This text reminder service for Doncaster Hospital will hopefully reduce the thousands of missed appointments

A brand new text reminder service is helping patients at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals to keep their clinical appointments and lower the shocking statistic of 50,000 missed appointments each year.

By Sally Burton
Tuesday, 13 August, 2019, 12:56
New text service for DRI appointments

Known as ‘DrDoctor’, this new system that launched this month within the Trust’s Ophthalmology, Gastroenterology and Respiratory services, gives further information too.

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 reminders for upcoming appointments, while providing a platform that contains all relevant information, maps, and the ability to cancel or rearrange, should they need to.

To help ensure its success, the Trust asks patients to ensure 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, and it costs the health service millions of pounds.

Unfortunately, DBTH is within the top 25 per cent of all trusts in the country for patients not attending appointments, recording around 140 missed a day, or 50,000 each year

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This equates to around £6 million in lost funding annually for the local hospitals, which in real-terms 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, the Trust intends to roll-out the new system in ENT, Trauma and Orthopaedics, Gynaecology, Obstetrics and Midwifery by the beginning of 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.