Reducing email notifications

We are reducing the number of notification emails you get about new data in your PKB account. Notifications are useful, but as we have been increasing data-transfer to patients we now have to reduce the notifications back to a manageable level.

Notifications now

When new data arrives in a patient’s PKB account, PKB notifies the patient and carers by email. I remember the first time one patient experienced this at a hospital in London. On hearing that the integration between the hospital laboratory was working, he went to get a blood test at 9 am. At 11 am PKB emailed him to say the blood test results had arrived, and he logged in to see them. He loved it.

We hear this often from patients with long term conditions who can now monitor the progress of their disease and the success of their treatment without needing an appointment. They avoid taking half a day off work to see their doctor and the doctor frees up appointments to spend more time with patients who need more help.

But for a patient with lots of test results that means lots of emails from PKB. For some patients that means too many emails. With their feedback we have started making improvements.

Improvements next week

By Wednesday 21st of September, patients will not receive more than one message per day about new data in their account. PKB will check before sending out notification emails. If the software had already sent out one message about data that day, PKB won’t send out anymore.

New data includes new test results, medications, appointments and care plans.

Other notifications will remain real-time full volume. Discussion messages will remain because patients need to know as soon as their doctor has replied to a discussion. So will notifications about sharing because patients need to know as soon as their record has been shared with someone else.

Finally we will fix our handling of updates to the address, date of birth and identifiers. Some hospitals send PKB messages to say these details have changed, even when the details have not changed. So PKB sends out notifications to the patients unnecessarily. We are upgrading PKB so that the software checks and filters out such unnecessary notifications.

Improvements next month

Next month we will update the home page to show the notifications feed. This will highlight new data in your record, so you can see a summary in your record of new data, including data you had not received any email notifications about. This solves another problem we heard from some patients who did not know where to find test results they had been told about in their email notification.emailblogpostimage

The design above includes a bigger section at the top for switching between the records of family and friends. It also shows just four big blue buttons rather than our current seven. These changes will come later but I thought you would enjoy seeing the whole new design.

Improvements next year

Next year users will be able to choose how often they get notified.

Some patients do like to get a separate email about every data point as it comes in. They can choose in their preferences to get all notifications.

Other patients do not want any notifications at all about new data, only about messages from their clinical team and the sharing of their record. They can choose this in their preferences.

Some clinicians don’t want to get a separate notification about every message. They can choose in their preferences to get a daily summary as they sit down in one slot during their working day and work through all the discussions they are involved in.

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