Folktandvården saves time and money with text messages

TietoEnatorIn autumn 2003 a Swedish county council introduced TietoEnator's mobile platform Instant Choice Response (ICR) for sending reminders regarding dental appointments by text message. A year later the number of missed appointments had already fallen by 16 percent. A number that is continuing to fall each month, explains Sven-Olof Andersson, financial manager at Folktandvården (the Swedish public dental care service) in Sörmland.

Each month, Folktandvården in Sörmland sends out between 15,000 and 17,000 reminders via text message to patients who have booked an appointment at one of the county council's 30 dental clinics. After just three years, the service has already been a huge success.

Either the patients appear as planned or they choose to cancel their appointment so that someone else can be offered their place, Folktandvården saves money. An empty dentist's chair leads to significant costs, without generating any income. Fewer missed appointments also make administration easier. Before the system was taken into use, almost 10 percent of all patients who had made an appointment missed it. "Just a couple of years after starting the system, we had earned both the investment cost and the cost of the text messages back several times over," comments Andersson.

The system was tested for the first time in 2002. Even then the idea was for Folktandvården to be able to take TietoEnator's solution further. The ICR platform, which was taken into use in 2004, was integrated with existing system applications (the booking system, among other things), and can be supplemented with several functions.

After the summer, a pilot project is planned, involving Folktandvården being able to send a text message to patients inviting them to attend an appointment. The patient can simply confirm the proposed appointment via mobile phone and then receive confirmation. The agreed appointment will be stored automatically in the ICR database, which makes it available for Folktandvården's appointment system.

This service from TietoEnator is extremely valuable within care, where late cancellations and missed appointments cost most care providers enormous sums of money each year, both in the form of empty care places and through extensive administration.

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