NHS Trust going digital

More than 75,000 patients of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust are now able to receive their appointment notifications and reminders via email rather than traditional post, as part of a new partnership with Xerox.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust sends out more than 1.5 million pieces of post a year related to patient appointments. The project aims to cut this number dramatically by giving patients greater choice in how the Trust communicates with them.

It is estimated that by the end of the year, 150,000 Trust patients will have signed-up to receive appointment correspondence and alerts electronically.

Streamlining initiatives like these are important in helping the UK Government realise it’s digital NHS vision by 2020.

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Andrew Morrison, U.K. managing director, Xerox said: “Through our work with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust we aim to strike a balance between streamlining the paper process through automation, and helping the Trust transition to a digital future. The ultimate aim is to find the most effective way for the Trust to communicate with its patients and in doing so help to reduce the number of missed appointments.”

This digital strategy is also cost effective and will help save the Trust an expected £1 million over four years on postage costs.

How will it work?

Xerox’s software will check if a patient has consented to email based communication and then automatically sends out an email if the patient has opted in, if not a letter is sent.

The Trust, among others, has also started to use self-check in kiosks across its clinics to secure patient’s’ further this move away from paper-based communications.

For those patients still choosing to receive postal appointment details, the mailing process has also been streamlined.

Using its secure shared delivery centres, Xerox has created a centralised, digital resource for postal mail management to ensure that all patients receive correspondence without delay or error.

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By identifying incorrect or incomplete mailing addresses before letters are posted, Mailmark barcode technology tracks letters to ensure patients receive appointment details in time.

“This is a very exciting development for the Trust and more importantly our patients – many of whom have expressed a desire to receive correspondence electronically in the past,” said Kevin Jarrold, chief information officer, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

“We are already seeing the positive impact this programme is having on patient experience, making it more effective and personal from the onset. We’re looking forward to building on this success and making electronic appointment correspondence available to more patients over the next few months.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...