Barking & Dagenham Surgeries are to use the iPLATO mobile messaging system for health promotion and patient appointment reminders.
Barking and Dagenham Primary Care Trust has offered the iPLATO Patient Care Messaging platform to their GP surgeries.
Funded centrally by the PCT, the service will be used to help address important public health concerns such as smoking, flu and childhood immunisations and obesity.
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The system works by integrating with the GPs' clinical system where patient records are stored. Surgeries can use the clinical information they hold to target specific patients for health promotion campaigns.
To achieve optimal uptake of the free service, surgeries will be encouraging their patients to hand in and update their mobile contact details.
Dr J John, GP at the King Edwards Medical Centre, and one of the 13 practices who have already signed up to the Patient Care Messaging system, said, "I see this service as a great tool for the support of efficient health promotion campaigns. This service has the potential to increase significantly the number of patients attending clinics, as well as saving on surgery administration costs."
Participating surgeries will also benefit from the automated appointment reminder functionality of the text messaging system. Patients will automatically receive personalised text reminders at a set time before their appointment, which they can reply to if they need to cancel.