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GP practices in Scotland can reduce DNAs with 2-way text messages

Written by Steve Marriott on 23-Jun-2017 08:26:40


A recent pilot study1 showed that just under 40% of patients in Scotland missed one or more appointments during a 3-year period and 10% missed three or more appointments.

When a single missed appointment costs in the region of £1002 the cost of DNAs is massive. They also waste clinicians' valuable time when they are under immense pressure to satisfy the demand for appointments.

An update to Vision helps GP practices in Scotland to make more appointments available to their patients, and increases the potential to save time and money with SMS text messaging.

Text messaging is an increasingly popular way to remind patients about their appointments and to send call/recall invitations. It is a fast and effective way to communicate with your patients. Now your patients can reply and send text messages straight into Vision for a fraction of the cost of similar solutions - just £300 per year.

Reduce DNAs and increase capacity

When Vision sends appointment reminders by text message your patients can now reply to tell you they no longer need the appointment or can't attend. Vision will automatically cancel the appointment and make it available to other patients. This simple way for patients to cancel their appointments at any time of the day (or night) helps to reduce DNAs.

The first GP practice to use Vision's 2-way text messaging received 14 cancellations in the first two weeks. Importantly, nine of these were rebooked saving £900 and helping the practice to increase its capacity for in-demand GP appointments. In effect, it paid for itself within the first few days.

Quicker calls/recalls

Sending QOF call/recall invitations by text message is much cheaper than making phone calls or sending letters. Now your patients can reply by text message to decline their invitations and Vision will record a Read coded response straight into their medical record. You no longer need to manually intervene or add Read codes for these patients, saving valuable administrative time.

Easy patient feedback

Your patients can also respond by text message to outbound questionnaires at practice, local or national level, quickly and at their own convenience.


The software costs £300 per year for 2-way text messaging features using the National EE contract.

Find out more about text messaging


  • Fully integrated with Vision
  • Reminders
  • Send patients appointment reminders
  • Send to selected patients
  • Search for specific appointment types for reminders
  • Scheduling function for automated reminders

Cancelled appointments

  • Text patients to book a new appointment
  • Patient cancellations
  • Patients can text back to cancel
  • Cancelled appointment available to re-book automatically
  • Set the cancellation reason to use for text message cancellations


  • Send call/recall invitations by text message
  • Recall categories
  • Patients can reply to stop further invitations
  • For QOF calls/recalls replies are automatically recorded in the patient record as Informed Dissent using the appropriate exception code for the indicator triggering the invitation

Campaign Manager

  • Text health questionnaires to patients
  • Patients can respond by text message
  • Their answers are mapped to Read codes and filed in the patient record


  • Health Board level reporting dashboard on text message usage
  • Statistics on numbers and types of text messages sent and received
  • Single practice or organisational level reporting

Help and Support

  • Online User Guides & Video Tutorials
  • UK based Customer Support

Get Started

Click below and complete the form so we can get in touch and activate the software at your practice.

Find out more about text messaging




1 Williamson AE,Ellis DA, Wilson P, et al. Understanding repeated non-attendance in health services: a pilot analysis of administrative data and full study protocol for a national retrospective cohort. BMJ Open 2017;7:e014120. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016- 014120 http://aura.abdn.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/2164/8214/Understanding_repeated_non_attendance.pdf?sequence=1

2 NHS Borders July 2016 http://www.nhsborders.scot.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/latest-news/2016/july/7/the-real-cost-of-a-missed-appointment/


Topics: Text Messaging

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