Barnsley Hospital is introducing a new technology which allows patients to receive appointment letters directly to their mobile phone.
The new electronic patient letters will be issued to all outpatients who have registered a mobile phone number with the hospital.
The new system greatly improves the patients experience, patients can confirm, cancel or rebook their appointment with one click. Once confirmed, the appointment can be added directly into the patient’s digital calendar reducing the risk of forgetting their appointment, they can also save the letter to their phone or email it to print it off.
Patients receive a text to their mobile phone with a secure link and 4-digit PIN. To access the letter patients simply click the link to their secure access page and enter the PIN and date of birth and their appointment letter appears. As well as their appointment date and time the letter also include pre-assessment instructions, essential reading and hospital information.
The system is safe and secure and can only be accessed with the PIN and the patients date of birth. As an extra security measure, if the link isn’t accessed within 48 hours the letter will be deleted and a paper letter automatically sent to the patient.
If patients don’t have a mobile phone, or their number isn’t registered with the hospital, a paper letter will be issued in the post. Patients can nominate a trusted relative or carer to receive their electronic letters to their phone on the patients behalf. In the cases of paediatric patients, the child’s parent or guardian will receive the letter on their behalf .
Tom Davidson, Director of ICT at Barnsley Hospital, said: “We are really excited to launch this new system. It will greatly improve and simplify the appointment process for patients using our Outpatient Department and give them the opportunity to easily cancel or rearrange appointments if needed. The electronic letter also has an audio facility which reads the letter out for patients who need it and it can be translated, in writing or audio, to a wide range of languages at the touch of a button.
“Alongside the electronic letter we will still continue to send text reminders to patients 7 and 3 days ahead of their appointment.”
From Monday June 5 all new outpatient appointments will be issued using the new system. Existing appointments will not be affected. Outpatients will be given a provisional future appointment date at their next visit to the department, 6 weeks prior to the provisional date it will be confirmed via the electronic letter sent to the patients phone.
If patients would prefer a postal appointment letters they should make staff aware who will update their communication preference.