Published on: 5 June 2018

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East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust is introducing a new technology which allows patients to receive appointment letters directly to their mobile phone.

The new electronic patient letters will be issued to all outpatients who have registered a mobile phone number with the hospital.

The new system greatly improves the patients experience, patients can confirm, cancel or arranged to rebook their appointment with one click. Once confirmed, the appointment can be added directly into the patient’s digital calendar reducing the risk of forgetting their appointment, they can also save the letter to their phone or email it to print it off.

Patients receive a text to their mobile phone with a secure link and 4-digit PIN. To access the letter patients simply click the link to their secure access page and enter the PIN and date of birth and their appointment letter appears. As well as their appointment date and time the letter also include pre-assessment instructions, essential reading and hospital information.

The system is safe and secure and can only be accessed with the PIN and the patients’ date of birth. As an extra security measure, if the link isn’t accessed within 24 hours the electronic letter will be deleted and a paper letter automatically sent to the patient.

If patients don’t have a mobile phone, or their number isn’t registered with the hospital, a paper appointment letter will be issued in the post. For paediatric patients, the child’s parent or guardian will receive the letter on their behalf.

John Bannister, Director of Operations at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are really excited to launch this new system. It will make the appointment process easier for our patients giving them all the information they need at their fingertips. The system is interactive enabling instant control to accept, cancel or rearrange appointments, as well as the ability to translate the letters in to multiple languages. Overall it is a better, much smoother system which will enhance the patient experience.”

Starting Wednesday 6 June 2018, all new general outpatient appointments will be issued using the new system. Existing appointments will not be affected. Outpatients will be given a provisional future appointment date at their next visit to the department, six weeks prior to the provisional date it will be confirmed via the electronic letter sent to the patients phone.

Further clinics, such as therapies, radiology and audiology, will be added to the system as it is rolled out throughout the organisation.

If patients would prefer a postal appointment letters they should make staff aware who will update their communication preference.