Examining The Booking System Of Web Appointments Information Technology Essay

Every person has to book appointment in GP or hospital before their visit to organization (unless in emergency). The web based appointment booking system simplifies the date, time, and choice of doctor, changing or modifying patient details. Since the internet has become an important part of our lives, organizations either small businesses or big establishments make it part of their business functionalities. The technology is expanding day by day and online sources are also increasing too. According to Hacker, “Ease of access, increased availability of information, and the prosperity of web services have universally increased productivity and operational efficiencies (Hacker, 2008)”. The online system has transformed complete background of information exchange. This research is also related to develop of web based appointment booking system where user only has to type URL provided and they can access it from anywhere in the world and any time. The system will allow patient to log in, register, and booking appointment where they will be able to choose time, date and choose of their doctor. The development of web based system can be very demanding if the system was planned well before design. The system will reduce burden of work load of their staff and staff will be more efficient. The research will carry before start developing a system it will help to choose right tools, technologies. The system will reduce queues in GP.

The use of web based appointment booking system will allow customer to book appointment anytime for example if they want to book appointment at midnight so they will be able to make it without waiting for GP to open in morning and than call to GP because telephone booking appointment system will work only when GP is open but web based appointment booking system will work all the time 365 days in a year.


It is important to know how appointment is done currently in organisation. The currently appointment done manually or through phone in which the patient are given choice of dates when they visit their GP or hospital and it should be approved by the member of staff . And if patient book their appointment through phone than they have to wait for automated machine to answer and than choose available date and book appointment. If patient need confirmation then they have to visit GP personally or choose option to send letter by post. This type of situations lead to waste of time, money and it may put load of time and pressure on the administrative staffs as well. As there are human beings involved in the whole process there are high possibilities of human errors. The booking appointment through phone or personally going there the staff can access wrong details and also when staff booked the appointment for person then there may be some mistake. So by considering all these points the development of web based system will help GP’s or any organisation to overcome all of these problems by providing an online service to do their booking and to choose their desire date and select them online.

Rationale / Significance

The online booking system will not work in case of emergency. In emergency there are always places available to go straight there, this system will work for normal booking to visit and see doctor for regular check-up.

The rational of this research is to develop a web based appointment booking system and implementation of system for GP’s and other organisation. The development of web based appointment system is to overcome the problems faced by the users and staffs while booking their appointment for regular check up. The appointment booking is important for any organisation to deal their user more efficiently. As we discussed in the background of the research there may be some human error. That is why the development of this system is selected which will help organisation to give quality service by providing their users web based online appointment booking system.

The main purpose of developing this project is to identify the user needs, to satisfy those needs by selecting the best approach to achieve the objectives of the project. The implementation of this project will help the organisation to reduce the time for user to book appointment. It may also reduce paper work, queuing at the GP’s reception, because the major services will be provided online. The implementation of this system will also help organisation financially as well as for their users and it will saves lots of time. The implementations of web based appointment booking system also support multiple users at a time so the system will efficient.

Aim and Objectives

Aim: To design and implement the Web based online appointment booking system within time.

Research Objectives:

The research will conduct to collect necessary information for designing a system for GP or hospital.

To develop the system, some interviews need to be conducted among people to understand problems with system.

The Feasibility study for implementing the system will conduct and the main focus will be on scalability issues. As the GP is growing rapidly the system should support any future expansions such as increasing number of users.

The technologies that required to develop the system

Client/server architecture (Web based client server applications), Requirement gathering and analysing techniques (the interviews will be conduct and also questionnaires), HTML,XHTML,client side, server technologies (PHP,ASP.NET)

Relation database (Oracle, My SQL), System testing tools

Practical Objectives:


The analysis will be done to understand the scope of project.

The interview and questionnaires will be conducted to collect user requirements and analyse them to develop a system.

System modelling and prototyping

The programme language which going to use should be suitable.

The testing condition will identify.

Testing and implementation

The system has to test before deliver to user to check that developed system is working properly and it fulfils requirements. The system will check verification and validation.


The helpdesk will be provided for user if user face any problem of developed system.

Hypothesis / Research questions

The current system allows user to book appointment throw phone or user has to go to GP to book appointment. This will result such as long queue at the GP, hospitals. Only few GP’s using online booking system. There are some possibilities of problems such as users do not know about the online booking of their appointment. In case if user need to book appointment for repeat visit than they have to go every time to book appointment and problem is that users can miss their repeat visit because they did not have time to go or phone line was busy. The queue at GP’s will put pressure on the staff and may take more time.

