Pilot of SMS Text Messaging Service for Dental Patients

A new service to help Lothian patients manage their dental appointments is being piloted from 15 April.

NHS Lothian has created a SMS text messaging service which will enable patients to either keep booked appointments or cancel appointments in advance.

Patients will be able to reply to reminder text messages and then the reply be included in the appointment diary. Any confirmation text messages will electronically update the appointment in the system as ‘confirmed’, ‘cancelled’ or ‘no reply’.

The service will help tackle the 10,500 appointments that are missed each year by patients, which sees these valuable slots go unused.

The pilot will run in all community and hospital clinics to gauge its effectiveness and suitability with patients.

Clinical Director of Community Dental Service, Robert Naysmith, said:

“This pilot text messaging service is an exciting development and we believe it can make a big difference in making it easier for patients to attend their appointments and obtain the care and treatment they need.

“At the same time, this new system is designed to ensure that someone else can benefit from the appointment if patients can’t keep their original arrangements.”

If patients would prefer to opt out of this SMS reminder appointment system, please ring 0131 667 7114 and request to be contacted by email, phone or letter.