The transition from primary to secondary care often leaves patients in limbo.

The lack of communication and uncertainty during this waiting period not only fosters anxiety but also contributes to increased pressures on GPs and secondary care. Consequently, services regularly receive an influx of inquiries and calls regarding the status of their referral, exacerbating the existing challenges.

Some have termed the transition between primary and secondary care a black hole where patients are left in the dark about the status of their referral and care. A recent report found that one in five referrals bounced back to GP services. The finding showed that common failings included referrals going missing, being rejected by hospitals or appointments booked but not communicated with the patient. [i]

Unsurprisingly, Trusts regularly receive many calls from patients seeking confirmation of their referral status. One trust found that 30% of all outpatient calls were to follow up if their referral had been made/received. This burdens administrative staff and creates a poor experience for patients, exacerbating their stress and dissatisfaction. It also strains administrative teams and jeopardises the overall efficiency of outpatient services. Moreover, this communication gap can lead to patient harm, as delays in care and lack of information can have serious consequences.

Communication is key

The lack of communication for patients eagerly awaiting news about their referral to secondary care breeds confusion and heightens anxiety. Good, timely communication with patients is critical, particularly when a person is waiting for planned care or treatment. A simple message acknowledging their referral can go a long way and help reduce anxiety and improve the overall experience.

Our Solution: eMeet & Greet

In response to this common challenge, NHS Health Call has developed eMeet & Greet, a digital solution designed to transform the waiting period into an opportunity for efficient communication and improved patient experience. This digital tool is a game-changer for outpatient managers, offering a seamless bridge between primary and secondary care.

The tool enables outpatient teams to automate an SMS or voice message to patients newly referred to their service. It provides a quick and efficient method of checking in with patients en masse to give an update on their referral status. While it is a simple concept, it can significantly impact patient experience and outpatient management.

Key Features of the solution include:

  1. Welcome Patients: Inform patients instantly that their referral has been received. Eliminate the uncertainty during the waiting period and set the tone for a positive patient experience.
  2. Confirm Patient Preferences: Identify patients willing to travel locally or further away for care at another site. This information is crucial for streamlining the allocation of resources and ensuring patients receive care in locations that best suit their needs.
  3. Onboard Patients to the NHS App: Encourage patients to sign up for the NHS App, emphasising its role as the principal means of managing their elective care. Send links with joining instructions, empowering patients with self-service options and reducing the burden on administrative teams.

The Benefits

  1. Efficiency: Automate mass notifications through SMS or phone calls, reducing the need for patients to call for confirmation. This streamlines communication and frees up administrative resources for more critical tasks.
  2. Assurance: By providing timely confirmation and information, eMeet & Greet alleviates patient anxiety, contributing to a positive overall healthcare experience.
  3. Self-Service Empowerment: Encouraging patients to use the NHS App enhances their control over their healthcare journey and reduces the pressure on administrative teams.

Incorporating eMeet & Greet into outpatient services is a proactive step towards improving patient communication, streamlining processes, and enhancing overall efficiency. This digital solution can revolutionise outpatient management by addressing the communication gap between primary and secondary care, creating an efficient and patient-centered healthcare experience.

Are you ready to say goodbye to patient limbo, overwhelmed admin teams, and unnecessary calls?

Get in touch to find out more about eMeet & Greet at [email protected]


[i] ‘One in five’ patient referrals bounced back to GPs, warns watchdog – Pulse Today