Blog 25 February 2022

Patient appointment communications tech in the spotlight with launch of new framework

by Lynley Meyers


NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) has launched a new framework that focuses on pre-and post-appointment communications technology for patients and citizens.

Framework in a nutshell

The Patient/Citizen Communications and Engagement Solutions framework aims to support NHS organisations with digital tools to improve patient pathways, engagement with patients, and appointment management.

This framework is designed to support NHS trusts to procure technology for one- and two-way comms for patients and citizens. It includes all digital communications, such as email, SMS, interactive voice response (IVR), agent calls, hybrid mail, surveys and feedback.

So, what does this mean for potential NHS buyers of patient portals or integrated contact centres? Below we explore the positive outcomes for patients, staff, and their NHS organisations:


Teams that are held back with paper-based manual systems can’t make real efficiency gains. This new framework is aimed at supporting their need for faster clinical and administration efficiencies. It’s about more than productivity, too. Your teams perform better when digital-first supports hospitals to automate mundane work at every level.
You might feel Patient Portals are for patients. In reality, when they are fully integrated into your patient flow, they help with much more:

  • Booking centre teams empowered with an integrated digital view helps patients rebook, fast. They can rapidly refill that freed slot from a waiting list.
  • Clinic Receptionist can manage the flow of their patients in real-time. They can help work around delays patients may experience in other departments.
  • Team stress from overbooking is reduced and the patient wait experience improved.
  • Clinicians can make the most of their limited time. They can use the instant digital updates to direct resources and reduce the wasted time from missed appointments and improve clinician utility as more patients can be seen by the right clinician, at the right time.

And the benefits also include better resource utilisation at every level. Improved staff morale and utility. Real-time data that gives you a greater level of certainty in your planning. Every day!

NHS Trusts

In Dec 2021, 6.07 million people were on the English waiting list for pre-planned NHS treatment. That’s more than one-tenth of the population! The pandemic is causing this much-debated figure to increase. NHS England is working to find solutions to tackle this burden.  With Referral to Treatment (RTT) targets, hospitals want to know that they can work constructively to solve their challenges.

  • Prevent the 1-in-3 on-the-day theatre cancellations
  • Stop the clock on RTTs as you respond to patients’ requests to delay appointment allocation
  • Gain +70% patient digital engagement and reach 100% of patients through the channel of their choice
  • Manage departmental referral according to their resources and capacity
  • Save valuable clinical time – offer patients self-service peri-operative surveys. They’re likely to answer more accurately in the comfort of their homes.


Open patient access with a secure digital patient portal. It’s easy to use for instant self-service. You’ll improve their experience and empower them with digital appointment notifications, reminders, waiting list validation and perioperative surveys. The integrated systems ensure that they receive all relevant letters, documents and surveys digitally.

  • +70% of patients will benefit from digital first access, it’s quick and easy for them to confirm, request a rebook or cancel any appointment.
  • Remove confusion as you direct patients to virtual appointments with a button click. Appointments take place on time.
  • Secure digital letter delivery. No more copies to lose, it’s all on their smartphone.
  • Improve inbound call experience. Deep integration provides booking advisors with a single view for faster resolution.

Integration and interoperability are high on the NHS agenda. Making the most of all channels and legacy equipment delivers a holistic inclusive approach. You can give 100% of patients their preferred engagement channel of choice. Surely a win-win for everyone?

Netcall is delighted to be one of the suppliers awarded on this framework. Our Lot 9 listing offers an all-in-one solution to manage all communication channels. Our patient portal, Patient Hub, provides hospitals with unified end-to-end patient engagement. It helps staff work more effectively and your hospital can utilise every appointment and meet its targets.

Please get in touch today and ask how we can support you taking advantage of this framework with Patient Hub.

Patient Hub

Patients can book and reschedule all appointments, whether in person, on the phone or via video through a self-service portal. Meanwhile you get a real-time view of attendance and resource allocation.

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