Introduction Previously patients testing positive for infections received a text (SMS) asking them to contact clinic. Often this led to missed calls, anxiety and delays in both communicating results and treatment. In June 2016 the wording of the text was changed to include the name of the infection and advice regarding how to access treatment.
Methods We identified all patients attending our service with chlamydia or gonorrhoea infection between April and December 2016. We excluded those who had received treatment prior to confirmation of their test result (e.g. symptomatic, contacts of infection) and those who did not receive a results text. We reviewed the records of 200 consecutive patients (100 before and 100 after introduction of the new text) and compared time to treatment in the two groups.
Results Old text recipients median time to treatment was 2 days (d)/mean 3.3 (range 0–24d). New text recipients: median time to treatment was 2d/mean 3.9d (range 0–26d).
Discussion Naming the infection in texts has not led to a reduction in the time to treatment but the median time to treatment in both groups was short. Our health advisor team report anecdotal benefits following the new text including less time spent answering telephone calls therefore allowing more time for patient contact, beneficial since depletion of the health advising workforce. Additionally patients have been happy to agree to the text change in advance with a reported reduction in anxiety knowing the name of the infection.