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Application is one of the first of its kind and delivers greater choice and flexibility to patients

Eton, UK – December 12, 2000 – e-DBMS specialists, InterSystems and EDS Healthcare, one of InterSystems’ premier partners, announce the development a new system called Bookings Direct, which enables GPs to directly book patients into Outpatient clinics online. Bookings Direct is one of the first of its kind in the country, and will provide greater choice and flexibility to patients, and will, in the future, reduce turnaround times by generating GP referral letters automatically, and remotely accessing hospital databases for appointments. The system was developed by EDS Healthcare in conjunction with Gloucestershire Health Authority for East Gloucestershire NHS Trust, using InterSystems’ award-winning CACHÉ e-DBMS.

EDS Healthcare provides on site IT support for two big acute hospitals in the area, namely Cheltenham General Hospital and Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, as well as other Community hospitals. They support a combined total of approximately 1,000 users of their IT systems at these sites throughout the county.

EDS Healthcare wanted to develop a system that improved both the quality and speed of service for patients by harnessing the power and flexibility of the Internet. With InterSystems’ historic dominance in healthcare, the vast majority of the county’s hospital systems were written in previous versions of the InterSystems technology. However, in order to take advantage of InterSystems’ new CACHÉ e-DBMS technology for developing and deploying web-based applications, EDS Healthcare used CACHÉ as the platform for developing their new system called Direct Bookings. CACHÉ is a post-relational database with a multidimensional data and application server offering ultra-fast and massively scalable objects and SQL.

“We wanted to design a system that could deliver greater choice to patients, speed up the referral process and reduce wasted time with patients not keeping hospital appointments because they weren’t convenient,” said Mike Ledbury Account Manager for EDS. “The traditional system of waiting to receive a letter by post with an appointment date that may or may not be convenient just doesn’t make sense in the Internet Age. We wanted to build a system that would cater to patient needs, which in turn reduces no-show appointments at hospitals and therefore allows more people to be treated. We’ve been using InterSystems products for years, and with the launch of CACHÉ, we felt this technology was the ideal platform to deliver such a system.”

Direct Bookings is written in CACHÉ and based on web browser technology that links through to the underlying PAS database via NHS Net and trusted firewalls. It is accessed via PCs at the GP surgery and hospital, and has in-built flexibility to allow user configuration of referral letters to the hospital and appointment letters to the patient using MS Word documents. The system is password controlled to ensure confidentiality and security, and GPs are only able to access information regarding their own patients. Some of the benefits of Direct Bookings include:

  • Greater patient choice regarding appointment times made face-to-face at the GPsurgery, thus reducing the number of ‘Did Not Attends’ (DNAs) for Outpatient clinics due to inconvenient appointment times.
  • In the future a reduction in turnaround times with GP referral letters and appointments being produced from the system and automatically transferred electronically to the base hospital, rather than the current process of waiting for posted correspondence from the GP.
  • Protocols for GPs to follow to ensure correct referrals to appropriate clinics, thereby reducing inappropriate and unnecessary appointments.
  • Changes to patient details or new patient registrations can be transferred from the GP surgery to the hospital PAS and updated with the latest and most accurate patient information.

“The system is fast, secure, extremely easy to use and requires minimal training for those familiar with Windows,” added Ledbury. “For the patient, Direct Bookings offers a selection of available appointment times to be selected then and there while the patient is at the GP surgery, and the tailored appointment letter can even include a map of how to reach the hospital in addition to the date and time. For the hospital, Direct Bookings significantly reduces manual administration, increases the speed of referral and automates the transfer of accurate patient information.”

Nearly two hundred appointments have already been made using the Direct Bookings system. Direct Bookings is currently being used in two pilot surgeries for Physiotherapy, Maternity and Dermatology appointments in Cheltenham General Hospital. This pattern will be repeated for Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. In addition, EDS is also working with the Endoscopy Department at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital to use the system for endoscopy day surgery appointments. This development will include the pro forma currently used by GPs being transferred electronically to the hospital. The system is scheduled to be rolled out to ten surgeries in the County by the end of 2000. The Appointments for Patients Project has also secured funding for 2 week cancer wait appointments and specialised Chest Pains Clinics to be used in conjunction with the system from 2001. EDS is also contracted to implement its Direct Bookings system into South Devon Healthcare NHS Trust in early 2001.

Over time, Direct Bookings will be just one of the modules in EDS’ GoldPAS system. GoldPAS essentially replaces the front-end of existing hospital PAS systems with a web-enabled interface, also developed in CACHÉ. Together with Direct Bookings, this makes data held in the PAS more readily available without actually having to redevelop the legacy PAS system itself. Because CACHÉ is ODBC compliant, data can be accessed, updated, and integrated with other applications. This not only protects the legacy investment in the current PAS systems, but also opens up the wealth of information in these systems for access via the web, making it easier to integrate with clinical information systems to record information at the bedside. GoldPAS is also in pilot and will be rolled out by the end of the year.

About EDS

EDS, the leading pure-play global services company, provides strategy, implementation and hosting for clients managing the complexities of the digital economy. EDS brings together the world’s best technologies to address critical client business imperatives. It helps clients eliminate boundaries, collaborate in new ways, establish their customers’ trust and continuously seek improvement. EDS serves the world’s leading companies and governments in 55 countries globally. EDS reported revenues of $18.5 billion in 1999. The company’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. Learn more at

About InterSystems

Headquartered in Cambridge, MA, InterSystems Corporation ( is the leading provider of high-performance database systems for Web applications, with over three and a half million users worldwide. InterSystems’ flagship product, Caché, is an e-DBMS with a multidimensional data and application server offering ultra-fast objects and SQL, plus massive scalability. Caché features breakthrough rapid development technology for building objects and object applications, and web development.

Trademark Notes:  Caché is a trademark of InterSystems Corporation.  Other trademarks belong to their respective owners.

For more information:

Julie Ronald
Tel: 01753 855450

Vanessa Land
Devonshire Marketing
Tel: 01276 675571