Secondary Care

Text messaging service benefits University Hospitals of Leicester

University Hospitals of Leicester has reduced its did not attend rates by 433 from January to mid-March thanks to introducing a new two-way text messaging service.

The service using technology from Healthcare Communications was introduced to remind patients of their forthcoming appointments or pre-operative assessments, where patients have provided Leicester’s Hospitals with their mobile phone number they may receive a text reminder a week before their visit to hospital for an outpatient appointment or clinic.

The automated text message allows patients to confirm, re-book or cancel their appointment by responding to the text. The patient can reply to the message which will be accessed by the individual booking teams, waiting list teams or the Booking Centre who will respond to the message where this is required.

The estimated total savings between January and mid-March for the Trust is over £65,000.

Andrew Furlong, Medical Director at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “We were pleased to launch this two-way approach to help improve patient experience at the beginning of this year. The aim is to enable our patients to be reminded of their appointment or conveniently let us know if there are difficulties for them in attending. This means when patients need to cancel their appointment we can then reallocate to other patients to help us reduce waiting time and improve use of precious clinic slots.”

“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. Patients who may be interested in receiving a text message in the future can also talk to their nurse or a staff member about how to receive them.”

The two-way text system went live for all of our outpatients clinics in December 2018 and has a 92% coverage for all out patient clinics.