One of the largest trusts in England has reduced ‘did not attend’ rates by almost 40% by introducing an interactive patient messaging system from Healthcare Communications, Voice Sage and O2 Health.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust implemented the Patientxt text and voice reminder system for all its outpatient appointments in May.

It saw a 38% reduction in DNAs in the following three months, in comparison with the same period last year. It has also been able to cut outpatient waiting times and reduce the number of clinics it runs.

Patientxt uses mobiles and landline telephones to remind patients of upcoming appointments and enables them to quickly and easily cancel appointments that are no longer required.

Mandy Mugridge, outpatient project manager at the trust, said: “We commissioned this service as part of our ongoing work to bring down DNAs and improve the efficiency of our outpatient clinics.

“We have already been able to reduce the number of clinics we run as a direct result of this project, and our waiting times are coming down as we re-use spare clinic capacity. Because waiting times are coming down, we also no longer need to schedule extra clinics at a high cost.”

The implementation has meant the trust has been able to re-use 1,776 appointments that would otherwise have been wasted. It says that if the success of the first three months continues throughout the rest of the year, it will generate 7,000-9,000 extra outpatient appointments.

Mike Cunningham, director of Healthcare Communications, said: “In today’s challenging economic climate, it is very pleasing to be able to report such a strong return on investment for the trust in a relatively short space of time.”

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