Chesterfield Royal Hospital improves appointment system for patients

Netcall is providing a digital portal to Chesterfield Royal Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to offer patients 24/7 access to their appointment information from early 2020.

The appointment booking process is often frustrating for patients. Letters can get lost in the post, arrive after the appointment is due to take place or the time is not convenient and then has to be rescheduled over the phone. Then there’s the queue for the call to be answered – all of which contributes to a poor patient experience and missed appointments.

Across the NHS missed appointments, or do not attends (DNAs), cost over £1 billion per year. Trusts have looked at a variety of ways to reduce them, from sending out letters in the post to calling and texting patients with appointment reminders.

Giving patients’ control

The Trust’s decision to adopt a digital solution will give patients control over their own appointments – helping to reduce DNAs. Its secure online portal Patient Hub – will provide one place for patients to go to self-service appointments from their mobile, smart phone or computer. They’ll be able to confirm, rebook or cancel appointments and access other important information.

The Trust’s Director of ICT and Informatics, Ian Hazel comments: “This development is about giving our patients an improved experience and more control over their appointments and how they manage them. Patient Hub integrates with our booking and telephony systems, making it more convenient for patients and faster for staff to manage a rebooking or cancellation. Reallocating freed appointments to other patients shortens their waiting time and reduces DNAs. The Trust is committed to going paper-light, where it means better care and services for patients. The digital portal is expected to cut our postage bills in half when it goes live.”

Secure and easy to use

Patients will access the Patient Hub using key details personal to them, to activate a confirmation link that will be sent by SMS or e-mail. They’ll receive an instant notification when an appointment is booked and will be able to access other supporting information – like maps and medication details. They will also be able to view letters and messages, update their profile, complete surveys and download important correspondence such as pre-operative guidance.

Ian Hazel continues: “Netcall’s Patient Hub is really easy to use and it’s a real transformation – the first step in our journey towards a patient-held health record. It will help our teams ensure that every available appointment is used wisely and, supporting efficiency and enabling savings.”

Mark Holmes, Chief Sales Officer at Netcall comments: “We are delighted to continue our strong partnership with Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to fix the handling of appointments, now with our new Patient Hub. We have a really strong heritage of working with Trusts to treat the problems with their processes. The appointment process is a key area that can see big savings, quickly. Using our own low-code technology we’ve been able to offer hospitals a faster and easier way to make this happen. Not only will the portal make life easier for patients across North Derbyshire to self-serve, but it will also reduce the admin and cost burden on the hospital. Chesterfield Royal is one of a number of Trusts working with Netcall who are already experiencing up to a 40% reduction in DNAs. That’s a huge saving.”

See more on Chesterfield’s portal here.