The NHS is beginning to trial new technology in a bid to reduce missed appointments which will hopefully save to organisation up to £20 million. With the new system, patients will be able to book and manage their medical appointments online. Furthermore, the system will also send reminders through text message and provide hospital maps so that the patient knows where to go for their appointment.
This new technology is an online portal called DrDoctor is to be trialled in ten hospitals, to begin with. The NHS believes that DrDoctor can save the NHS millions of pounds by hopefully cutting the number of missed appointments as well as making it easier for patients to manage their diary and bookings.
DrDoctor will also send digital appointment letters as well as giving patients the opportunity to fill in medical forms before they arrive at the hospital which can save time. After a trial in ten hospitals, DrDoctor will then be trialled in 11 more hospitals to make sure the system is effective in order the make the most of NHS funds.
So far, DrDoctor has shown that hospitals using the tool;
- Notice a saving of £2 million a year
- See the number of no-show appointments falling by a third
- Reduce their postage costs by 25%.
The chief clinical information officer for health and care, Dr Simon Eccles says; “This technology has the potential to be a triple win for the NHS by making life easier for patients, saving money and improving appointment efficiency.”
The Cost Of Missed Appointments
In the year 2017/18, there were over eight million missed NHS appointments, not including ones that were cancelled in advance. As each booking costs £120, this means that over £1 billion appointments were missed which could have provided the organisation with vital funds to conduct life-changing operations.
NHS England is funding DrDoctor though their Innovation and Technology Payment plan which also supports other high-tech projects such as HeartFlow which creates a 3D model of the patient’s heart for image analysis and Endocuff Vision which allows a better examination during a colonoscopy.
Discussing DrDoctor, Matt Hancock the Health and Social Care Secretary explains; “A HealthTech revolution is coming to the NHS. This is a great example of how technology can make life easier for patients and NHS staff, helping more people to access health services from home and ensuring every pound goes further.”
DrDoctor arrives in the second year of the Innovation and Technology Payment plan, a system which has already benefitted over 107,000 patients.