We have extended our service to boost uptake of Latent TB Infection appointments in East London

It's World Tuberculosis Day 2020 and we are proud to announce that we are helping 34 GP surgeries in East London to tackle Latent TB Infection among their patients.

We are delighted to announce that in the past few months, we have extended our work to include the latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) screening program in 34 GP surgeries in East London.

Appt is working with a local commissioner to ensure they hit their target number of patients screened for LTBI. Our patient call and recall software automates the work of GP staff while improving the accessibility of the public health service for patients. Our approach reaches more patients and boosts the number that book themselves into an appointment.

As of the 1st of March, nearly 300 at-risk patients have booked an appointment across the first 10 practices to go live.

We are proud to be helping with the fight against TB. Globally TB took the lives of 1.5 million people in 2018 alone, making an infection that is treatable and preventable the worlds deadliest infectious killer.

How does our service work?

Appt's approach tackles two significant issues with the current invitation and appointment booking process for public health programs.

  1. Patient (increased access through informative invites and simplified booking)

To increase bookings of appointments like LTBI screening, patients need an effective combination of a trigger to book, enough motivation to book, and improved ability to book:

  • Trigger: Our bespoke set of SMS messages and reminders act as an effective trigger.

  • Motivation: We designed our text message invites to ensure that patients have just the right amount of information to make an informed choice.

  • Ability: Appt's innovative two-way booking technology makes it easier than ever for patients to book an appointment. Our SMS invites automatically generate and offer the patient a choice of three appointments (A, B, and C). The patient must simply reply with the letter they choose to book their appointment. It takes one second. Patients are also free to ask for a different selection of appointment dates/times, and even make a request (for example, "Monday mornings, please").

  1. The GP surgery (increased access because inviting patients takes no time away from GP staff)

A large part of improving uptake of public health programs requires solving time issues for GP teams. Inviting and booking patients into appointments that they don't know they need (e.g. screening programs) is no easy feat. It's time-consuming and frustrating - two factors GP surgeries in particular certainly don't need.

We've automated the difficult parts so that patients are steadily invited, managed, and booked into available clinics without the need for GP staff to send individual text messages, make phone calls, or send off letters.

Removing the need for much of the work for GP teams has been vital to adoption, as the value becomes clear and the time cost minimal.

How does the project fit with our values?

We are particularly proud of our work on the LTBI public health programme because TB is an infection that adds significantly to health inequalities. Indeed, the most deprived 10% of the population has a rate of TB 7 times higher than the least deprived 10%, and people born outside the UK have a rate 13 times higher than people born in the UK.

The latest figures show that there were 4,672 new cases of TB in the UK in 2018, a steady decline of 8.4% compared to 2017. We hope to reduce instances of TB further through this partnership.

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Suggested next articles to read:

1. Why we believe current patient recall processes are failing.

2. The challenges created by failing public health services.

3. Evidence-backed methods to increase your NHS Health Check uptake.

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Article by

Ben & Hector