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Text appointment scheme saves over 20,000 GP appointments

An innovative texting system has sent over a million texts to patients in East Lancashire to help them avoid missing their appointments, saving local GPs over 20,000 missed appointments.

MJog is a text messaging service used by many Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and has proven to be of great benefit, resulting in cost savings, improved communications and better patient access.

NHS East Lancashire CCG trialled MJog in 2013, after the governing body recognised the need to introduce more effective ways to communicate and engage with the public. MJog was funded using locality innovation funds, primarily with the aim of reducing the number of people not attending their appointments.

It was first trialled in Burnley with practices sending over 215,660 appointment reminder messages and 67,227 health campaign messages. The usage of the patient messaging service has been the key to reducing communication costs and improving Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF) results across Burnley.

The CCG has since been using the MJog patient reminder system across the significant majority of the 57 GP practices in East Lancashire and has noticed a great improvement in communication to its patients and a massive reduction in DNAs. The message system is not only used to remind patients of appointments, it can inform them of services available to them, test results and also promote health awareness. In 2016, practices sent 455,153 friends and family test questionnaires to patients via MJog as well as over 16,500 test results. It has been used to call just over 14,560 patients using MJog Voice to invite patients for their annual flu vaccination.

In 2016, 1.77 million messages were sent, of which over 1 million were appointment reminders. During last year, the MJog system prevented almost 20,000 missed appointments, through patients who have texted back to cancel. The estimated annual saving on DNAs reduction for 2016 alone was £767,844. By using SMS, email and voice calls to invite patients for annual reviews, there has been a reduction in postage costs which has resulted in practices saving £813,495.

Dr Phil Huxley, Chair of NHS East Lancashire CCG, said, “The MJog service is vital to helping practices reduce the number of patients missing their appointments. It has also helped get key important messages out to target population groups, such as winter campaigns and reminding of the importance of having the flu vaccine. It has increased patient access to services and massively reduced communication costs.”

For more info on the MJog patient messaging service, visit: http://www.mjog.com/products/patient-messaging/