Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) has launched a secure, online digital portal to enable patients to manage their appointments. This initiative was created in order to improve the delivery of healthcare services. The portal also includes a video feature, where patients can attend virtual appointments in an online waiting room.
The new system will allow patients to confirm appointments, view their appointment letter and additional information, send a request to rebook or cancel their appointment, and download the appointment to their device calendar. Patients will receive text messages asking them to click on a link to view appointment letters, and will then be able to manage their appointments online.
Some of the benefits include being more convenience for patients, giving patients an active role in their care, as well as reducing the number of missed appointments, and therefore reducing costs. According to a patient survey carried out by the trust, 70% of respondents preferred to be notified about their appointments via email or SMS.
Dr Tamara Everington, Haematology Consultant, and Associate Medical Director for improvement at HHFT said: “We are hugely excited by this leap forward and we strongly believe that this will help our patients to be better supported in their care.
“We have listened to patient feedback and are focused on making sure patients who come into our hospitals have the best possible experience, from the time they get their first appointment notification to when they have had the care and treatment they need.
“As well as ensuring patient information remains secure, we know that this will be more cost effective for the NHS and help reduce our carbon footprint.”
It forms part of the trust’s plans set out in their digital care programme, aiming to provide an efficient service for patients and staff.
The services available online include paediatrics and dermatology services, with ophthalmology being the first service to go live as a pilot in late 2020. There will be an increase of services brought online over the coming months, including clinic letters, discharge summaries and other care plans.
Alex Whitfield, Chief Executive at HHFT added: “This is just one of the ways we are working towards our vision to provide outstanding care for every patient.
“We are already seeing the positive impact of this work for our patients, and the time staff previously spent on sending out appointment letters is being used to better support patients and make the most of every available appointment.
“I want to thank all the teams involved in making this a success so far, and I am looking forward to continuing to improve patient care through our digital care journey.”