GP surgeries in Southwark Primary Care Trust (PCT) have been using iPLATO’s text messaging solution to invite patients for their MMR jab and to alert parents of the recent measles outbreaks in local schools within the Borough. Southwark PCT decided to partner with mobile health promotion specialists iPLATO in response to an increase in the number of measles cases reported in Southwark over the last few months.
Every quarter, surgeries receive a list from the central system known as Open Exeter, which indicates all the children who are due their immunisation for the combined measles, mumps and rubella jab (MMR). By running a search on their clinical system, practices were able to send out a text message to a group of selected patients, who were due their first MMR or booster MMR jab, advising them to call the surgery to make an appointment.
Nicholas Christou, Practice Manager at The Hambleden Clinic said, “The iPLATO system has been a huge help, it has made it a lot easier to target parents asking them to call the surgery to book an appointment for their child’s vaccination”. He added, “We know mobile phones are used by a lot of our patients, so text messaging is an effective way to communicate with them.”
Southwark PCT aims to ensure that everybody under the age of 18 not previously vaccinated, receive both doses of the MMR Jab and that information is made available on how this service can be accessed. As part of the Southwark PCT campaign, iPLATO Patient Care Messaging was used to send text messages to parents of children under the age of 16, inviting them to contact the surgery to make an appointment. The iPLATO platform was also used to send messages to 16 -18 years olds, in order to invite those who have not been previously vaccinated with the MMR Jab, to text back to receive info on walk in clinics.
Measles cases have soared across England and Wales with 1,049 confirmed cases last year, surpassing the total of 990 cases in 2007. As a result of these alarming figures, the achievement of ‘herd immunity’ is a major priority for the NHS. The use of iPLATO Patient Care Messaging in Southwark PCT’s childhood immunisation campaigns has proven to be a very useful tool to support the PCT’s goal of achieving ‘herd immunity’.
Maxine Grimes, Primary Care Information Officer at Southwark PCT, said, “We chose to partner with iPLATO because the technology has proven to be a quick and successful method to engage with patients”. She also added, “We are very committed to helping increase the uptake of childhood immunisation, and pleased to offer this additional support to our surgeries, to expand and accelerate their efforts.”
This recent initiative forms part of a wider plan to utilise the text messaging channel for a variety of health promotion initiatives (such as Smoking Cessation and Healthcare Data Collection) within Southwark PCT surgeries.
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NOTES TO EDITOR
About Measles and Herd Immunisation
Measles is one of the most infectious diseases and it is caused by the measles virus and unfortunately the complications of measles affect one in every 15 children. Beginning like a bad cold, the child then develops a fever and a rash.
Herd Immunisation is when enough people in a community are immunised against certain diseases, then it is more difficult for that disease to get passed between those who aren’t immunised.
About Southwark PCT
Southwark Health and Social Care is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of the people who live in the London Borough of Southwark. We have over 2,000 staff. We deliver, manage, pay for and are responsible for a wide range of services that thousands of local people use on a daily basis.
020 7525 3105
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