A new report published by Vodafone Group suggests that the introduction of a text messaging service reminding patients of their doctor’s appointments could save the NHS up to GBP370 million per year in England alone.
The report, ‘The Role of Mobile Phones in Increasing Accessibility and Efficiency in Healthcare’, contains new research by experts from Imperial College in association with NHS Direct and examines how current mobile technology can increase productivity, improve patient health and enable greater access to healthcare.
The study pointed to potential savings of between GBP240 million and GBP370 million a year to the NHS in England through the introduction of SMS appointment reminders.
Encouraging greater use of mobile technology in UK healthcare, are the results of trials which showed a 30-50% decline in missed hospital and doctors appointments through SMS reminders. Furthermore, a trial into the effectiveness of an SMS support system for young people with diabetes showed a marked improvement in the management of their condition.
Dr Mike Sadler, medical director of NHS Direct, said, NHS Direct has revolutionized patient access to the NHS. Mobile is playing an important part in this. We know that the use of mobile in healthcare is acceptable to the public, and the benefits are available now. However, it is under-utilized at present.
He continued, This report brings together a number of different studies and shows how mobile offers genuine opportunities to address the challenges of healthcare in the 21st century.