A new toll-free line is being rolled out as part of an awareness campaign to help reduce no shows for diagnostic imaging appointments at Nova Scotia Health facilities.
Patients missed more than 22,000 scheduled diagnostic imaging appointments across the province in 2022, including MRI appointments, CT scans, ultrasounds and more. While in some cases, appointments are cancelled in time for other patients to use the existing appointment time, this often is not the case.
“We know there are many reasons patients are unable to make their appointments and we want to make it easier for them to reschedule,” said Raylene McGhee, director of diagnostic imaging for Nova Scotia Health’s Eastern Zone (Cape Breton, Guysborough and Antigonish counties). “This service will help us rebook patients as quickly as possible and allow us to use the appointment time to serve others in need of testing,” she said “The toll-free line is an important new tool to help us improve access to services across the province.”
One of the factors that leads to missed appointments is the fact patients don’t know how to change it. Other factors include work and family commitments, illness, travel issues, or duplicate appointments.
Patients unable to attend their scheduled diagnostic imaging appointment are asked to call 1-844-I-REBOOK (1-844-473-2665) as soon as possible to ensure the appointment time can be used by another patient. The patient will be presented with options, including selecting the location of their appointment and the service they were to receive. This will connect them to a team member who can cancel their appointment and help arrange a new one. Free interpretation services are available.
The phone line can be used to reschedule the following types of appointments:
- bone density scans
- CT scans
- nuclear medicine tests
- PET scans
Mammography services are not included at this time. Breast screening appointments (screening mammograms) scheduled through the Nova Scotia Breast Screening Program will continue to be rescheduled by calling: 1-800-565-0548. Patients scheduled for diagnostic mammograms can reschedule by contacting the facility.
The new toll-free rescheduling line is being promoted on social media, on the Nova Scotia Health website, through appointment notices and more.
“Diagnostic imaging is vital to many treatment and care decisions, so it is important our patients receive timely access to services,” said said Dr. Tim Mailman, senior medical director for Nova Scotia Health’s Diagnostic and Therapeutic Services Network. “Our investments in equipment, staffing and infrastructure, combined with initiatives like this one, will help us increase the number of exams we can complete and help us make the most efficient use of these precious resources.”
The awareness campaign and toll-free rescheduling line are an important part of overall strategies to help increase access to diagnostic imaging services and reduce wait times for these important services. Other strategies include an automated appointment reminder system that has been active in the Halifax area for more than five years, and is currently being trialed in Cape Breton. Additionally, a new eReferral tool will launch later this year.
- More than 22,000 scheduled diagnostic imaging appointments were missed at Nova Scotia Health facilities in 2022.
- In 2022 Nova Scotia Health provided more than one million diagnostic imaging tests, including approximately:
- 567,000 x-rays
- 186,000 CT scans
- 124,000 ultrasounds
- 64,000 mammograms (screening and diagnostic)
- 38,000 MRIs
- 17,000 nuclear medicine tests
- 13,000 bone density scans and
- 3,500 PET scans