13 July 2012
Islanders who have outpatient appointments at the hospital and in some areas of mental health services will benefit from text message reminders about their appointment from 18 July.
The text message reminder service was trialled successfully in both the Hospital’s Colposcopy Unit and Physiotherapy Department, and significantly reduced the amount of people who did not attend appointments.
The message sent to patients will say 'Please remember your appointment at (time) on (date). If you cannot attend please contact (telephone number).'
The service will be provided by JT. Messages will be sent at approximately 11:30 each day, and be sent 3 working days before someone’s appointment. They will not replace appointment letters which are already sent, but will be used as a reminder.
Michelle Cabot, ICR project manager for Health and Social Services said "We know that when we trialled the service in the Colposcopy Unit, our Did Not Attend (DNA) rate reduced by nearly half. We have also successfully used the service in our Physiotherapy Department, and it is great for patients that we can roll this out so they remember appointments, and beneficial for staff, so clinics run smoothly.
"Although patients can opt out of the scheme, we would urge Islanders to take up these reminders, which cost them nothing. We would really like people to also let us know their mobile numbers if they haven’t given them to us already, so we can send them text message reminders about their next appointment."
Currently, the DNA rate for outpatient appointments within HSSD is at about 10 per cent and it is estimated that each DNA appointment costs the department at least £70, as the appointment slot is empty.
Ms Cabot added "It is hoped that the introduction of the text messaging system across all departments will improve patient care, as people won’t miss their appointments and it will also save wasted appointment slots. It is really important for people to ring us and let us know if they are unable to make an appointment so that we can re-book someone into the slot."