Computer-based Patient Appointment Reminder
Computer-based Patient Appointment Reminder. In the UK alone, the number of missed appointments is estimated to cost NHS hospitals ?600 million (E 870 million) a year. Simple forgetfulness is one of the main reasons given for non-attendance. To curb the problem, hospitals can now rely on Reminder Time, a fully integrated computer-based appointment reminder service. This two-way communications system integrates with the hospital or surgery's database and interacts with seven different clinical data systems. It reminds patients about their appointment by sending an email, SMS text or voice message in any one of 16 languages to the patient's home telephone line or mobile phone. It is unique in that it processes the response and is the first such service to offer landline messaging. The patient selects a day and time for the system to remind them of their appointment. They can acknowledge and accept the appointment time or if they cannot attend, cancel and rearrange. Reminder Time can select the next free appointment from the clinic or surgery's system and offer that. Meanwhile, the system reschedules the freed appointment, which can then be offered to another patient. It picks up appointments from the patient administration system automatically, without manual intervention, and manages the responses from the messages sent out. The only data extracted from the database are the appointment time and the contact information. All the results can be viewed on the surgery's and clinic's extranet. The service is free to the patient. The financial cost savings to any operator can be considerable and very tangible. Surgeries and clinics using the patient appointment reminder service have already experienced a 68 percent reduction in the number of missed appointments. Furthermore, the cost of approximately E 0.75 per reminder is far below the total expense incurred when choosing the traditional method of sending out a reminder letter.Currently, the system is fully operational in the UK in Durham and Central Manchester, Chesterfield and Derby with several other hospital trusts across the UK now showing interest. So far, around 20 000 messages a month are already going out for hospitals and surgeries using the service. Given that General Practitioners in the UK are remunerated for every patient who attends special clinics, the computer-based system can be used to raise awareness of childhood vaccination, influenza immunisation, secondary prevention exams and anti-natal clinics. It can also help with the coordination of home visits. Furthermore, its multilingual facility means that doctors can reach isolated ethnic communities.The appointment reminder is also being exported, with the first system going operational in Dubai and the Arab Emirates in August 2006 sponsored by the Jordanian Health Minister, and into Europe with the first system to be installed in Switzerland in October-November 2006 followed by Austria and Germany.
Reminder Time Ltd