The system set to replace Choose and Book has been launched, with proponents claiming it will lead to better data for commissioners.
E-Referrals, as the new system is known, aims to simplify the current patient referral system, which is only used by 50% of GPs.
According to Beverly Bryant, NHS England’s director of strategic systems, having only half of GPs use it is worse than having a fully paper-based system.
At the Commissioning Show, Bryant said: “The e-referrals system is a key component in NHS England’s strategy for moving towards a paperless system.
“GPs who wish to use Choose and Book were not happy with the mixed system because hospitals often didn’t have slots available.”
However, Bryant added that even with the We need you to work with your hospitals and CCGs to make sure that the slots are available.
Bryant believes that the roll out of choose and book will lead to more successful communication between hospitals, GPs and patients.
Masood Nazir, GP lead at NHS England said: “Before, one of the biggest frustrations was not finding the right services.
“The old process also was not good for providers, who found that Choose and Book was overbooking their services.”
However, a continuing consultation should allow the e-Referrals system to surpass Choose and Book by implementing the concerns of those who use it most.