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Barking and Dagenham PCT surgeries adopt iPLATO text messaging service

IPLATO : 22 November, 2007  (New Product)
Barking and Dagenham PCT patients are to begin receiving health promotion information and appointment reminders to their mobiles phones via text message.
Barking and Dagenham Primary Care Trust has offered the iPLATO Patient Care Messaging platform to its GP surgeries after evaluating the benefits of using mobile technology as a targeted and highly responsive way of engaging with patients.

Funded centrally by the PCT, the service will be used to help address important public health concerns such as smoking, flu and childhood immunisations and obesity. The system works by integrating with the GPs’ clinical system where patient records are stored.

Surgeries can use the clinical information they hold to target specific patients for health promotion campaigns and send groups of patients text message invitations to clinics. To achieve optimal uptake of this free service, surgeries will be encouraging their patients to hand in and update their mobile contact details.

Dr J John, GP at the King Edwards Medical Centre, and one of the 13 practices who have already signed up to Patient Care Messaging said, “Mobile phones are used by a lot of our patients and so text messaging is an effective way to communicate with them. As a doctor with a special interest in CHD, I see this service as a great tool for the support of efficient health promotion campaigns. This service has the potential to increase significantly the number of patients attending clinics as well as saving on surgery administration costs.”

Participating surgeries will also benefit from the automated appointment reminder functionality of the text messaging system. Patients will automatically receive personalised text reminders at a set time before their appointment, which they can reply to if they need to cancel. The feature is integral to helping reduce missed appointments while enhancing patient access.

With an estimated 82 percent of the UK adult population owning a mobile phone, once fully launched, the participating surgeries will be able to reach a significant number of their patients through this scheme.
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