In October, it was announced that the go live date for the new system, which is predicted to save NHS England are 20% in costs,” had been delayed until Spring 2015.
According to HSCIC, the delays and extended testing process are absolutely necessary to ensure e-Referrals works efficiently, safely and effectively.
“We had hoped to confirm a go-live date during the course of 2014, but in order to ensure a safe and successful transition, this will be delayed while we complete our ongoing rigorous testing of the new service,” claims a statement on the organisation’s website.
“This testing is essential to ensure that the new system is fully fit for purpose and working well for the estimated 40,000 patients who book appointments in this way, every working day.
“It is also essential that we make sure that the transition to the new service will be as seamless as possible.
“The intent is that at go-live the system should look and function in a very similar way to Choose and Book. This will minimise the requirement for retraining the healthcare staff that will be using the new service,” it adds.
HSCIC claims that the needs of patients and professionals will be foremost in designing the new service.
E-Referrals is set to include support for enhanced functionality and usability.
Despite the delay and extended testing period, e-Referrals is still expected to go live in Spring this year.
HSCIC says it will offer equivalent functionality to Choose and Book, but a number of improvements will be available straight away.
These are a refreshed user interface, comprehensive user help files, management information and reporting tool, additional referrers will be enabled to use the service and a simpler integration mechanism for exisiting integrated supplier systems.