Nationally, around one in 10 appointments made are missed every year in England. DBTH is within the top 25% of all trusts in the country for patients not attending appointments, recording around 140 missed a day or 50,000 each year. Equating to around £6 million in lost funding annually for the local hospitals, equivalent of 200 nurses, 747 hip replacements or 22,388 MRI scans.
In 2018 the Trust, alongside local partners in the NHS and Healthwatch Doncaster, spoke with over 1,600 residents to understand why so many appointments were being missed. Collated into a report published in the same year, around 38% said they had missed a date with the hospital, with many outlining the need for the Trust to implement technology in order to make cancelling or rearranging appointments more accessible.
Leading a team to action this feedback, Emma Challans, Deputy Chief Operating Officer at the Trust, said “Speaking with local residents it was clear that we need to revamp and modernise how we communicate with our patients. Having considered multiple different solutions to address this, we ultimately decided that a digital patient notification service was the right way to go. DrDoctor is incredibly easy-to-use, and will help our patients to make their hospital appointments, or alternatively rearrange them if the time is unsuitable.”
DrDoctor will be piloted shortly in a few areas around DBTH (Ophthalmology, Respiratory and Gastroenterology). After going live in these specialities, the organisation will then be able to roll-out to more services, with the current plan being to have everything in place by the end of 2019.
Dr Mike Whiteside, Physician and Chief Clinical Information Officer at DBTH, said “In order to get the most from DrDoctor, it is important that we have your most up-to-date contact details. That way the system will be able to send notifications over text or through email and you will be able to respond in turn. Projects such as this are incredibly exciting for the Trust. Ensuring we make the most of technology is key to our future success as an organisation and will undoubtedly help us to achieve our vision to be the safest Trust in England, outstanding in all that we do.”