Brigstock Medical Practice, part of Croydon PCT, has introduced an automated text-based appointment reminder service that has reduced their DNAs by a third in its first few months – the equivalent of releasing 14 additional weeks of consultations.
The service delivers text reminders direct to a patient's mobile phone 24 or 48 hours before an appointment, improving client care and facilitating communication.
Following this success, the practice is in the running for a Management in Practice Award, in the "Innovation in Technology" category. Competition is fierce, with practices across the UK demonstrating real achievements to the benefit of patients in all categories.
Prior to introducting the text-based reminder system, the busy medical practice, based in Croydon, was experiencing 90 missed appointments a week – the equivalent of losing almost an entire working week for one GP.
Dipti Gandhi, Partner at Brigstock Medical Practice, said: "We have a patient list of 11,500 and patients regularly failed to attend appointments. We initially wanted to reduce 'no-shows' within our private healthcare clinics and reduce the obvious loss of income these represent."
The SMS service works by sending patients a personal text reminder two days before their appointment, which includes the patient's name, date and time of their next appointment.
As a result of the system's success over a short period, the practice decided to extend its use to include their NHS patient appointments as well.
Lesley Collins, Practice Administrator at Brigstock, says: "Patients usually volunteer their mobile number when they call to book their next appointment, and we have seen an increase in the number of registrations since we began providing the service – 99% of patients approve, and many text us back commenting on the 'excellent service' or just to say 'thank you'!"
"We've recently started sending text reminders with AppointmentSMS.com, and have been very happy with the reduction in DNAs" – Kathy, London