Outpatients across 29 of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) services are now able to access their appointment letters digitally, as the Trust continues to make information more accessible to its patients.
WWL partnered with digital health company, Dr Doctor, and document control company Synertec towards the end of last year, with more than 19,000 letters accessed digitally since its launch, a figure which currently makes up more than 50% of total appointment letters for the services involved.
Digital Letters is helping to improve patient experience by introducing quicker access to appointment information via a secure, online patient portal at www.nhs.my/wwl.
Patients will receive a text message (and email if requested) with a link when they have a new appointment letter, which will then take them to a secure portal to view and download appointment letters to their mobile phone, tablet or desktop computer – they can also log in from any device by visiting www.nhs.my/wwl.
Patients who prefer paper letters can still receive them in the post as usual. There are also safety nets in place to ensure a paper letter is still available if a patient does not access their digital letter.
The benefits of Digital Letters are that patients are more likely to attend appointments as the letters are more accessible. By utilising Digital Letters the Trust is likely to see a reduction in late cancellations of appointments. There are environmental savings to be made, as implementing Digital Letters saves the CO2 equivalent to planting 85 trees per year (based on the initial 20 services).
Speaking about the success of the Digital Letters service so far, Director of Strategic Transformation at WWL, Karlyn Forrest said:
“Digital Letters has been helping to improve patient experience from the moment we launched the service. The feedback we have received so far has been extremely positive and the easier access and efficiency of the online portal has received particular praise.
“This innovative approach to communication with outpatients is helping us to reduce the number of cancelled or missed appointments, and by gradually going paperless, we are able to continue to reduce our carbon footprint and additional costs to the Trust.
“The use of Digital Letters is important to our post-COVID recovery programme and our efforts to see patients who have been waiting for appointments as soon as possible.
“Now that we have 29 of our services active with Digital Letters, it’s really important that people make sure their contact details are up-to-date, which can be done easily through the web address, when contacted by the department, or on arrival at reception at any of our sites.”
For more details about Digital Letters, you can visit www.wwl.nhs.uk/digital-letters.