Blog 19 July 2019

Missed NHS appointments: help patients stop wasting money

by Jonathan Rapley


19th June, 2019

DNAs cost the NHS more than £1.2 billion every year

It’s no secret that the NHS is under significant budget constraints. Staff shortages mean patients wait longer for treatment. Recent NHS statistics say while 87% of patients wait 18 weeks for treatment, for some it’s 52 weeks! Hospitals struggle with appointment management and meeting the 92% target. So, it’s sad to see 8 million possible appointments being missed. Helping patients remember to attend, or reschedule, their appointments is a real battle. The mission to reduce DNAs continues.

Reduce DNAs and stop wasting patient and staff time

DNAs (Did Not Attends) are a waste of staff time. And, they stand in the way of sick people from being seen. This costs our amazing NHS an unjustifiable amount of money! We need every available appointment filled.

John O’Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said “Any trusts still relying on letters in the post for appointment management should look to methods used elsewhere that are cutting missed appointments and saving taxpayers’ cash”.

“Here, here!” says everyone at Netcall.

The government is driving forward digital transformation of health and social care. Each missed outpatient appointment costs £160. When we reduce DNAs it makes a big savings contribution.

Professor Jane Cummings, retired Chief Nursing Officer for England, said “The money wasted could fund 1 million more cataract operations or 250,000 hip replacements”.

A more reliable and personal experience

Most patients are used to today’s technology. They expect the hospital to make it easy for them with appointment reminders — to make it simple and quick for patients to confirm, rebook or cancel. And, they want to do this on a bus, or sitting in front of their PC in the evening.

It’s more than just the appointment data and time. Outpatient appointments are typically at a new place, so patients need to know what to do beforehand, where to go and what to bring. It’s easy to forget, so a handy download on to a mobile reduces any patient stress.

It’s hard work to ensure every available appointment slot is used. Digital means hospital booking centre teams can monitor appointments in real-time, seeing which patients have confirmed, cancelled or asked to rebook. Clinics can be adjusted. Staff levels re-balanced. 

For hospitals, ease of use is important, but reliability and security are essential. Plus, the system must enable productivity by freeing up staff. All of this equates to significant, ongoing savings.

Sound like it’s too good to be true?

We’ve been successfully helping NHS Acute trusts remind patients about their appointments for years. It was time for a full digital experience. Together with them we’ve designed and launched our ‘Patient Hub’. This portal handles appointment confirmations, rebookings and cancellations. And much more. There are no user names or passwords to remember. It’s secure and easy to access for patients with two-factor authentication. Patient Hub has three main goals:

  • Improve the patient experience
  • Reduce DNAs
  • Make substation cost savings for hospitals

Patients using the Hub feel more informed and in control. The hospital booking process is streamlined. Clinic utilisation is improved.  Everyone is closer to enabling clinicians and staff having more time to focus on patients.

Patient Hub also offers secure two-way communications between clinical staff and patients. Patents can receive or complete a range of forms, such as:

  • Pre-op assessments
  • Discharge questionnaires
  • Friends and family tests
  • Copy letters

Soon Patient Hub will also enable ‘Virtual Waiting Rooms’ and online consultations. These will help save time and reduce unnecessary trips into the hospital.

Is it time to streamline your process?

Isn’t it time for you to look at new technology, too? Opening this digital portal for patients will streamline your hospital booking process and improve your clinic utilisation. This transformation can save costs and staff time whilst improving patients experience at the same time.

Learn more about our work for the NHS or ask us for a demo today.

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