Digital outpatients appointment letters

From April 2019, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will begin to introduce electronic patient letters starting with some outpatient clinics at the Royal Preston, Chorley and South Ribble District General Hospital and the Specialist Mobility and Rehabilitation Centre.

Patients who have a mobile phone number registered with the Trust, will be offered their letter digitally. If the digital letter is not accessed within 24 hours or no mobile number is held, then a postal letter will be automatically sent and the digital letter deleted.

This new way of working will mean that patients will be able to view all of their appointment details on their smartphone, tablet or computer as well as being able to cancel or confirm the appointment in one-click.

Not only can patients view all their appointment details on their smartphone, tablet and computer, they can also cancel or confirm the appointment in 1-click. Once confirmed, the appointment can then be added directly into the patient’s digital calendar as a further reminder too.

How does it work?

The system is safe and secure and can only be accessed with the PIN and the patients’ date of birth. As well as the appointment date and time, the letter also includes any pre-assessment instructions, essential reading and hospital information as attachments.

Frequently asked questions

Q: If someone has my phone can they access my letter?

A: The patient portal features an additional level of security in that Date of Birth verification is required to access your appointment letter.

Q: If I delete the text by mistake after I have opened it up how will I remember my appointment date?

A: As well as the initial appointment communication, we will also operate an appointment reminder service to ensure patients remember the key details of their upcoming appointment. Once you have confirmed your appointment on your phone it will automatically link to your mobile phone calendar and we’ll also send you a reminder text closer to the time of your appointment.

Q: Can I opt out of receiving it?

A: Patients can opt out of text messaging at any time by speaking to a member of staff when arriving for your hospital appointment.

Q: What happens if my phone isn’t working on the day of my appointment and I can’t access the digital letter?

A: The same procedure should be followed as if a patient has not brought their physical letter to an appointment. Turn up at the hospital and book in on the self-check machines using your DOB.

Q: What happens if I cancel my appointment on my phone?

A: The staff in the hospital will contact you to arrange a new date

Q: When will a physical letter be sent out if a patient does not access the digital letter?

A: If you do not access your letter on your mobile phone for whatever reason within 24 hours of receiving your text link, the system sends you a postal letter, which you should expect to receive within two days.

Q: Can I use my phone to check in when I arrive at the hospital?

A: Yes, all of the self-check-in machines within the hospital will be set up to access the 2D digital letters.