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London GP practices trial automated voice messaging system

IPLATO : 26 August, 2008  (Company News)
Patients of the Bush Doctors and Richford Gate Medical Practice in Hammersmith and Fulham Primary Care Trust are to begin receiving automated voice messages requesting information to update their medical record.
The trial in two local GP practices, enabled by iPLATO, aims to improve the accuracy of core patient data held by GPs. The hope is that patients will like the new system and that it will save doctors time and money. If the trial is a success the PCT plans to roll out the system to 25 other practices using the iPLATO system.

The free service will send an automated voice message to a patient’s mobile asking them to confirm if they smoke or not. The automated messaging service clearly states that the call comes from the patient’s own GP surgery and will also specify who the call is for in case the phone is shared between people within the household. Patients are asked during the call to respond to the question via keystroke on their telephone keypad.

Dr Susan McGoldrick GP at the Bush Doctors “We think our population is ready for this automated voice service as it is a natural extension of the texting service we already offer to people who have their mobile telephone number recorded on the system here at the surgery. In this project we seek to streamline tedious but necessary tasks, such as continuously updating patient records, to free up staff to work with our patient. We know that this method will be more efficient than most other data collection methods so what we are really looking at is establishing patient acceptance and satisfaction”.

Tom Stevenson, spokesperson for the PCT, said, “We are excited about the opportunity to improve communication with our patients through innovative technology. Doctors need to collect information on all their patients’ smoking status every 15 months; but there are plenty of people who won’t see their GP that often. This new system makes it quick and convenient for both doctors and patients, and will hopefully increase the number of people we can offer stop smoking support to.”

The trial is an extension to a series of text messaging services with a similar aim conducted by the surgeries, Hammersmith and Fulham PCT and iPLATO over the last year.
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