KGH is introducing a new free text messaging service to its patients as a way of reminding
them about their outpatient appointments.
The aim of the service – which starts today (October
17) – is to provide a convenient reminder to patients and reduce the number of
occasions when patients fail to attend their appointment.
It will also mean KGH clinics run more efficiently
– there will be less need to recall patients who have missed appointments – and
the service could save significant sums of money which can be reinvested in
improving patient care.
Assistant Director of Operations for Clinical Services, Jon Green, said: “This
initiative will have two major benefits.
“Patients who, for whatever reason, had forgotten
they had an appointment will be reminded to attend, ensuring they get prompt
treatment or advice about their condition.
“It will also mean that our outpatient clinics are
more efficient and cost effective.
“Unfortunately about one-in-12 people do fail to
attend their appointments and last year we had 23,411 missed appointments at a
cost to KGH of about £3m.
“Evidence elsewhere suggests that text messaging
will help us to reduce our ‘did not attend’ rates in outpatients and provide
better care for our patients by seeing them all promptly.”
So far over 6,200 patients have consented to
receive text messages and this number is growing on a daily basis. The text reminders
will be sent to patients seven days in advance of their appointment.
The message will be a simple reminder of the appointment,
showing the venue, date and time, together with a number to call if the patient
is now unable to keep the appointment.
The message will not include details of the clinic
itself to ensure confidentiality.
Text message reminders are in addition to the
normal written reminder that is sent out three weeks before the appointment
date, to all patients who booked their appointment more than 10 weeks in