100% of patients found text messaging to be “a most acceptable method” for getting results
After nine months in service the Sandyford Initiative surveyed patients to ask how they felt about getting the ‘all clear’ via text message.
4th October 2005, Glasgow, UK
With their pioneering service the Sandyford Initiative, Glasgow’s centre for sexual and reproductive health, has proven the effectiveness of an SMS text message results service saving time and money whilst improving patient service.
In Nov 2004 the Sandyford Initiative in Glasgow launched a pilot service to help the clinic get ‘all clear’ test results to patients whilst also reducing the pressure on frontline staff answering calls from patients anxious to know their results.
The service has enabled the clinic to provide all patients who have negative results with an ‘all clear’ message. In the past, due to pressure of work, clients had to rely on ‘no news is good news’ or called into a busy phone line. The new service ensures people are aware they are sexually healthy and reduces stress and worry and frustration calling up for results.
The service was launched using SMS text message healthcare market leader txttools, using their browser-based, automated SMS text tool based upon the meditxt application suite, and tailored for specific use in the healthcare industry. The tool integrates with many PAS systems used throughout the NHS. With a cost per text message of just 10 pence, meditxt can be set up to contact patients according to the preferences of the individual healthcare specialist. Any information exchanged will automatically be updated to the patient record, ensuring these are always accurate and up-to-date. While similar services are currently available for General Practitioners, Sandyford is among the first to use automated bulk text messaging for an NHS sexual health service.
Sandyford performs around 1500 sexual infection screens each month and sends out about 1100 ‘all clear’ messages. Sixty-three randomly selected patients who responded to an enquiry text agreed to a short mobile phone interview. All said that texting was acceptable, confidential and would be happy to collect results this way in future.
Dr Andy Winter of the Sandyford Initiative said: “With the majority of the population carrying a mobile phone, 70% of whom actively send and receive text messages; we knew this was an ideal opportunity to increase the efficiency of the clinic and service provision. We believed text messaging to be discreet, and are glad that our patients agree it is acceptable and confidential. We worked with txttools to deliver a system that fits the special requirements of the service. We take care to make sure patients are informed about the text service at the time of testing and seek specific consent to use their mobile number.” He continues “I believe the results of our survey prove that we were right. Our phone helpline is now freed up for people with concerns rather than just getting routine results. Other clinics are now taking great interest in this as they are able to save clinic time, and therefore money, by improving workflow and communications.”
Stephen McCann of technology partner txttools “The technology is now available to potentially reshape the way we communicate simple messages within the NHS. Furthermore, it is proven to have a significant positive impact in other areas of the public sector such as education. By intelligently integrating mobile technology within their existing healthcare IT systems, Sandyford is making the provision of healthcare services more efficient and accessible.”
A full copy of the survey is available on request.
Dr Andy Winter
Consultant Physician in Genitourinary and HIV Medicine
2-6 Sandyford Place
Glasgow G3 7NB
Secretary: 0141 211 8610
“mobile technology helping people to manage their lives”
edutxt is a brand of Cy-nap Ltd, the company was established in January 2001 and is the result of over 14 years of innovation within the technology market.
meditxt® has been developed specifically for use in hospitals, clinics and surgeries.
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