NEW: Text Reminder Service
Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has introduced an automated appointment reminder service today for patients with outpatient appointments and for admissions.
Patients whose mobile numbers the hospitals holds will now receive a text reminder in the days before their appointment/admission. The two-way automated message will allow patients to confirm, re-book or cancel their appointment by responding to the text
Where patients require hospital admission they will receive a reminder text only and a contact number should they need to cancel.
Where patients’ mobile phone details are not recorded or where they do not have a mobile phone they will receive an automated phone call to their landline. If they do not respond to either a mobile or landline message then a reminder letter will be posted out.
Responding to a text message will cost patients their standard text message rate. The service operates via a secure NHS approved connection between us and the third party company (Healthcare Communications). No patient details (name, address, hospital number, gender), extend beyond these points. The third party company do not have access to view your information, as it is stored on a secure server. It is impossible for you to be identified from the message.
It is hoped that this enhanced, multi-option service will help to reduce the number of DNAs (Did Not Attend) which in 2016-2017 reached over 57K missed appointments. This meant that patients who were on waiting lists lost the opportunity to be seen earlier by taking up a cancellation. Each missed appointment costs the NHS approximately £160 and therefore the overall loss to the Trust in just this one year was over £1million.
New Chief Operating Officer Chris Evans said “We are delighted to introduce this enhanced service for our patients which we hope will help them attend or provide a timely prompt to reschedule or cancel allowing us to release the appointment to another waiting patient.”
“As it is multi-level, ie defaulting to alternative phone or post reminders, we are able to ensure that everyone is reached and reminded in a way that suits them best.”
Patients can opt out of the reminder service if they wish by replying to the text or by informing staff when they attend for their next appointment. Reception staff will continue to check that patients’ contact preferences are recorded at each visit.”
The appointment reminder service is provided by Healthcare Communications, the same company that provides the Trust’s Patient Experience surveys and which has seen response rates increase significantly and enable real-time reporting at ward and service level.