From Wednesday 6 June 2018, East Lancashire Hospitals will begin to introduce electronic patient letters starting with the some outpatient clinics within the hospital.
Patients who have a mobile phone number registered with the hospital, will be offered their letter digitally. If the digital letter is not accessed within 24 hours or no mobile number is held with the hospital, then a postal letter is automatically sent and the digital letter is deleted.
Not only can patients view all their appointment details on their smartphone, tablet and computer, they can cancel or confirm the appointment in 1-click. This can then be added directly into the patient’s digital calendar as a further reminder prompt.
How it works?
The system is safe and secure and can only be accessed with the PIN and the patients’ date of birth. As well as the appointment date and time, the letter also includes any pre-assessment instructions, essential reading and hospital information as attachments.
Patient experience greatly improves with several features:
- Patients can access their appointment information anytime and anywhere by smartphone, tablet and desktop. Details can be emailed and printed off too.
- Appointments can be cancelled with 1-click, so it’s much more likely for patients to communicate intentions, releasing appointments for waiting list patients.
- The appointment can be added directly into the patient’s digital calendar to reduce the risk of forgetting their appointment and keep their treatment on track.
- Work out travel plans with a live home to hospital Google map with real time travel times.
- Add speech, reading and translation options to digital text. The letter content can be read aloud in multiple languages to the patient too!
- Receive hospital communications by their preference; patients less confident with technology will still receive the traditional postal letter
Rather than having to wait for letters to arrive or rebook by phone, digital delivery is instant and patients can now see and control their appointments at the touch of a button. With an appointment booking system now responsive to patients’ ‘on the go’ lifestyles, the Trust believe that there is potential to further reduce nonattendance and wasted appointments too; meaning patients can be seen quicker and services run more efficiently.
Frequently asked questions
Q: If someone has my phone can they access my letter?
A: The patient portal features an additional level of security in that Date of Birth verification is required to access your appointment letter.
Q: If I delete the text by mistake after I have opened it up how will I remember my appointment date?
A: As well as patient portal communications, the trust operates a handy appointment reminder service to ensure patients remember the key details of their upcoming appointment. Once you have confirmed your appointment on your phone it will automatically link to your mobile phone calendar.
Q: Can I opt out of receiving it?
A: Patients can opt out of text messaging at any time by speaking to a member of staff when arriving for your hospital appointment.
Q: What happens if my phone isn’t working on the day of my appointment and I can’t access the digital letter?
A: The same procedure should be followed as if a patient has not brought their physical letter to an appointment. Turn up at the hospital and book in on the self-check machines using your DOB.
Q: What happens if I cancel my appointment on my phone?
A: The staff in the hospital will contact you to arrange a new date
Q: When will a physical letter be sent out if a patient does not access the digital letter?
A: If you do not access your letter on your mobile phone for whatever reason within 24 hours of receiving your text link, the system sends you a postal letter, which you should expect to receive within two days.
Q: Can I use my phone to check in when I arrive in the hospital?
A: All the self check-in machines within the hospital have been set up to access the 2D digital letters.