Known as ‘DrDoctor’, this new system initially launched on 1 August within the Trust’s Ophthalmology, Gastroenterology and Respiratory services and has so far sent tens of thousands of messages, reminding patients about upcoming hospital dates. The system has been so successful that the Ophthalmology service has seen missed appointments reduced by more than half in just four weeks.
On Tuesday 1 October, clinicians at DBTH rolled out the system further to all services, including: General Surgery, Audiology, Vascular Surgery, Geriatric Medicine, Diabetic Medicine, Bariatric Surgery, Pain Management, Haematology, Cardiology and Rheumatology, in addition to the eight specialities that were already using it.
To help ensure the continued success of this project, the Trust is urging patients to ensure that their contact details are up-to-date by contacting the reception desk of any service they currently use and checking details via electronic kiosks upon arrival at the hospital.
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 and you will be able to respond in turn.”
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 Whiteside continued: “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.”
DrDoctor is the result of a three month long engagement which took place in late 2017 asking why local people miss hospital appointments.