency and contribute to an overall reduction in waiting lists.”
Patients are reminded by text message only after giving consent for their mobile phone number to be used. Appointment reminder messages are sent 10 days before the booked appointment and then another three days later. The text includes useful information regarding the appointment date, time and location.
Frontline staff including ward clerks, outpatient receptionists and the booking office team will be involved with setting up a database of mobile phone numbers for the scheme.
Why use SMS Text in the Healthcare Sector?
Textlocal work with a number of NHS trusts to reduce the number of missed appointments and improve efficiency. Sending a text or automating it with booking systems is incredibly easy to integrate.
If a text can reach a patient and successfully remind them of their appointment, then vital time and money will have been saved. Also, at only a few pence a text, a text messaging service won’t break the bank!
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