Booking, referrals and appointments (with IT)
Published on: 27th May 2022 | Updated on: 23rd August 2023
Digital technology can facilitate health and care staff to support referrals in and out of pharmacy and can support patients to book an appointment efficiently. They may also help your paperless processing.
User research opportunity: Community Pharmacy England and NHS Digital are encouraging community pharmacy teams to share their views relating to the new NHS Booking and Referral Standard (BaRS). This will ensure that the tool supports the needs of pharmacy team members and their patients.BaRS is an interoperability standard for healthcare IT systems which is intended to enable booking and/or referral information to be sent to or from care providers quickly, safely and in a format that is useful to clinicians. If you would like to take part or have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and cc email@example.com.
Appointment types booked via technology could include:
- Pre-Bookable Walk-In Appointments
- Remote consultations
- Virtual Visits pilot appointments
Patients may book an appointment using a website, an app, the phone. They may also make an appointment in person.
Systems and suppliers (bookings) with NHS assurance include:
- NHS National Booking Service (NBS): used for COVID-19 vaccination appointments and may be used for the booking of some other NHS services in the future. From October 14th some pharmacies began pioloting use of NBS for flu vaccine appointment systems.
- Booking systems with NHS Digital assurance via the Digital Care Services Framework.
- The NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS).
Apps with appointment systems assured by the NHS:
- NHS App
- List of Apps / systems which have received IM1 integration assurance (some but not all IM1 apps have met GP appointment standards)
The use of ‘standards’ within the health sector enables people, devices and systems to communicate in a more efficient and electronic manner. Standards can also reduce the need for health and care workers to ‘re-key’ booking related information and for patients to need to repeat themselves about their bookings.
There are several key IT standards related to booking and referrals:
- Booking and Referral Standard (BaRS) – is an interoperability standard for healthcare IT systems that is intended to enable booking and referral information to be sent between NHS service providers quickly, safely and in a format that is useful to clinicians. The ambition is it will eventually be available in all care settings and encompass other boking and referral standards.
- GP Connect appointment standards
- Patient Facing Services
- Interface mechanism (IM1) NHS standards
The CP ITG held a workshop to formulate views on this topic, click on the link to find out more read: CP ITG views about IT relating to booking, referrals and appointments.
If you have queries on this webpage or you require more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.