It is important that complete project should fulfil all the requirements of system and also how system will work, features of system and functionality. The system will work on the basis of authentications and authorizations which will be achieved by providing the unique ID which is username and password to each user. The patient will be able to select of their desired date and time and also able to change if they want to. The online booking system will not work in case of emergency. In emergency there are always places available to go straight there, this system will work for normal booking to visit and see doctor for regular check-up.

1.5 Expected outcomes:

This is a real time project, so the purpose of this project is to develop a web based appointment booking system for GP and Hospitals where users will able to book appoint from anywhere in world. This will be a client and server application where client will be used for just entering the data and submitting it. The server side will be capable of processing.

This is academic level project, therefore the structure of this project will be little bit different than the usual professional project. Professional people mostly have the relevant knowledge about how to make the project but in academic level student first learn then make it into practice than they provide the application.

Theory Practice Application

(Dawson, 2005)

1.6 Risk in this Project and way of minimization:

The identification of risk in projection development is important because risk can put project on halt or destroy complete project. The project risks are those which will affect the quality and performance of project (Summerville I 2001).Some of the risks are highlighted are below.

Hardware problem:

The occurrence of hardware problem can happen while a lot of software is being used to develop a system. So laptop can crash. The virus can also be responsible for laptop crash. To conquer this problem the code always saved on another device like (flash drive or friend computer).So if the computer crashed than the old code can be taken without losing anything. This is one project risk.

Software complexity and connection:

The software installation and making connection between them is could be a problem. The installation of Mysql software, apache server and make connection between apache, PHP and Mysql. For this problem first all software will be use but if there is problem then Xampp where the old code can be generate. This is a project risk.

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Tools and software problem:

The Tools and software is always important for development any kind of project. If some software is giving error while development a system then there is always new software is available to use.


The Time limit into any project is a high risk. If time is not enough then it will lead to affect the performance of system and also quality. For example if any hardware problem or software problem occur in development of project where all the time is spent then at the end is not enough time to finish project. In his case the development of project will carry on and delivered as much done on 19h of November.


The involvement of human into anything can delay. If human is handling a project there is chances that person get sick which will delay the project. If this happens then try to finish project on time but if could not then delivered on 19th Novemberas much as possible.

Plan risk management approach

Risk management plan

Project objective achieved

Risk Register

Risk identification

Analyze the project to identify the sources of risk

Risk Assessment

Assess the risk in terms of:

Severity of impact

Likelihood of occurrence


New Risks

Risk Response

Aim to reduce possible damage

Create contingency plans

New risks

Risk Reduction

Implement risk strategy

Monitor and adjust plan for possible new risk

Change Management, if possible

New risks

Figure Risk Management Process

Technology to be used

The technology which will be use to develop a system are followed. The system will develop using back-end and front-end technology.

XHTML, CSS, MySQL, JavaScript, PHP and Apache Web Server.

XHTML: The XHTML will be used for web interface.

CSS: The CSS will use to enhance web site for better view.

MySQL: The MYSQL is a database language, it will be used to store database.

JavaScript: The use of this is to validate data.

PHP: The server side programming will be done with PHP.

Apache Web Server: This will use to test the system before implement system.

Chapter 2 Literature Review

According to Burke “Project management, Control and Management Techniques”. This book will give idea about “what should be Aims and Objective of project”. This book described that how to find a good AIMS and Objective of project. By using this book it help me to give idea about my project Aims and objective. The Aims and objective is most important part of project which will lead my project throughout the end. So this book helps me a lot to achieve perfect Aims and object for my project.

According to Stein in “How to setup and maintain the web site” is described about how to construct a web site and also how to maintain about development. This helps me throughout project to construct web pages. The technology HTML, PHP and JAVA are described with examples. Stein has described everything in details about technology and this will help full for beginner and also for professionals.

The appointment booking system is very important to run organisation successfully. The GP’s appointment booking system is important because every person who wants to be seen by doctor should make appointment. The GP’s (NHS) appointment system is always in news for delays, patient were not able to see doctor when they want. The government always introduce new system to tackle the problem, the government introduced SMS system as well as online booking for some GP’s.The two national survey were published in 1998 and 2000 highlighted the difficulty in accessing GP’s.The government was promised that by 2004,patient will be able to see primary care within 24 hours and GP with in 48 hours. The request for appointment into GP has become very important. The new GP contract in United Kingdom. The National Primary Care Development Team(NPCDT) was set up to deliver the government’s modernisation agenda in primary care by using the national primary care collaborative to implement change.

The solution is based on five principles, namely:

• understand the access demand on the practice

• clear the backlog of appointments

• review the appointment system

• develop contingency plans

• widen the mode of patient consultation.

