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Immunisation Rates For Maori Increase With Practice-patient Text Messaging System In Bay Of Plenty

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Immunisation rates and other healthcare outcomes are improving for Maori enrolled in Te Manu Toroa Trust's GP clinics in the Bay of Plenty with the introduction of TXT2Remind a practice-patient text messaging system which delivers appointment reminders, immunisation and screening reminders, health advice, medication reminders and laboratory results direct to the patient.

Vensa Health's TXT2Remind system, installed in December 2010, has already reduced missed appointments by over 50 per cent and improved patient response for recalls which has translated into improvements across the board including a marked increase in immunisations.

Vensa Health Chief Executive Ahmad Jubbawey says, "We know that patients are more likely to turn up to appointments when receiving reminders via text message, particularly high needs groups who really benefit from the technology the most. The result is a marked increase in appointment attendance and an impressive increase in priority areas such as childhood immunisation."

Pat Cook, General Manager (Acting) at Te Manu Toroa Trust says, "The sooner we can help iwi improve their health or prevent illness the better. We have an enrolled population that is viewed as hard to reach so we knew we needed to do things differently to enable better access to healthcare. TXT2Remind is proving to be a great success particularly in increasing immunisation rates. Our rates were on average around 47% before the introduction of the system and we were running at around 61% after the first three months. The national average is 88% so we're keen to keep using the system to help us make up ground quickly."

Other Maori health providers using the system, such as Raukura Hauora O Tainui, have experienced impressive improvements in immunisation also. Raukura Hauora O Tainui implemented Vensa Health's TXT2Remind system across a group of general practices in North Waikato in January 2010. Immunisation rates have risen dramatically from 55% coverage on average before implementation to 98% on average after fifteen months of use.

Vensa Health's TXT2Remind system helps lift performance across a wide range of scheduled interventions, procedures, and screening processes such as mammograms and cervical screening, that require systematic precall and recall.

"As well as increasing immunisation for under 2's our system helps target the governments other priority health targets such as better diabetes and cardiovascular services and improved access to elective surgery for hospitals. This is the best method of reaching high needs people to ensure their health is improved," says Jubbawey.

Te Manu Toroa Trust has three GP clinics in the Western Bay of Plenty providing comprehensive, integrated community and Primary Health Care for iwi from Bowentown, Katikati, rural Tauranga, central Tauranga, upper and lower Kaimai, upper and lower Papamoa, Welcome Bay, Mount Maunganui, Arataki, Matakana Island, Matapihi, Manoeka, Waitaha, parts of Te Puke, Maketu, Pukehina and Otamarakau.

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