Uses of text messaging
Text messages can be useful in a number of ways, including (but not exclusively):
- reminding patients about appointments (telephone, online or face-to-face)
- sending out important information e.g. about new ways of working during the COVID-19 outbreak
- checking on symptoms and disease progress
- notifying patients that medication is ready to collect
How can I get access to SMS messaging services?
- If your CCG is one that has had a volume based contract for text messaging services, any additional costs associated with the COVID-19 outbreak will be reimbursed. You should not therefore face any restriction on the number of texts you can send. Contact your CCG for more information.
- NHS organisations can also get 25,000 free text messages a year with GOV.UK Notify service. Click here to create an account and watch a video.
- Practices can also use text messaging services from a number of commercial providers. Many of these systems integrate with major clinical systems. They can be purchased by your local CCG or practice, dependent upon contract specifications. You can find out more about integration with text messaging services by visiting the suppliers’ websites.
COVID-19 and text messaging services
During the Coronavirus pandemic, the NHS will send out text messages to people with symptoms of COVID-19. You can find out more about what the NHS is doing here.
The benefits of SMS text messaging
It is essential that practices use an effective method for reminding patients about appointments and online services and new ways of working. Text messaging:
- is cost-effective
- is time-effective
- supports simplified communications
- reduces DNAs
- is environment-friendly
Text messaging services also promote the use of online services, as well as the use of a total triaging model and online and video consultations.
Standard text messaging templates can be created for various scenarios. These are usually coded and provided via service providers.