” http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2296/6/39″

The web based appointment booking system will help customer sociologically because some people does not like to hear machine voices for example phone appointment booking system customer will call and automated machine will answer and that will put customer away because they do not like and web based appointment booking system will attract more customer.

The other problem is that if disable person want to book appointment with GP or hospital by phone than person has to wait until carer will come and phone for appointment because mostly GP phone appointment booking system runs in morning most GP want their patient to call for appointment in morning.

The NHS introduces new Plan for primary care in England promises access to healthcare professional within 24 hours and General practitioner (GP) within 48 hours. The new plan is given financial helps to achieve targets. The new plan will allow patient to see GP of their choice, the main focus on achieving targets could lead to reduced choice of doctor.

The National Primary Care Development Team (NPDT) has find out that some general practioner (GP) have adopted a restricted booking. They have limited the option for pre booking appointments or completely stoped.The NPDT did not allow that because it will frustration among those people who want to book appointment in advance (British Journal of General Practice, 2004).

The NPDT analysis was based on interviews conducted in the East Midlands, study centre. The focus was on patients and carers. The approval has been taken from Leicester Research Ethics Committee, 41 interviewees were recruited through 14 GP and more 15 were recruited from other organization, such as community centres, a charity. At least one has used their GP practice once in last 12 months. The participants were interviewed in 2002 and 2003 and interviews were recorded (British Journal of General Practice, 2004).

The another problem is GP telephone appointment booking system will only work until GP is open and telephone is attend by member of staff after closing time phone appointment booking system will not work.

Project Development Approach:

The project development approach is all about that what type of software project going to do and how much information about system already gathered. According to this project we have idea about problem which company is facing and what can do to new system to attract the attention of users towards the company. So it is confirmed that we need to build a web site where customer and company can attract each other. For this we need to visit company and try to find out what exactly they are expecting and will help them to increase their business. The information which is already collected will be very helpful to build a project.

The project development approach which is considered in development is Incremental Development approach. This approach starts from the initial planning and it will end when development of system is finished. In this approach the development is done in small portion and it will help to develop next stage. The advantage of this approach is that the system is divided into different stages once first stage is completed then the next stage will start. This approach consists of Initialization step at this step the basic idea of system is created and given to company with some functionality. If the organization is satisfy then the next stage which is redesign and implemented and also analyzing the current system. The development of project carries on step by step. The following steps which is important while developing a project.

Designing of project

Writing of coding

Testing of the codes

Final implementation

The development of system and also functionality of each section will process step by step. The each step functionality will be processed and if it is successful then consider as a project part. The approach give clear idea that project, the project is completed at step by step as in this way it is easy to find error and fix them as compare to at the end when it is very tough to find and fix.

2.1 Problems with current system

The problem using phone appointment booking system is always staff is not free to answer call and other is customer has to wait in a queue to be answered call and it could take up to minutes.

The other problem is that sometime operator make a mistake and forget to book appointment and without booking appointment disconnect call and customer will think appointment has been booked whatever date they want but unfortunately when they go for check up there is no appointment for customer into system because staff did not put into dairy. Another problem is that the patient can book their appointment only that time when GP is open they would not be able to book appointment all the time.

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The current system only runs by a member of staff, it costs more than web based appointment system. The company has to hire more staff to run organisation. There are number of other system in place in different locations like in some GP’s automated phone system is also in place which runs 365 days in year but problem with that some people does not like to wait long time for to get answered and also some people does not like to go with machine. This kind of system put people off to use that system.

The current system which is phone booking system people may not use because it is costly to access for example if patient need to book appointment they have to call and they need credit in their phone to call GP.So in this case some people may not like to waste their money and do not use system but as compare to online system they just pay small money and get access to many things and happily use new system. The other problem is that the patient do not want to speak their personal details publically so they have to find private place to phone GP and book appointment.

Integrating system with the tools to be used

In these days the development of software can be develop using different technology which is available in market and it can also happen that all the tools which been used may not integrate with each other. So it is really important to choose right technology which can integrate with each other. The technologies which are chosen to develop the system are PHP, MySQL, XHTML, CSS and JavaScript to be used in the development. The main reason using PHP is a server-side scripting language that allows website to be truly dynamic (Naramore E. et al, 2005). The open source HTML-embedded scripting language. The reason for using MySQL is it is good integration with PHP as it is recommended by most developer and writers. The apache web server will facilitate to experiment the system so we can make sure how the system will work online and if there is some error.

