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Date: 30 September 2023
Outpatient digital letters and text reminders
Patients can now view and download their outpatient appointment letters online instantly.
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) has introduced a new way to tell patients about their outpatient appointments. Following a pilot involving six specialties in February 2021 (Gastroenterology, Endocrinology, Pain, Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Vascular Surgery), the service has been rolled out across all Trust specialties. The project, a collaboration with DrDoctor and Synertec, sees patients receiving their outpatient appointment letters digitally via text or email. Patients will be sent a text message with a secure link, allowing them to view and download their appointment letters on their mobile phone, tablet or computer.
Patients who prefer paper letters can still receive their appointments by post. They will need to update their preference on the DrDoctor patient portal or reply PRINT to the text message that they receive.
Why are we introducing digital letters?
- allow you to view your letters quickly and easily
- reduce confusion from lost letters or letters arriving in the wrong order
- save the NHS money by reducing the amount of paper and stamps that we are using
- reduce our environmental impact
How to view your digital letter
We will send you a text message (and email, if available) when you have a new digital letter to view online.
To view your letter:
- Click the secure link in your text message to be directed to the patient portal
- Click "View letter" and log in with your last name, date of birth and postcode
- View or download your new digital letter as a PDF
Your letters will be stored on the DrDoctor patient portal for future reference.
You can also log in from any device by visiting the patient portal directly.
When logging in to the patient portal directly, we will send a code to your mobile phone number for security purposes.
How to receive paper letters
Patients who prefer paper letters can still receive their letters by post. We will automatically send you a paper letter if you don’t view your digital letter within three days.
If you want to view your letter online and receive a paper letter by post you can request a printed letter by:
- Replying PRINT to your original text message notifying you that you have a new digital letter
- Logging into your secure patient portal, going to the "Settings" menu in the top right, and turning off the paperless option
If you change your mind at any time and want to receive your information digitally once more, you can reply DIGITAL to the original text message. You can also log into the secure patient portal, go into the "Settings" menu and turn on the paperless option.
What can I expect?
You will receive new style text messages via your mobile phone, from which you will be able to access our online patient portal by following the link included in the text/email.
From the patient portal, you can:
- Request to rebook or cancel your appointments
- View location information, including a map, to help ensure you get to the right place at the right time
- View clinic information about your upcoming appointment
- Add your appointment to your calendar
- View all upcoming appointment details in one place
- Continue to have easy access to digital outpatient letters
What do I need to do?
Make sure that we have your up-to-date mobile number and email address, so that we can contact you. Ask the receptionist to check we have these details when you have your next appointment.
Patients will receive text reminders before their appointment. Once you receive your text reminder you can change or cancel your appointment if needed. To do this you will need to reply CHANGE or CANCEL to the text message. You will be asked to confirm if you are cancelling your appointment. If you are changing your appointment, you can let us know any other relevant information.
You can also change or cancel your outpatient appointment online by following these steps:
- Follow the link in your text message or visit the patient portal directly to change it
- Enter your name, date of birth and postcode on the patient portal. We will send you a one-time code to your phone to make sure it is really you
- Once online you can request to change or cancel your outpatient appointment under the "Appointments" menu by clicking on the relevant appointment you’d like to change or cancel
- DrDoctor patient portal - nhs.my/UHB
Further information is available on the "Questions and answers about the service" page.