United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has managed to cut the number of patients who did not attend (DNA) appointments to 4% after introducing a digital portal.

The portal, provided by Healthcare Communications, allows patients to receive appointment letters straight to their smartphone and can accept, cancel or re-book.

This helps to free up cancelled slots for other patients.

Since the portal’s launch in outpatients at United Lincolnshire, the DNA rate has dropped from 5.8 % in September 2018 to 4.1% in January 2019, which is lower than the national rate of 8.9%.

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.”

As well as introducing digital appointment letters, United Lincolnshire also went paper free in its maternity wards in July 2018.

The system was rolled out in a “phased” deployment over nine months at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston and Lincoln County Hospital, as well as five “satellite” clinics and a number of community sites in Lincolnshire.