Missed appointments at Bassetlaw Hospital cut by text-reminder service

A new text-reminder service for patients has dramatically reduced the number of missed appointments at Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop.

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 11:44 am
A text message from the DrDoctor system for this hospital patient.

Introduced last August, the innovative system, known as DrDoctor, issues messages to mobile phones, so patients do not forget about their upcoming visits to hospital.

To make things even more convenient, an app gives them the opportunity to cancel or rearrange appointments from the comfort of their own homes.

Since its implementation by Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust, which runs the Worksop hospital, the number of missed appointments has been significantly cut. This has saved the organisation more than £53,000 and helped services run much more smoothly.

What’s more, DrDoctor has also enabled 3,900 cancellations and rescheduled dates across 15 departments within the Trust. This, in turn, has freed up slots for other patients to use.

Dr Mike Whiteside, physician and chief clinical information officer at the Trust, said: “Uptake for the system has been incredible so far, and we are hoping to build on its success even further as we go through 2020.

“So that everyone gets the most out of DrDoctor, it is vital that patients supply us with their most up-to-date contact details.

“Then, we will be able to send notifications by text and cut down on even more missed appointments.

“Ensuring that we make the most of technology is key to our future success as an organisation and will undoubtedly help us to achieve our vision to be outstanding in all that we do.”

An example of the success of the DrDoctor system is that the dermatology department saved about £10,000 in November alone because the ‘did not attend’ rate dropped from 11 per cent to eight per cent.

Nationally, about one in ten appointments is missed every year, costing the NHS millions of pounds.

Within the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Trust, about 140 appointments are missed every day, and 50,000 each year.

This equates to about £6 million in lost funding annually for local hospitals. Money that could pay for 200 nurses, 747 hip replacements or 22,388 MRI scans.