A new appointment confirmation service for people attending hospital outpatient clinics will go live next month (August).
In 2012/2013, a staggering 67,085 outpatient appointments were missed at The James Cook University Hospital and the Friarage Hospital – 8% of all scheduled appointments – costing the trust thousands of pounds.
Now from 1 August, patients will start to receive an automated call or text message six or seven days before their hospital visit, asking them to confirm their appointment details.
Deputy director of operational services Ingrid Walker said: “The aim of the service is to ensure as many patients as possible get the care and treatment they need. Essentially we’re providing a reminder as some people may simply have forgotten they’ve got an appointment. Equally, this system also makes is easier for patients who wish to cancel or re-arrange their appointments and, in turn, we can then re-book those places for others.
“However it is important to add that some outpatient clinics are excluded from this service so people should keep – and stick to the dates on their appointment letters – and not just rely on getting a telephone reminder.”
The new service aims to:
- Improve patient services
- Reduce DNA (did not attend) rates
- Provide advanced notice of cancelled appointments which can be re-booked for other patients
- Reduce costs
- Make a positive impact on waiting lists
- Help the trust make maximum use of its capacity
Patients with mobile phones will receive a text message six or seven days before their appointment, while those on landlines will be given the option to confirm or cancel their appointment using an automated system.
Patients who do not wish to receive a reminder should contact the department detailed on their appointment letters.
Some outpatient clinics are also excluded from the service.