Term: Choose and Book

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Description: Choose and Book is a service provided by the National Health Service in England that allows for patients to choose their own healthcare. It allows for them to pick what doctor they want to give their exam, the time at which they want the exam to take place, and what facility they want to go to in order to receive care. Under Choose and Book, any hospital that is funded by the National Health Service can be used by patients to set up when, where, and with whom they want their appointments to take place. This allows for patients to have a greater flexibility in schedule their appointments around the things happening in their lives.

There are four ways that the system works. Calling over the phone means that you will talk to a Choose and Book specialist and they will help you set up an appointment. You can also use the internet to log onto the Choose and Book website to make an appointment. The third way involves calling your general practioner to assist you in making an appointment and the last way to use Choose and Book is to do so at the hospital of your choice. After using one of these methods to set up a visit to a doctor, patients will receive further information pertaining to their upcoming visit such as date, time, and location, and other specific instructions upon arrival at the practice or hospital. If the patient wishes to cancel or change any portion of their appointment, they simply use any of the above methods for booking their vistit in order to make corrections.

Choose and Book allows for a drastic change in the way appointments are made. Before this system was implementated, for example, if a patient needed care at a hospital, the primary care physican would have to contact the hospital to find the best time to admit the patient. This process could take weeks and the selected date and time might not be convienent for the patient. Choose and Book takes the doctors and other middlemen out of the equation and allows for patients to be served in an adequate and efficient manner.

Applications: Choose and Book is an application used by the National Health Service in England for patient scheduling purposes.

Current Progress: The system suffered a number of delays throughout 2005 and 2006. Most were due to technical problems with the NPfIT not being complete (the NPfIT is the British version of the NHIN). Also, clinicians were not excited about the idea of this innovation because it would mean more work for them. In early 2006, a survey showed that the majority of patients who used Choose and Book were not satisfied with the amount of choice that the system offered its patients. They claim that they wanted more from the system.
Overall, the system has seen much success in UK within the past few years. By the end of 2006 1.5 million patients benefited from the use of Choose and Book. Since then, this number has grown exponentially. By the end of October 2008, this number grew to an astounding 10 million bookings. All Primary Care Trusts are now using Choose and Book and 93% of practices are using the service as well. This shows that the program is seeing great success.

Web Resources: http://www.chooseandbook.nhs.uk/

Related Terminology: Free Choice

Citations/References: http://www.chooseandbook.nhs.uk/