At present, GPs wishing to refer patients can search by type of service, named clinicians or by using a keyword.
But the new version of the software, available from 29 June, will scrap the keyword function. Instead, GPs will be able to search using SNOMED (Systematised Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms). This will allow GPs to search using common names for conditions, as well as medical terms.
GPs will also be able to search for services using symptoms, rather than requiring a definite diagnosis.
Dr Stephen Miller, medical director for Choose and Book, said the old keyword search 'hasn't been used as much as we'd like'. He added: 'Anecdotally, people don't know it's there.'
The inability of the old system to recognise colloquial terms, such as 'glue ear', may have made it tough to use, he said. The new system will use predictive text, offering a menu of options based on the letters the user has started typing.
It will also allow GPs to search for services specific to a patient's age or gender.
This extra function will prevent the system from proposing gynaecology services for male patients, or other similarly embarrassing suggestions.
- Visit www.chooseandbook.nhs.uk/r4.2 for more information.
Comment below and tell us what you think