Digital letters and text message reminders
Birmingham Women’s and Children’s uses DrDoctor - a patient portal - to communicate with patients about their appointments via text message and digital letters. We use DrDoctor because it is a national digital health company that works with the NHS to deliver this service securely, to ensure your information is safely managed.
The aim of using the patient portal is to allow us to:
- improve how we communicate with our patients
- provide a text reminder to patients before their appointments
- deliver letters to patients faster by sending them electronically
- reduce confusion from lost letters or letters arriving in the wrong order
- save the NHS money by reducing the amount of paper and stamps we are using
- reduce our environmental impact
Our Patient Admin teams use the DrDoctor system to contact patients via a text message to involve patients in the allocation of their appointments and to fill any slots that become available at short notice due to cancellations.
If we have your mobile phone number, we may send you;
- Text Message Notifications and Reminders - to let you know you have an appointment at our hospital soon
- Quick Question Messages - to ask if you still need to attend or if you could make a sooner appointment
- Digital Letters - an electronic version of a paper letter which you receive via your mobile device
***To provide your most up-to-date mobile phone number or email address, please use the secure form at the bottom of this page***
Text Message Notifications and Reminders
If you have provided your mobile phone number, you will receive confirmation of your appointment and text reminders before your appointment to remind you. The message will come from the DrDoctor Portal and the number is +44 7860039092. You may wish to save this number in your phone as BWC Appointments so that you know it is a genuine message from us about your hospital appointment.
Quick Question Messages
If you do receive this text message, please do not ignore it - your response is crucially important to help us manage our waiting list.
How it works:
- If you are waiting for an appointment, we’ll send you a text message from +44 7860039092 asking you to respond to an online question
- Follow the drdoctor.thirdparty.nhs.uk link in your message to answer the question about if you need your appointment
- Once you've responded, we'll ask you to verify your date of birth - if you are answering on behalf of someone else, please use the patient’s date of birth.
- Depending on your response, you will either remain on our waiting list or if requested, we will discharge you back to the care team that referred you.
Please note your comments will only be used to manage our waiting lists and will not be reviewed by a clinician.
Digital letters are an electronic version of a paper letter which you receive via your mobile device rather than through the post. Patients who prefer paper letters, or do not have internet access, can still receive their letters by post as usual.
We send out all outpatient appointment letters electronically as standard (unless you haven't provided a mobile number or email) so you receive them faster.
This means you will receive a text message or email with a secure link to the DrDoctor Patient Portal to view your letter and appointment details.
Frequently asked questions
Is the link in the text message trustworthy?
The drdoctor.thirdparty.nhs.uk link in your text messages are trustworthy and are delivered by our partner DrDoctor.
Why are you asking me for my Date of Birth?
After you have answered the question, we will ask you to confirm your Date of Birth so the booking team can confirm that the text message was sent to the right person.
If the Date of Birth you give is different from the Date of Birth we have on record for you, we will be able to see this and follow up with you as appropriate.
If you are answering on behalf of someone else, please use the patient’s date of birth.
I gave the wrong answer what do I do?
If you have answered the question wrong, do not worry you can go to answer the question again and you will find information about who to contact.
I’ve received a text message/email with an nhs.my link in it saying that I have a new digital letter. Is this from the hospital?
Yes. They will be sent by a company we are working with called DrDoctor. They will send patients text messages from the number +44 7860039092 and emails containing a "drdoctor.thirdparty.nhs.uk" link.
This link is unique to patients for their digital letter so will look something like "https://drdoctor.thirdparty.nhs.uk/wQVZvxhYG25ZZ".
What technology do I need to view digital letters?
You will need to use a smart phone, laptop or another digital device (e.g. tablet or desk computer) that is connected to the Internet.
If you are not connected to a Wi-Fi network (e.g. using 4G) please be aware that data charges may apply depending on your contract.
If you are using a devise that is not your mobile phone (such as an iPad) for additional security, we will send you a one-time code to your mobile number to verify that it's is you trying to download the letter.
When using this, for additional security, we will send patients a one-time code to their mobile number.
How do I view my digital letter?
You will receive a secure link via email or text message to your outpatient appointment letter.
From this link, you can view or download the letter to your smartphone, laptop, PC or other mobile device.
If you are using a Samsung smartphone, we recommend downloading the letter before attempting to view it as we know a few people with Samsung phones have reported that the letter appears blank in the preview on their Samsung phone but can be viewed when downloaded.
Should you receive an error message, please inform your consultant's secretary or the booking team.
A paper version will automatically be sent after 24 hours if you do not view your letter online.
How can I receive paper letters?
Patients who prefer paper letters can still receive their letters by post. We will automatically send you a paper letter if you don’t view your digital letter within three days.
If you want to view your letter online and receive a paper letter by post you can request a printed letter by:
- replying PRINT to your original text message notifying you that you have a new digital letter
- logging into your secure patient portal, going to the "Settings" menu in the top right, and turning off the paperless option
If you change your mind at any time and want to receive your information digitally again, you can reply DIGITAL to the original text message. You can also log into the secure patient portal, go into the "Settings" menu and turn on the paperless option.
Can I receive email notifications about my digital letters as well as text messages?
If we have your email address, we will also email you.
You can update your contact details via the form on this page, at the reception desk or by contacting the team via the phone number on your letters.
I am not receiving SMS reminders – should I be?
If we have the most recent mobile number for you then you should receive reminders by text message. Visit the patient portal and update your contact details in the "Settings" menu to make sure your details are correct.
You can also check that your hospital has the most recent mobile number for you. If we have this, you will then receive confirmations and reminders for your future appointments.
If I get a digital outpatient letter, will I also get a letter in the post?
If you open and read your digital outpatient letter within three days of receiving it, you will not get a printed letter in the post. If you would like to receive an appointment letter by post please reply to the text message you have received with PRINT. If you do this you will get a digital letter and a printed outpatient letter.
I don’t want to receive digital letters or text reminders. Can I opt out?
Yes, you can visit the patient portal at any time and update your settings. Please go to the "Settings" menu and look for the "Go paperless" section. Move the slider under "Go paperless" to "No".
This means you will receive your appointment letters by post in the future, even if you download them online. However, it is important to note that we will be able to communicate with you quicker about your forthcoming appointments if contact is made digitally.
If you do not have access to the Internet, you can reply STOP to any message that you receive, which will end text message reminders.
In addition, if you do not click on the link in the text message or email within three days of receiving it, you will automatically receive an appointment letter by post.
What is on the website link at the end of my text?
The website link will lead you to the patient portal, which will allow you to review your appointment letters and all appointments that have been booked for you. It will also give you access to maps, what to expect and other relevant information for your appointment.