NHS Trust sees patients numbers who miss appointments drop following portal launch

A digital communication portal has been cited as a reason behind the reduction in the number of patients who did not attend (DNA) – potentially saving the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust hundreds of thousands of pounds each year.

The Trust saw the amount of appointments when the patient did not attend fall to 4.1% – one of the lowest in the country. The portal enables patients to manage their appointments from their smartphone

Developed by Healthcare Communications, the digital portal is replacing a resource-heavy system that relied on traditional letters to communicate with patients. Since the portal’s launch in outpatients, the DNA rate has dropped from 5.8% in September 2018 to 4.1% in January 2019, compared to the national rate of 8.9%.

Through the portal, patients receive appointment letters straight to their smartphone and can accept, cancel or rebook their appointment in real time, freeing up cancelled slots for other patients.

Kelly Wymer, ICT project manager from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “In the space of only a few months, we have seen incredible results from the portal. Patient feedback has been excellent with many keen to use it and support a more digital NHS.

“By relying on traditional letters alone to communicate with patients, we were using a lot of resource and incurring high costs. The portal has resulted in better performance across the entire patient pathway, so we can focus on patient care.”

The portal has seen postal letters reduced by 23,000 year-on-year while the ROI from September to December 2018 was 57%. There will also be a reduction in future capital costs as folding machines will no longer need to be replaced.

Kenny Bloxham, director of Healthcare Communications, which has been working with the NHS for 18 years said: “Switching to a multi-channel, digital-first contact approach means patients can be reached in a way that best suits them. It’s great to see the way both patients and staff have embraced the secure digital portal – with patients able to cancel appointments in real time, so appointments can be used by other patients.”

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