Digital Innovation supporting Type 2 Diabetes Education Programme

As part of the Diabetes Transformation Programme in Buckinghamshire, an MJog campaign was launched, aiming to increase referrals to Type 2 Structured Education and improve coding of attendance in primary care records. The campaign consisted of two text messages: the first asking the patient if they have previously attended a diabetes management course and the second – sent only to those who replied ‘no’ – invited the patient to self-refer to a course.

Quick and easy roll out

Supported by the CCG, the campaign was quick and easy to roll out with each practice spending just 10 to 20 minutes setting up each message. Using text messaging for the campaign provided huge savings in both time and cost when compared to contacting the patients by post and it also provided easier, more reliable evaluation of the results of the project.

Improving the coding of the primary care record enabled the CCG to identify variation in referral rates between practices. This data allowed the CCG to offer the targeted support needed to help practices put processes in place to ensure their patients are offered the opportunity to attend a course.

Dramatic increase in enrolment

The providers of structured education saw a 50% increase in enrolment to their programmes compared to the same months in the previous year. Of patients who were sent the second message, inviting them to join a course, 10 to 20 per cent went on to enrol on a programme.

Feedback from Buckinghamshire CCG (November 2018)

What were the total number of patients contacted through the project?
To date approx. 15,00 text messages have been sent from 36 practices. Over 4,000 of these messages invited the patient to self-refer to a diabetes management course. The remaining 13 practices will send their messages in the new year.

Having the self-referral details linked in the text message meant the patients were immediately able to visit the website or make a telephone call to book a place by clicking inside the text message. Making the self-referral process this simple will have contributed to the increase in enrolment.

What were the time/cost savings for the project?

“Sending approximately 15,000 messages has cost the CCG just a few hundred pounds. If the patients had been contacted by letter the CCG would have paid each practice the LMC agreed rate of £1.50 per letter.”

The time taken to select the patients and send out the messages was minimal (approx. 10-20 minutes) compared the time and resources needed to prepare and send letters.

How did using MJog provide more reliable evaluation for the results and what impact has that had on future projects?
The first text message sent coded the patients who had already been on a diabetes management course as ‘attended.’  This enabled the CCG to target the second message, which invited the patient to self-refer, to those who we knew had not attended a course and would be more likely to enrol, meaning we did not contact patients with information not relevant to them. “The information gives us a clearer view of the diabetes education landscape in Buckinghamshire which will help inform our future commissioning needs.  We were able to see the conversion rate from those who have not attended, have been offered, have made enquiries and those who have gone on to enrol, and identify variation in the different demographic areas.  Had we sent blanket letters by post we would not have this quality of information.”

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