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Outpatient appointment reminders go digital

Friday, 31 March 2017

Following the success of the text message reminder service for Noble’s Hospital outpatient appointments which launched last October – the Department of Health and Social Care will no longer be sending reminder letters for hospital outpatient clinics.  Patients will still receive their initial appointment letter by post.

The text message reminder system will now cover all outpatient clinics held at both Noble’s Hospital and Ramsey and District Cottage Hospital.

To make signing up for that text reminder service easier than ever there are now four different ways in which people can opt in. Patients can select one of the following:

  • Telephone phone the dedicated number 651651 or email NoblesSMSRegistration@gov.im providing their name, date of birth, mobile phone number, and confirmation that they wish to sign up to text alerts
  • sign up at the main reception areas in Noble’s Hospital and Ramsey and District Cottage Hospital
  • sign up during their next clinic appointment at either hospital.

The free text reminder service is optional; patients can opt in or out of the service as they wish. Patients signing up to the service will be sent a text reminder three days before an appointment with the time and date so that they have ample opportunity to ensure their attendance or to rearrange if needs be.

There is substantial evidence from the UK and further afield which shows that these reminders play a very successful part in bringing down non-attendance rates at hospital clinics.

Commenting on the extension of the text reminder service, Dr Jugnu Mahajan, Medical Director for the Isle of Man, said:

'With understandable attention being paid to the cost and efficiency of the Island’s health and social care services, it is imperative that we do all we can to keep expenditure under control. Not only is the cost of printing and posting reminder letters proving to be prohibitive, but missed appointments also waste both clinical time and money. This extended text messaging service addresses both these concerns. As we continue to closely monitor the impact of the service I am confident that it will reduce the number of patients failing to turn up to their appointments. That improves performance and the service we offer patients.'

Richard Wild, Executive Director, Government Technology Services, echoed these views. He said:

'This is another important step forward for the Government-wide Digital Strategy, which itself has always had the twin aims of extending the availability of the Island’s digital solutions while ensuring that costs remain under firm control. I am sure we will see this approach continue to grow in popularity.'

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