Patients in NZ’s Hutt Valley book hospital appointments online

Up to 10 patients a day are using an in-house solution to book their outpatient appointments online with Hutt Valley District Health Board (DHB).

uBook is a referral management centre developed by the DHB and supported by its IT team. It allows patients to make or change their own appointments online.

On average, five to 10 appointments are booked daily and three to five appointments are changed. Numbers have been steadily increasing since it was introduced in 2011.

The DHB says uBook was created to enable patients to have more control over the outpatient booking process.

“Having this service has meant more people show up for their appointments on time and we have heard from patients who use the system that they like it and the control it gives them,” a DHB spokesperson said.

Patients receive a letter with a unique identifier, inviting them to log on to the uBook portal. The identifier only allows them to book into a correctly specified clinic and within a clinically appropriate timeframe.

Most outpatient appointments for services in the general outpatients department are available on uBook, while radiology, orthopaedic and some Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) appointments are not currently available.

Hutt Valley DHB associate director of allied health, science and technical Paul Rigby says the portal is great for patients as “they can identify at their convenience an appointment that suits them.

“It’s a real enabler of individual choice and if people can choose their appointment time, they’re less likely not to come,” he explained.

Patients are also given the option of calling in to the department if they cannot or do not want to book online.

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