Enabling Patients to Receive Appointment Reminders in Their Preferred Language

Richard Westwood

Industry Partner: Health Communications

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) is geographically the largest health organisation in Wales and provides a full range of primary, community, mental health and acute hospital services for a population of over 670,000 people across the six counties of North Wales (Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham) as well as some parts of mid Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire. 44% of the Health Board’s population speak Welsh, well above the national average of 19%.

As a result of the above, this project aims to improve the patient experience by allowing patients to choose the language in which communications are received; this in turn will make significant cost and efficiency savings for the health board.

The project will enable patients to state their language of choice for appointment reminders (Welsh, English or Bilingual) – this could be:

In the long term, the recorded language choice could be used to manage resources, inform patient booking/clinic management and impact on all patient communications.

In 2015-16, over 600,000 text message appointment reminders were sent.

With the future scope to send text reminders for the majority of BCUHB’s 1.1 million outpatient appointments and for nearly 80,000 planned admissions, the potential savings could be massive.

There were also over 43,000 agent telephone calls made in 2015-16. Distressed and concerned patients immediately feel more at ease when contacted in their first or preferred language. The project will allow the appropriate agent to call patients initially without needing a second phone call, improving the quality of the experience for the patient.

Diagram showing language choice

This Project Supports Prudent Healthcare

The project supports prudent healthcare by encouraging collaboration and co-production within secondary care, primary care, local and national informatics teams and with an industry partner. This is a prudent innovation project, making effective and best use of existing resources, offering both financial and quality benefits: the health board can do this and should do this.


Part of Cohort Bevan Exemplars 2015-16