Sexual Health Clinics Provide Most Test Results via Text Message, Leading to Faster Diagnosis and Treatment, Greater Capacity to Serve Patients
Three sexual health clinics in the United Kingdom communicate a variety of test results to patients via text message (rather than by telephone or in person). Each morning, a health adviser gathers and reviews available test results for patients seen 1 week earlier. Based on these results, the adviser chooses from one of 30 standardized text messages to convey the appropriate information to the patient. For negative and some expected positive results, the messages briefly summarize the results and note that no additional action by the patient is required. In other cases, the message instructs the patient to call or come in to the clinic to learn of the results and plan appropriate next steps, with health advisers proactively following up with those who fail to do so. The program led to quicker diagnosis and treatment for those testing positive for chlamydia and significantly reduced the amount of staff time spent on followup care, thus allowing clinics to handle more new cases.
Moderate: The evidence consists of the following:
•Pre- and post-implementation comparisons of the average time from test to diagnosis and test to treatment in 28 patients receiving text messages and 21 comparable patients receiving results by traditional means.
•Estimates of staff time savings based on assumptions about the time required to communicate results via text, phone, and in person.
•Pre- and post-implementation comparisons of the percent of total clinic visits accounted for by new patients, new episodes for existing patients, and followup care for existing patients.
•Post-implementation patient satisfaction survey results.
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
London, United Kingdom (UK)
Date First Implemented
The program can serve any patient tested for STIs.
AHRQ Innovations Exchange | Sexual Health Clinics Provide Most Test Results via Text Message, Leading to Faster Diagnosis and Treatment, Greater Capacity to Serve Patients