Local hospitals launch new text reminder service

Patients at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) are now benefiting from a brand new text reminder service, helping them to monitor and keep their clinical appointments as well as access service specific information.

Known as ‘DrDoctor’, this new system launched Thursday 1 August within the Trust’s Ophthalmology, Gastroenterology and Respiratory services. In just four days, the service sent 3,188 text reminders, received 1,665 appointment confirmations and helped 33 patients reschedule their dates.

Using a patient’s registered mobile number or email address, DrDoctor sends out regular reminders for upcoming appointments, while also providing a platform which contains all relevant information, maps and the ability to cancel or rearrange, should they need to.

To help ensure the success of this project, the Trust is asking patients to ensure that their contact details are up-to-date by contacting the reception desk of any service they currently use, as well as their GP practice.

Nationally, around one in 10 appointments made are missed every year in England, costing the health service millions of pounds. Unfortunately, DBTH is within the top 25% of all trusts in the country for patients not attending appointments, recording around 140 missed a day or 50,000 each year. Equating to around £6 million in lost funding annually for the local hospitals, in real-terms this wasted cash is the equivalent of 200 nurses, 747 hip replacements or 22,388 MRI scans.

Dr Mike Whiteside, Physician and Chief Clinical Information Officer at DBTH, said: ““In order to get the most from DrDoctor, it is important that we have your most up-to-date contact details. That way the system will be able to send notifications over text or through email and you will be able to respond in turn.

“Projects such as this are incredibly exciting for the Trust. Ensuring 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 the safest Trust in England, outstanding in all that we do.”

While DrDoctor is being piloted currently in select areas, the Trust intends to roll-out the new system in ENT, Trauma and Orthopaedics, Gynaecology, Obstetrics and Midwifery by 2 September 2019.

The launch of DrDoctor forms part of DBTH’s ‘Digital Transformation programme, a scheme of work which is looking at making the most of new technologies in order to improve patient care, safety, experience and treatment.