Spryng and Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis: sending SMS messages together turns out to be the solution for the “no-show” problem
“No Show!” A structural problem for the health sector in The Netherlands. Research has shown that between 5% and 10% of the appointments made in Dutch hospitals are not followed up on. Patients simply forget their appointments. Of 27.2 million polyclinic visits which take place every year, between 1.36 and 2.72 million appointments are not followed up on (source: Prismant). Since an average polyclinic visit costs € 152, the result is a loss of around three hundred million euros. These costs cannot be reimbursed.
However, the damage is not just of financial nature. The worker process in the health care sector is disrupted seriously by the “no-shows”. “No-show” contributes, among other things, to an increase in the labor intensity in the health care sector. It goes without saying that this has a negative impact on labor productivity.
The core of the problem is that consumers and producers of health care do not sense incentives to practical and economical use of health care. Spryng provides this incentive, simple but adequate. By using the “SMS reminder” system, the patient will receive a text message in advance that reminds him of his appointment.
The power of this product lies in the simplicity of the system. By sending a simple SMS reminder of the agreement made, the “no-show” is greatly reduced. By using the “SMS reminder” system, the “no-show” has reduced by at least 59% and in some cases even by over 70%.
OLVG is one of the innovative providers, who works with the “SMS reminder” system. They want to actively reduce the “no-show” problem. Thus, the system is widely used throughout the hospital since a few weeks. Since the SMS reminders are sent automatically, the staff does not have to spend time on this anymore. This automatic transmission is possible because the connection with Spryng is integrated into the hospital information system of McKesson.
The implementation of the SMS application in McKesson was realized quickly. Huib-Jan Kwakernaak from McKesson emphasizes this by stating the following:
“The pleasant cooperation with Spryng and the associated short lines made the SMS implementation in the Onze Lieve Vrouwen Gasthuis a success. The technical support and response time stood out.”
The simplicity of this implementation lies in the encoding. The HTTP(S) API connection of Spryng is similar to the link of a website: one line of text, containing the phone number, the message and all other required information for the SMS message. An IT professional can ensure that the software converts every outgoing message into an HTTP API call, after which it is sent through the internet to the Gateway of Spryng. Here, the “link” is translated into an actual text message, after which it is sent to the client by a local provider.
The list of benefits is great:
Apart from the great financial return that will be achieved, the “SMS reminder” system ’ increases the capacity of treatment rooms, doctors and other staff tremendously. Waiting times and waiting lists are thus minimized. The accessibility of hospitals are also increased by using the “SMS reminder” system. Verifying information about an appointment by phone belongs to the past, since patients are already informed about the appointment time, date and location through the appointment reminders by SMS. Furthermore, it turned out that patients, who received a text reminder, experienced it as a special service of the hospital and highly appreciate this special service.
The health care industry needs to innovate in order to be sure of affordable, accessible and quality health care over the coming decades. Therefore, the use of mobile telephony, for making the health care in the Netherlands more accessible and efficient, is a must. The message is clear for the other hospitals: Make a minimal investment, as OLVG has done, and minimize expenses. This will also be highly appreciated by patients.