Trust tackles missed appointments | Latest news

Trust tackles missed appointments

Almost 50,000 people failed to turn up for their outpatient appointment at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust last year.

This figure equates to 8% of all appointments and means that not only is the Trust wasting resource to run clinics where patients do not attend but other patients are missing out on the opportunity to see a clinician.

In an attempt to try and combat some of this the Trust has introduced a text messaging system to not only remind patients about their appointment but also give them the opportunity to more easily amend it.

Jo Halliwell, Deputy Director of Operations at the Trust, said: “We appreciate that sometimes people are unable to keep their appointment and need to change it, but many patients simply forget. We’re hoping that reminding them by text will be much more effective. It is an instant way of communicating, which more and more organisations are using.

“If we are aware in advance that a patient is not able to attend we can give the appointment to another patient, ensuring we are fully utilising the resource already assigned to run the clinic.”

Patients receive a text seven days before their scheduled appointment asking them to confirm, request to rebook or cancel their appointment. For patients who do not have a mobile phone the message is sent to their landline and it allows them to respond with the same options. A further reminder with the appointment details is then sent 48 hours before their appointment.

The Remind messaging system is currently being used alongside the traditional appointment letters which are sent to all patients confirming their appointment when it is booked, and then a reminder letter two weeks prior to their appointment.

“We saw positive results,” continued Jo, “when we ran the pilot across three of our services, we saw the number of patients not attending their appointments reduce by almost 5%.”

Although the number of mobile phone numbers recorded for patients on the hospital systems has seen a significant increase in the last year, it is requested that all patients ensure their details are updated and confirmed at every contact with any of the hospital services.