The NHS e-Referral Service is not producing any reports for users nearly four months after go-live.
Users of the electronic booking service were told that reports would not initially be available for the go-live of the new service in June of this year, but that they would be up and running in August.
However, the Health and Social Care Information Centre says it has been focusing on ensuring the service is running effectively and is, “now progressing towards making reports and extracts available”.
The information centre could not provide a date for the reporting function to start working again, but said it will, “provide an update on timings in the near future”.
The e-Referral Service replaced Choose and Book on 15 June and immediately hit significant issues. Users reported that it was running slowly, and there were several periods during which it was unavailable.
Weeks of stabilisation work meant that within a month, the number of referrals being made using the system recovered to the levels recorded before its introduction. The HSCIC told Digital Health News this number has remained consistent at around 40,000 referrals a day.
However, users are still unable to access data extracts to produce reports or see the weekly or daily utilisation reports that were available with Choose and Book.
For those providers trying to increase usage of electronic referrals, this poses an increasing problem as they cannot track their progress.
NHS e-Referral Service project manager at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust Simon Wheat is leading a 12-month project to increase utilisation of e-Referrals, with the aim of reaching 80% usage by the end of March 2016.
The project was in full swing by the end of May with the implementation of some new processes, but since the new service went live in June, he has been unable to accurately measure the impact of these on utilisation.
“We are continually asked to provide reports and data on whether utilisation has improved and we can’t do it,” he explained. “We really need something we can point to and say, ‘stick with it, it’s working’.”
Wheat said it would be helpful to have an indication of when the reporting will be available again, as prior to go-live trusts were told reporting would start working in August.
“Even national weekly utilisation reports would be helpful,” he added. “I’m still committed to the system, I know it can work, but we really need access to the data behind it to support continued engagement.”