Text message reminder service helps reduce missed appointments

31/01/2014

A free appointment reminder/confirmation service has been introduced to help reduce the number of missed appointments.  Over 500,000 new and review outpatient appointments take place each year in our hospitals, but last year over 50,000 appointment slots were wasted by people not attending.

Belfast Trust makes over 500,000 new and review outpatient appointments each year across our acute hospital sites. In 2012 – 2013 the percentage of patients who did not attend (DNA) for their appointment was 8.0% for new patients and 12.6% for review patients. This resulted in over 50,000 appointments slots being wasted, which could have been filled by patients who are on waiting lists for appointments.

In order to reduce the number of missed appointments, a free appointment reminder/confirmation service has been introduced. Reminders are made using an automated telephone call or text message. By providing reminders to our patients of forthcoming appointments, we hope to reduce the number of missed appointments and allow patients to re-schedule to a convenient time.

If patients prefer not to be reminded about their appointments, they can opt out at anytime by informing the receptionist or one of our Appointments Centres.

To date over 100,000 appointment reminder messages have been sent to patients. 22 hospital specialties now use the reminder service, with a further 20 specialties to be implemented later this year.

If you would like more information please contact:
Joanna McQuillan, Service Improvement Manager
joanna.mcquillan@belfasttrust.hscni.net