iPLATO’s cervical cancer screening text reminder results in doubled attendance



iPLATO’s cervical cancer screening text reminder results in doubled attendance across NHS East of England 

 1 in 4 women do not take up their invitation to cervical cancer screening. NHS East of England estimated this meant 450,000 women across the region did not attend their last cervical cancer screening appointment. Tasked with increasing screening attendance in line with national screening recommendations made by Professor Sir Mike Richards1 in 2021, NHS East of England commissioned iPLATO’s patient engagement solution. To effectively target the patient cohort, iPLATO gained consent from GP practices for the standardised population-wide engagement programme to be delivered.  

Screening attendance increased by 100%  

After six months of using Population Health Messaging results showed that:  

  • 29,000 extra screenings: those who received programme communications were twice as likely to attend a screening compared to those who only received a letter.
  • Earlier attendance: those who received a reminder attended their screening sooner.
  • Equal success within deprived communities: engagement methods achieved equal increases in screening attendance. 

Saving hundreds of lives, and the NHS thousands of pounds in treatment costs  

Each year more than 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK, with 850 women dying from the disease. However, 83% of cervical cancer deaths could be avoided if all eligible women participated in cervical screening, a saving of 706 lives. The average cost to the NHS of an individual diagnosed with stage 2 or later cervical cancer amounts to £19,261, whilst for those at stage 1a, the cost is around £1,379 per person. Sending text message reminders can make the difference between someone getting the treatment they need and saving the NHS thousands of pounds in treating patients with late stage cervical cancer.