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Tower Hamlets PCT uses text messaging to help breast cancer screening

IPLATO : 06 December, 2007  (New Product)
iPLATO's patient care messaging system is supporting Tower Hamlets Primary Care Trust to help increase the number of women attending breast cancer screening clinics.
Supported by the Public Health Team, twenty GP surgeries will use the iPLATO messaging system to send patients timely reminders of their screening appointment.

“We will be using the text messaging system for breast screening appointment reminders in the coming weeks,” said, Virginia Patania, practice manager at the Jubilee Place Practice. “We are looking forward to the opportunity of providing an innovative service that aims to increase the effectiveness of the breast screening programme.”

Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer in Tower Hamlets. One in nine women will develop breast cancer at some point in their life and it is essential that attending a breast screening invitation is regarded as a high priority.

The borough has a culturally diverse population and communicating effectively to all groups the importance of screening is vital for the success of the breast screening programme. With 82 percent of the UK adult population owning a mobile phone, text messaging has proved to be an effective way of communicating with patients.

Ian Basnett director of public health team said, “Crucial to a continued reduction in breast cancer mortality is early diagnosis, as the earlier cancer is identified, the easier it is to treat and the better the prognosis. One way of identifying cancer at an early stage is through screening. Our role has been to commission safe, effective and quality assured breast screening services for the eligible population of the PCT. Public health staff work with the screening provider to encourage women to attend their appointment. We have chosen to test whether text messaging can help with this process and the iPLATO platform has demonstrated success in other areas of public health.”

Eligible women are now being invited from postal codes E1, E2, and E3 to attend for breast screening.

Women interested in this free reminder service should ensure that their mobile number is recorded with their GP surgery.

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