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DrDoctor trial confirmed

NHS England has confirmed a new trial of the online portal DrDoctor is scheduled to be in place across 11 new sites by March 2019. The tool, which could save the NHS as much as £20m, will enable patients to book and change medical appointments online, receive text reminders and access maps showing them where in a hospital they need to go.


NHS England expects DrDoctor will slash the number of missed appointments as well as making it easier and more convenient for patients to make and manage bookings. Patients can also fill in medical forms before they arrive using the system and receive appointment letters digitally.


DrDoctor is already used in ten hospitals including Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Frimley Health NHS Trust. Already hospitals using the tool are saving up to £2m through a reduction in missed appointments as well as a fall of almost one third in the number of appointments where patients fail to attend. Postage costs have also been cut by more than a quarter. 


The tool will be trialled at NHS sites specially selected to test the impact of DrDoctor across a variety of hospitals, from small specialist sites to large inner city hospitals.


Dr Simon Eccles, chief clinical information officer for Health and Care, says: “As the NHS develops its long term plan we will be looking to new technology to drive improvements in patient care and improve our efficiency.


“This technology has the potential to be a triple win for the NHS by making life easier for patients, saving money and improving appointment efficiency.”


Almost eight million hospital appointments were missed, or ‘did not attend’, in 2017/18, according to the latest figures. That does not include appointments cancelled in advance by either the hospital or the patient. With each hospital outpatient appointment costing the NHS approximately £120, that could mean almost £1 billion worth of appointments were missed, equivalent to 257,000 hip replacements or 990,000 cataract operations.


Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock says: “A HealthTech revolution is coming to the NHS. This is a great example of how technology can make life easier for patients and NHS staff, helping more people to access health services from home and ensuring every pound goes further.


“I want the UK to have the most advanced healthcare system as the world - and so we intend to transform the NHS into an ecosystem for enterprise which simultaneously brings pioneering treatments to patients and allows innovators to thrive.”


Dr Sam Roberts, Director of Innovation and Life Sciences at NHS England, says: “The NHS is always open to new technologies and today we have put our money behind our intentions by directly funding these tools.


“Promising innovations often struggle to gather the evidence they need to enable their rollout in the NHS, which is why it so important we have programmes like this to allow us to gather the evidence we need to help spread the use of new technologies that can save money and improve care for patients.”


DrDoctor is being funded by NHS England through NHS England’s Innovation and Technology Payment programme.