Background/introduction When setting up an appointment-based specialist GUM service within our walk-in community sexual and reproductive health service we took the opportunity to send patients their appointment details by text message rather than letters. We also send reminder texts prior to the appointment, in an attempt to reduce “Did not attend” (DNA) rates.
Aim(s)/objectives To estimate associated cost savings and patient satisfaction with the use of texts instead of appointment letters.
Methods Cost saving calculations considered costs of sending texts relative to stationery and postage and a time and motion study to estimate relative staff costs. DNA rates 6 months before and after the implementation of the text reminder service were compared using Fisher’s exact test. A satisfaction survey of a random sample of patients attending the booked GUM clinics included basic demographic questions and questions about the use of appointment and reminder texts.
Results There was an estimated cost saving of 88p per appointment.
Discussion/conclusion The use of text messages instead of letters has saved the clinic money and time, and is popular with patients. Our Trust offers 500,000 outpatient appointments per year. If only half of those were booked by text instead of letter, the trust could save more than £220,000 per year.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.