Patients waiting to be admitted to hospitals in Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole are being advised to look out for a digital letter rather than one in the post.
We’re going live with digital admission letters for those coming in for treatment as an inpatient or a day case.
Providing we have your mobile number, we’ll be sending a text message with a link to a digital letter, instead of a paper copy in the post, to let you know about your admission to hospital and what you need to do to prepare.
It will save you time as you’ll no longer have to wait for your letter to arrive in the post or call us and wait in a queue to rebook if you can’t make the date; instead you’ll get your admission letter digitally and straight to your mobile phone.
The text message has a link to an online portal where you’ll be able to confirm, rebook or cancel your admission at the click of a button. The system, which is already live for Outpatient appointments, is safe and secure; people just need to put in their date-of-birth and a pin number from the text message to retrieve their letter. Should the digital letter not be opened within 48 hours the system will automatically print and post a copy out to your address.
With digital letters you can also:
- Create a log in for the patient portal so you can view all your letters in one place
- Download a copy of the letter to your device
- Print a copy of the letter on a device of your choosing
- Email a copy of the letter to any email address you require
- Add the appointment/admission date your calendar
- View the letter in different languages and text sizes, and even have it read out to you
Patients who have given their mobile number to us will also benefit from our SMS reminder service – we’ll text you a reminder 7 days before you’re due to come to hospital and again 48 hours before reminding you of the time and where to attend.
The rollout of digital admission letters started last Summer in a small number of specialities – ENT, Oral surgery and Ophthalmology. Now patients under other services will benefit from digital letters too. Starting from today surgery and urology patients will start receiving digital letters, next week it will be switched on in Women and Children’s services, Breast and Trauma & Orthopaedics. Endoscopy services will follow in April.
Phase three of the project will start during 2023/24 and will include Radiology, Audiology, Medical Physics, Cardiology and Community and Therapy services.
Sine we launched the patient portal in June 2021, 66% of patients have accessed it and 77% of patients have opted into SMS messaging services. The trust has since sent more than 650,000 appointment letters digitally which has saved £240,000 in printing and administration costs. Additionally, SMS reminders have resulted in an immediate reduction in DNAs – from 10% to 7% meaning that patient appointments can be reallocated and are not wasted.
George Williams, Project Manager, said: “Our digital letter rollout has proved to be really successful so far; we’ve had great feedback from our patients, the number of people failing to turn up for appointments has reduced and we’ve seen significant cost savings on printing and postage so it’s not just patients and staff seeing the benefits, it’s also supporting our sustainability agenda.
“We do need your mobile number on our records to be able to offer this service, so please make sure we have up-to-date contact details for you.”
Patients have been giving their feedback on the letters. Colin, who is visually impaired, said: “What a revelation! I was able to read a letter addressed to me without needing ‘an outsider’ to read a private and confidential letter to me. Thank you, what a difference this is going to make!
Wendy wrote to us to say how delighted she was with her digital letter. She said: “I just wanted to give you feedback on the patient portal – it is excellent. So easy to use and time saving.”
Patients are being asked to ensure the hospital has their current mobile number by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, address, date of birth and NHS number (if they know it) to update their contact details.
Anyone who does not wish to receive digital communications from the Trust are able to opt out by using the same email address.