Mobile messaging could save the NHS millions of pounds in missed appointments, new research shows.
A new study conducted by researchers at Lancaster, Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities, found that out of 500,000 people, one in five regularly missed healthcare appointments. Appointments made two to three days in advance are most likely to be missed by those aged 16-30 and over 90, the study showed.
A white paper from SMS messaging provider Textlocal shows that there are nearly 80 million active mobile phones in the UK. The State of SMS paper highlights that an SMS reminder could be sent to patients in advance, reminding them of bookings and allowing recipients to quickly cancel or change appointments.
The paper shows that 90% of text messages are opened within three minutes of being received and that 98% are read by the end of the day. The State of SMS also found that consumers regard SMS as an informational tool emphasising how GP surgeries could utilise it to inform patients about appointments.
Jason Palgrave-Jones, managing director of Textlocal, said: “Embracing the influence and ease of SMS could reduce wasted appointments and literally save the NHS millions. As well as sending automated reminders and the opportunity to reschedule, the NHS could go one step further and use text messages proactively, such as reminders for flu jabs – as we all know, prevention is better than a cure.”