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Healthcare text messaging system reduces missed appointments

Healthcare text messaging system reduces missed appointments

Wellington, 8 December 2010 - Primary healthcare provider Te Runanga O Toa Rangatira (Ora Toa) has seen missed appointments reduced by half and health outcomes improve for patients after the introduction of Vensa Health's TXT2Remind system. Ora Toa PHO is using the practice-patient messaging system to deliver health appointment reminders, health promotion, medication reminders and recalls direct to patients in Porirua and regions.

Ahmad Jubbawey Chief Executive of Vensa Health says, "A key in improving healthcare outcomes is ensuring people receive timely health reminders and attend health appointments at the right time. It's great to see our system have such a positive impact for Ora Toa."

Maureen Collins-Lucic Practice Manager at Ora Toa PHO says, "We can't imagine not having this technology now. It's such an easy and effective way to communicate with patients, and, for an increasing number of people text messaging is the preferred method of communication. The technology has been particularly good for our youth population, and for many of our patients who do not have access to a landline."

Ora Toa's enrolled population, 75% of which are Maori and Pacific Islands, receive messages for a wide range of health services including tamariki ora (well child checks), health promotion, whanau ora (family health), womens health, diabetes, podiatry, cardiac, asthma, and immunisations.

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Collins-Lucic says, "We've seen a real improvement in immunisation for under 2's, HPV and the flu. We've also seen more people attend breast and cervical screening, diabetes and cardiac checks. These screening processes all require reminders and follow-ups, and we've found text message is the most effective way to reach people."

Collins-Lucic adds that for text messages where a response is required, they're around 6 times more likely to get a response if the message was sent via text message. "The results are particularly pleasing as our enrolled population is seen as hard to reach. A text message is an immediate form of communication, but it's not disruptive. Some people who work cannot receive personal calls during the day, but they do need to be contacted."

The system is now an integral part of the way Ora Toa communicates with patients to assist with health issues and help them develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Health promotion messages can also be sent to patients.

Jubbawey says Vensa Health focused on making their system very easy to implement and use to help both primary and secondary health providers achieve the best health outcomes.

"We are a nation with very high mobile usage and healthcare organisations can leverage off this method of communication very effectively to achieve better response rates. Our system helps providers support the government's priority health targets such as immunisations for under 2's, better diabetes and cardiovascular services and improved access to elective surgery. We've seen we can help make impressive improvements in these areas."

Collins-Lucic says the system is useful for notifying patients of unforeseen schedule changes at short notice. "It's a good mechanism, if for some reason one of our GPs is sick, and we need to reschedule. It saves people turning up and finding their GP is not available."

Ora Toa PHO has practices in Cannons Creek, Takapuwahia, Mungavin and Poneke.


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