Expansion of Automated Notification System for Clinical Appointments

Feb 5, 2018

Western Health is expanding its Automated Notification System, which reminds clients of their clinical (outpatient) appointments.  As of February 6, 2018, patients with ultrasound appointments will be reminded of their appointment one week in advance, either by telephone, email or text. The automated notification gives patients an opportunity to either confirm their appointment, or to cancel it, thus allowing other patients to be booked in any unfilled appointment slots.

In the fall of 2016, the Automated Notification System was piloted in the twelve endoscopy services departments throughout the province’s four Regional Health Authorities, in an effort to reduce the number of “no shows,” i.e. patients who do not show, nor call in advance to cancel their appointments. Missed appointments can affect a patient’s medical outcomes, and place additional demands on wait times for others requiring appointments.

“We have received positive feedback from 93 per cent of patients surveyed in our region that the automated reminder is easy to understand and provides sufficient notice so they can prepare for their appointment,” said Paulette Morgan, Regional Director of Planning and Performance Improvement. “We are pleased to expand the Automated Notification System for ultrasound and hope that there will be fewer people who forget or do not show up for their appointment, which will help to improve wait times for this important diagnostic service.”

During 2016-17, there were 15,751 ultrasound appointments in the region and 1,395 unanticipated “no shows,” which did not allow enough time to book someone else in that vacant appointment slot.

In the coming months, the Automated Notification System will be rolled out to additional areas throughout the regional health authorities, starting with the following services within the field of Diagnostic Imaging. It is anticipated this implementation will be completed in the spring of 2018:

  • CT Scan
  • Mammography
  • MRI/PET Scan

As part of an evaluation of the initial implementation of the Automated Notification System, more than 3,000 Endoscopy patients throughout the province were surveyed for their feedback. The findings showed that nearly three per cent of patients had forgotten about their appointment prior to receiving the automated reminder. Based on 40,000 provincial appointments per year, this translates into 1,200 no-show appointments that were prevented through the new notification system.

More information on the automated notification system is available on Western Health’s website.


Media Contact:
Tara Pye 
Director of Communications