Hospital library helps reduce missed appointments


Micheal Reid and Nick Lane

BLACKPOOL Teaching Hospital Library and Knowledge Service has helped reduce missed appointments known as DNAs (did not attend), across several services.

Physiotherapy MSK Services, mental health, podiatry, contraception, diabetes and sexual health services all had quite a high rate of missed appointments.

Head of Therapies, Nick Lane, was nominated to investigate through the Adult Community Services and Long Term Conditions Division Community Productivity Work stream.

He said: “I asked the Clinical Librarian for up to date evidence and best practice in this area and to search for best practice and national guidance around this.”

The literature search provided case studies and research evidence showing how DNA rates had been reduced across a range of services including– diabetes and MSK services (physiotherapy) in particular.

It also provided enabled Nick to produce a guidance document and flowchart for all the teams, advising on the best action to take when a patient didn’t turn up for an appointment.

All of the teams are now using this guidance, adjusted for best practice in their own area, to reduce the number of missed appointments. This in turn has reduced waiting times from three or four weeks in some cases to two weeks, which is a great benefit for patients.

The evidence also included the benefits of automated SMS reminder systems and which the division is currently assessing the feasibility of to work in conjunction with their patient record system.

Knowledge and Library Services Manager, Debra Thornton said: “As a Library and Knowledge Team we provide literature searches to staff throughout the Trust to support the service they provide, whether that is a clinical service, a cost improvement programme or a quality improvement initiative.

“We are part of a national campaign – #amilliondecisions – to ensure that decision making across the NHS is based on the best available knowledge and evidence and that best practice is adopted quickly and effectively.

“It is always gratifying to know how the information has been used and I’m glad we were able to help Nick’s team improve the service they give to their patients.”

Nick added: “As a physiotherapist I believe evidence based practice is the way we should be working but it would have taken me weeks to find the right information.

The library has the expertise to collate, summarise and send the information to me in a usable format which makes it so much easier for me to then put into practice.

The information provided by the library is always relevant and up to date. I think the library team are invaluable – they can always find the information I want.”

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