Information technology  

Upgrade for NHS online appointment-booking system

15 September

London, UK. Atos Origin has confirmed the successful rollout of the latest upgrade to Choose and Book, an online hospital-appointment booking system for the NHS in England. It is a key feature of the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) being delivered by NHS Connecting for Health in England. The roll-out of the new functions was completed on schedule on 25 June 2006.

The company says that the latest upgrade reflects the continued collaboration between Atos Origin, Cerner and NHS Connecting for Health to improve the usability and functionality of the application, based on user feedback and developing policy requirements.

The most recent major upgrade (implemented on 30 April 2006) incorporates the following important new features:

  • Support for the Department of Health’s Extended Choice framework delivered at the end of April 2006 to coincide with a new policy initiative.
  • The ability to redirect referrals to the most appropriate consultant without needing to start afresh.
  • Facilities that will allow referring clinicians to make a note of any special appointment needs, such as an interpreter.
  • Enhanced usability, reducing keystrokes/clicks in booking workflows; changing the structure of some screens to display more data without having to scroll down; displaying nearest clinics according to distance from the postcode entered.

Following extensive analysis of the scope and requirements of the system, the upgrade was developed and tested with end-users in mind. In addition, the new version went through rigorous integration testing with other National Programme for IT systems prior to release into the live environment.

“Atos Origin and NHS Connecting for Health worked closely to ensure the seamless integration of the update and continue to work in partnership to make the Choose and Book system as intuitive, fast and easy to use as possible,” said Dave Atherton, Head of Health, UK, Atos Origin. “The recent upgrade demonstrates how Choose and Book is constantly evolving and maturing in response to user’s needs, becoming an appealing and flexible tool for GPs and consultants.”

“Initial feedback from users has shown that this has already had significant benefits and has boosted ease-of-use,” according to Tom Denwood, Choose and Book Programme Head, NHS Connecting for Health. “We collaborated closely with Atos Origin to ensure that the policy and user requirements were delivered in the upgrade release, which is absolutely paramount, and supported NHS Connecting for Health’s overall vision for the National Programme.”

Atos Origin delivered the national Choose and Book system with software provided by Cerner. David Sides, Managing Director, Cerner in the UK, said: "We look forward to continuing to deliver with our partners Atos Origin and NHS Connecting for Health, focusing on increasing user roll out to help more patients take control of their health and treatment by exercising choice".

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