The province is looking at sending text messages and email reminders as possible ways to reduce the number of missed diagnostic imaging appointments among Islanders.
Health Minister Robert Henderson told the legislature this week there are about 200 missed appointments every month for services such as ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs, mammography and bone density tests.
Henderson said those missed appointments lead to longer wait times for all individuals who require the services.
“Also, it can have an impact on health outcomes,” said Henderson.
Henderson said on top of impacts to wait times and health outcomes, the missed appointments have financial consequences.
“It is an unnecessary cost to our system when we have professionals already there ready to do the work and an individual doesn’t show up,” said Henderson. “I really encourage Islanders to take into consideration their friends and neighbours and make sure they notify us if they can’t make their appointment.”
Health Minister Robert Henderson
Earlier this year, Health P.E.I. revealed there are about 200 to 230 missed diagnostic imaging appointments every month.
During Tuesday’s question period, the issue was brought up by Charlottetown-Lewis Point MLA Kathleen Casey.
Casey asked if the increased publicity around the missed appointments had led to any improvements.
She said her own dentist and hair dresser will often text her one week prior to an appointment asking for confirmation and floated the possibility of doing the same with diagnostic imaging appointments.
“I also get another text one day prior to the appointment. Is this something your department can look at? Texting Islanders to remind them of their diagnostic testing appointment?” asked Casey.
Henderson said the department was looking at the possibility.