Waikato DHBMonday 16 July 2012, 3:32PM
Media release from Waikato DHB
When Waikato Hospital booking clerks' team leader Tracy Henderson
clicked the send button on her new text messaging account at 9.15am
today, 217 people around the Waikato had instant text reminders of
their clinic appointments at the hospital on Wednesday.
It's the latest initiative to lower did not attend clinic rates
which cost Waikato DHB more than $1.6 million annually.
While text reminders are commonplace for things like hair
appointments, the logistics of introducing it in Waikato DHB where
there are more than 106,000 outpatient attendances every year,
meant the project needed good planning and execution.
Waikato DHB utilised New Zealand company Dialhog to introduce the
Dialhog has extensive experience in the New Zealand public health
sector and already supplies texting services to Counties Manukau,
Waitemata, Bay of Plenty, Capital and Coast, Taranaki and Southern
DHBs. In addition BreastScreen services in Auckland, Waitemata,
Northland, Counties Manukau, Midland, Coast to Coast and Southern
also use the email-based technology.
Director Chris Lewis today said when Counties Manukau implemented
text reminders, did not attends reduced by 20 per cent.
"We also surveyed patients on their acceptance of the text
messaging as a way of communication. The response was
overwhelmingly favourable with 99 per cent reporting high
satisfaction," he said.
Earlier this year when Waikato DHB ran an information evening for
the public to give feedback on their experience of attending
outpatient clinics, text message reminders was top of the
Jo-Anne Deane, assistant group manager for ambulatory care and
external liaison is leading the planning for the September move of
most Waikato Hospital clinics into the $130 million Meade Clinical
"The session looked specifically at customer service within an
outpatients' setting so we can understand what is important to our
patients when they attend clinic appointments," she said.
Running parallel with the project, booking clerks have changed
their processes to proactively update outpatient information. That
includes asking them about text messaging options.
"The 217 texts we sent today represented only 36 per cent of the
appointments we have at Waikato Hospital on Wednesday," said Ms
"So from now on we'll be printing out patient details and asking
them to update them while they wait."