- 67% of patients respond digitally to appointment bookings in just three months
- Reducing costs: saving 50% on paper and postage
- Delivering on carbon goals for next 10+ years
NHS Dumfries and Galloway (D&G) is pioneering digital transformation for NHS Scotland with joined up services that improve both patient experience and sustainability, using their patient portal. The board’s Sustainability and Modernisation programme, (SAM) was created to modernise health and social care at the hospital and ultimately improve operations whilst ensuring that services would be sustainable and financially viable in the longer term. Most NHS organisations face significant financial challenges, and D&G is no exception.
Part of the SAM programme was to make the best use of technology and to avoid waste of all kinds. So, D&G began to look at digitisation and areas where money and resources could be saved.
With COP26 right on the doorstep, IT Director Graham Gault knew D&G needed to improve their footprint for the next 10-20 years and to reduce how much paper was sent out to patients, to virtually zero.
One area that could make a big impact was patient communications.
Given the successful implementation at NHS Dumfries & Galloway of Netcall’s Patient Hub delivering digital COVID results, which was supported by tangible ROIs, we believed this to be the best-in-class solution available to handle the digital delivery of our patient appointments.
Integrating their cloud-based Patient Hub directly to the PAS meant they could use Patient Hub to send appointment bookings and cancellations by SMS. ‘If there is no response from the patient within 24 hours’, Patient Hub creates letters which the PAS team post out in the traditional way.
At the start, there was a lot of testing to do, and regular meetings with the team. When the PAS team saw patients responding to digital appointment reminders, they realised that they could confirm appointments much faster, or if a patient could not attend they could immediately offer the same appointment to another patient. The system’s dashboard provides clear visibility of the patients attending each clinic. When more departments use the system it will improve utilisation of resources right across the hospital.
An advertising campaign in the local papers, supported by social media, kept the local community informed of the changes and asked them to look out for digital messages.
D&G’s aim is to roll out the new digital system to more departments and to deploy Patient Hub to manage all centrally managed hospital specialties appointments and reminders by the end of financial year 2021/22.
Netcall’s Patient Hub is an integral part of D&G’s move to digital communications and driving recovery in the Board.
- 67% of patients responded digitally
- Even with just a 50% adoption, eliminates the handling of 75,000 letters annually
- Meets near zero carbon goals
- Saves print and postage costs
What’s next for Dumfries & Galloway?
We plan to continue to promote Patient Hub to increase engagement and maximise the benefits Patient Hub offers. We plan to rollout the use of this system to other areas of the health board, further embedding this within our services. Finally, we will begin to explore the additional functionality offered by Netcall to assess the benefits this would offer to us in our local area.