Primary care software supplier INPS has announced that surgeries across England that use its software will also have the opportunity to use iPlato’s patient alert text messaging system, thanks to a strategic alliance between the two companies.

The Vision SMS system, which incorporates iPlato’s patient care text messaging system into INPS’s general practice software, is to be used by a number of surgeries in England for inviting patients to have flu jabs.

“The strategic alliance between INPS and iPlato patient care messaging further extends the functional breadth of Vision,” said Steve Marriott, marketing manager at INPS, previously known as In Practice Systems.

“Vision SMS provides practices with a proven system of improving their efficiency, and at the same time contributes to a more effective and richer patient experience by giving patients timely reminders about their appointments.”

According to iPlato, its SMS patient care messaging system has shown itself able to reduce ‘did not attend’ (DNA) rates by sending patients text appointment reminders.

The company adds that its system can also help streamline the process for GP surgeries to reach targets for QoF (Quality and Outcomes Framework) and effectively offer Directed Enhanced Services.

One existing iPlato user is West End Surgery in Ealing PCT. Practice manager Sharon Shelley said: “Automated text appointment reminders have not only reduced DNA rates but provide an exceptionally cost effective communication method that is greatly appreciated by our patients."

Shelley added that the practice also planned to use the text messaging system t o call patients in for periodic check-ups and screenings.

Tobias Alpsten, iPlato’s managing director said. “Right now primary care trusts and practice-based commissioning groups are looking for comprehensive patient communication platforms that can transform their services across multiple surgeries.

“Vision is the second most used GP system in the English marketplace with an impressive footprint. Our contractual relationships with the leading GP systems in the UK providers give us an unparalleled ability to meet the requirements individual GP surgeries but also those of PCTs and PBC Groups, today and in the future.”