As part of its recently launched Digital Future strategy, Noble’s Hospital has introduced a new service to send outpatient appointment reminders by SMS text message.
Messages will be sent three days before an appointment with the time and date so that patients have ample opportunity to ensure their attendance or to rearrange if they need to.
There is substantial evidence from the UK and further afield which shows that these early-warning reminders play a very successful part in bringing down non-attendance rates at hospital clinics.
The outpatient team at Noble’s Hospital has been talking to outpatient attendees to ask if they wish to sign up for the new service, updating patient contact details at every face-to-face encounter.
The vast majority of clinic appointments are now able to offer the text message reminder service. However, the service is optional; patients can opt in or out of the service as they wish. Any patient who has not been asked about or has not consented to the SMS service will not receive text reminders.
The message service is in addition to the existing means of communicating with patients, who will continue to receive appointment letters by post.
Commenting at the launch of the new service, Dr Jugnu Mahajan, Medical Director for the Isle of Man, said: “Missed appointments mean clinical time is wasted which could be used by another patient and also leads to financial inefficiencies. The new text messaging service is aimed at reducing the number of ‘missed appointments’ and maximising clinic capacity. We will be closely monitoring the impact of the reminder service and hope it reduces the number of patients failing to turn up to their appointments. I am confident that this new service is going to play a key part in improving services for patients.”
Also speaking at the launch, Richard Wild, Chief Information and Digital Officer, added: “This is another step forward for the Government-wide Digital Strategy, with its goal of improving the quality of public services for everyone in the Isle of Man. This text-based service can be used for other parts of health and social care – and more widely too – so I’m sure we’ll see this approach continuing to grow in popularity.”