NNUH patient letters set to go digital

A project to make it easier for patients to manage their hospital appointments is being launched, which will see thousands of letters move to a digital platform.

Almost 70,000 letters are sent by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust every month – the equivalent of eight trees worth of paper – from outpatient clinics.

NNUH teamed up with digital health company DrDoctor last year so that some patients under the care of the hospital can request a patient-initiated follow-up appointment via the DrDoctor platform.

The Trust is planning to expand this project by moving all suitable patient letters to the online platform, rather than sending letters in the post.

A pilot project in ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) clinics is due to start in June with other hospital specialities set to follow.

The DrDoctor platform works with the NHS App, which will enable patients to view their upcoming appointments in one place and to request, change or cancel appointments using the online portal. It will also help patients prepare for a hospital visit with clinic and location information, including Google maps, as well as being able to add appointments to personal phone or email calendars.

Patients who are unable to access the online platform or prefer paper letters, will continue to receive appointment letters through the post.

Chris Cobb, NNUH Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are pleased to be working with DrDoctor on this project, which means patients can view their letters quickly and easily in one place. It will help to reduce confusion from lost letters, or if they arrive in the wrong order, and will make the patient experience smoother.

“As well as benefits for patients, this service will help to reduce our environmental impact and provide a better value for money by reducing the amount of paper and postage costs.”

Patients will receive a text message from the Trust from DrDoctor with a link allowing them to view and download their letters on their mobile phone, tablet, or computer. It is anticipated that around 80% of our patients can be contacted by text or email.

Patients are advised to make sure their mobile number and email address is up to date with their GP surgery to ensure they can access the online platform and get digital letters.

DrDoctor is working with more than 30 NHS Trusts across the country to modernise how hospitals and patients communicate and work to the highest standards set by the NHS for protecting the healthcare information of UK citizens.

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