NHS Shetland is using modern technology in a bid to reduce the significant number of missed appointments where patients don’t show up.
A text messaging service has now been launched for Lerwick Health Centre, but plans are already afoot to roll out the service across other health board areas in the isles.
Patients can now receive a reminder via text message 48 hours prior to their appointment, which also provides a number to call in case the appointment is no longer needed.
Shetland health board hopes the initiative will help them to cut down on the number of ‘did not attends’, or DNAs.
Lerwick Health Centre suffers from a particularly high number of lost appointments due to patients failing to turn up.
The health board’s service manager for primary care, Lisa Sutherland, said: “Lerwick Health Centre has a large number of DNAs and approximately 125 appointments per month were lost over the last six months.
“This obviously impacts on availability of appointments and we are keen to reduce the number of DNAs to improve patient access.”
Text message reminders have proved to be very successful in other health board areas where the number of ‘did not attends’ have been reduced by 70 per cent.
Anyone who would like to use the new service is asked to contact the practice in Lerwick.
Patients will have to give consent for their mobile number to be used for the reminder service. No patient information will be given out via text messaging.
NHS Shetland chairman Ian Kinniburgh said: “This new service is a real ‘win-win’ for patients of the NHS at a time when we need to make the most of all our available resources.
“I hope that as many patients as possible take advantage of the service and look forward to rolling it out across other areas in future.”
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