Final testing is underway on ICE, Healthcode’s integrated channel exchange to deliver appointment booking on a national scale which will transform access to private healthcare.
The specialists in online IT solutions for the sector have made it possible for providers to share real-time information about their services and availability allowing consumers to find what they need and make an online appointment.
The first sector-wide booking system is in test with a number of hospitals and insurers who have signed up for the sandbox integration facility. Testers and other stakeholders attended a launch event in London on Wednesday 28 June which included a presentation and a chance to talk to Healthcode’s project team.
Healthcode developed ICE to replace the multiple and disparate booking processes used across the sector, from paper-based admin to one-off IT solutions built for individual providers or software systems. This fragmented approach does not meet the needs or expectations of today’s patient and has often proved labour intensive and prone to inaccuracy such as double-booking.
Inspired by the evolution of online booking technology in the travel sector, Healthcode has developed a bespoke Global Distribution System (GDS) for private healthcare.
The ICE solution allows providers, insurers and booking sites to link to a central hub where they can securely exchange and sync live information about services and availability. Third-party users can then use their choice of booking site to search the entire network, see what slots are currently free and then book their appointment. Once booked, the provider’s diary system is automatically updated so the slot is no longer available.
Healthcode’s Managing Director, Peter Connor said: “We’ve always believed that a national online booking system will be a game-changer for our sector and for patients so I’m delighted that so many industry stakeholders are now onboard. At a time when demand for private healthcare is growing, it makes sense to have a booking process that’s efficient, convenient, secure and accurate, rather than something that demands perseverance and patience from users.
“I’m also proud that ICE is true to our guiding principles: using interoperable technology so different organisations can connect seamlessly; meeting recognised data standards; encouraging industry collaboration in the interests of patients; and finding innovative ways to work more efficiently within the private healthcare sector.”