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100,000 register for patient portal in six months

Since launching in November last year, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust’s (MTW) patient portal – Patients Know Best (PKB) – has been helping users access their health information on their phones, computers and tablets and take advantage of a host of features.

This includes perks such as being able to view outpatient letters online instantly, being able to request to amend appointments and receive notifications, all of which can save time calling into MTW’s administrative teams.

After only being live for six months, the portal already has over 100,000 patients registered for the free service. One of those is retired teacher and RSPCA volunteer, Jane Stoneham from Maidstone, who has been using the PKB portal ever since having an accident back in February.

Jane said: “I signed up to the Patients Know Best portal after hearing about it from a relative. I did this quickly and easily using the NHS app which I had some experience using during COVID and via my GP surgery. I hadn’t needed a hospital visit for many years but thought it would be useful to sign up so I had it if I ever needed and thought it would be useful in the future to have all my health information everything in one place. And I was very pleased I did as I broke my leg in an accident and was treated at Tunbridge Wells Hospital earlier this year.

After leaving hospital, Jane went to stay with her daughter to help with her recovery and was initially worried she might miss any further correspondence about her ongoing treatment through the post. However, already being signed up to the portal she was able to access all her letters instantly.

She said: “I could view my scheduled outpatient appointments on the app which was incredibly helpful as I was not at my home address and I would have missed these appointment letters in the post or I would have had the extra stress of arranging a friend or relative to go and collect my post. I usually visit relatives for several weeks each year so knowing I can access some of my health information so easily, wherever I am, even out of the country, is really useful to me and many others I’m sure.

“Knowing that I could also request to cancel or rebook my appointment via the portal, without having to call into the hospital is very helpful as I know the hospital phone lines can get very busy, so I feel like using the portal is helping them while also saving myself time.”

In addition to all her appointment information and discharge summary, the portal also provides general information on the hospitals such as guidance on parking so Jane could plan ahead about where best to park and be dropped off – something particularly helpful to reduce the number of steps needed with her injury.

The benefit of patients being able to read appointment letters online is also helping MTW reduce its postage costs and carbon emissions – already saving nearly 5,000kg in carbon output. Approximately the same amount a car would use driving across the entire circumference of the world.

Jane added: “I would encourage everyone to sign up to the PKB portal – it has really helped me, it’s so simple to use and the features it offers means the hospital can book more patients in to cancelled appointments and get us all the care we need quickly”

More than 14,000 patients are now using the portal regularly every week, with all the registration info and FAQ’s available on our website. A special video has also been developed to demonstrate the interface of the portal and highlighting the many benefits.

Please note, the portal is only compatible with outpatient appointments for those over the age of 18. Further benefits and services are currently being developed