Patients of GP practices in Sandwell and West Birmingham will soon benefit from receiving appointment reminders and health information via text message. If they have a smartphone patients will also be able to access information about their local health services via their mobile phone. Smartphones such as iPhone, Samsung and others currently account for more than 70% of all mobile phones in use in the UK. This percentage is rising rapidly offering a new way for GP surgeries to interact with their patients beyond traditional text messaging services.
With 91% of the UK adult population owning a mobile phone (77% in the 65-74 age group) practices can reach a significant number of their patients through this service. Text messages are free to receive for the patient. If patients choose to respond or access the smartphone service, they will be charged standard operator rates depending on their individual contract.
To benefits from these services patients are encouraged to hand in their mobile phone number to their practice. If patients have already their mobile phone number recorded with their GP, they will receive a text message to let them know that the service is running.