Programming Language


The PHP is a server-side scripting language that allows website to be truly dynamic (Naramore E. et al, 2005).The PHP is used widely for general purpose scripting language and it can be used with open source HTML.The PHP was originally developed to design a dynamic Web sites it is also HTML embedded. The PHP can also use as a graphical application. The PHP was created in 1995 by Rasmus Lerdorf and it has been in development continuously.

The PHP runs on server so we used WAMP server to run PHP language on computer the PHP is very user friendly language. The PHP output is mostly in HTML.The PHP is having over 20 million internet domain (April 2007) .The PHP used to develop a web site it is easy to use and it can be downloaded free and it will give result quickly.

The PHP used to access database because it also provide fast access to database. The use of PHP is for example if patient request a page, the server which is apache will execute PHP script and send output to show on page. The PHP is a only execute code which is written within its delimiters if anything written outside that then it will come as a output as you written. The PHP will be used to validation the pages and it is based on server side and validate requests of users.

2.4 Database Management System:

The Database is place where all the data will stored about patient details their appointment. It is easy to find database on every type of computers i.e. personal computer, large computer. My SQL provide a facility to handle and manage a relational database in very efficient way.

The Database Management system is used to allow database to create tables. It also let create relation, foreign key, and primary key and insert data into table in form of rows and columns. My SQL will be used as the database for our project. It is open source database and more than 10 million copies of My SQL are downloaded by the user / Developers. My SQL is owned by the Sun Microsystems. It was first developed by the Swedes and Fin in Sweden.


Advantages of using MYSQL are followed.

Performance is very good.

Easy to understand and use.

Connectivity with pages is easy.

Interface is simple.

MySQL, pronounced as “my sequel”, stands for My Structured Query Language. MySQL is a relational database system and free software. MySQL is very fitting software to use while developing the proposed system because it is open source software and can function as either a database management system or a relational database system.

Because of its open source feature, this means that anyone can download it for free, use the software and can modify it as they please without having to pay anything. MySQL will allow PHP and the Apache server to work together in order to have access to data and display them in a more readable format in a web browser.

WAMP Server

The WAMP is a server package which is independently created programme and installed on Microsoft window. The WAMP package components are Apache, MYSQL and PHP.The Apache is a server which uses to execute PHP code and MYSQL is a database which used to create database for patient and also their appointment booking details.

The WAMP make the computer server and computer acts like a server to run web pages and helps user to use all services on same computer. In some package also include phpmyadmin which is used to provide a graphical interface of MYSQL database. The WAMP is easy to use and it is free to download. It is a mini server and runs on all servers.

2.6 JavaScript

The JavaScript is also a scripting language and it is primarily used in client side. The JavaScript is used into web browser for client interface. The JavaScript was developed by Brendan Eich. The JavaScript is embedded into HTML code and as well Microsoft gadgets, Google desktop gadgets. The many scripting language is available to use like VBscript, etc.

The use of JavaScript in this system chosen because it is spread widely and it is accessible easily. The most web browser use JavaScript in these days ((Firefox, Internet Explorer and others).The use of JavaScript is that to collect information from user and validate their request or action. For example while patient is booking appointment if they choose date which is already gone then JavaScript show a message and invalidate a data.

2.7 Architecture

The appropriate architecture has to place in and examined that architecture. The multi-tier architecture is available (known as n-tier architecture) which is client and server architecture. The most communally used architecture is 3-tier architecture because it is much secure compare to other architecture (2-tier architecture).The benefit of using tier architecture is that the user only add a particular layer rather than writing a fully application again. The 3-tier architecture uses a middleware. The middleware is a layer which is between client and server which does not allow client to access database directly.

The benefit of using 3-tier architecture is that there is no need of connection with database from every client only from server side. It make sure that only valid data is updated, So the client does not have direct access to database it makes business more secure because the database of customer is placed on server side. The project is also client server based so 3-tier architecture is used to make sure that the system is much secure and middleware is there to provide a security to database. The clients send a request to server then server process it and send back to client.

The database need to update only on server side each time if some changes happen to database and it does not disturb all clients. The 3-tier application is much difficult to compare to 2-tier application to develop but it is provide much higher security to organisations and their consumer as well. The data or functions which are critical are not processed on client side all critical function or data are processed on server side. The 3-tier is associated with many databases but in this system the database used is MYSQL and it is associated with MYSQL as well.

The information flow on both direction between client and server and one client can send one or more request to server and server process them (comer E, 2001).So the 3-tier application is used which is much secure and communally used architecture.

Figure 1: 3-tier Architecture Model

2.7 Web Security

The web security is a critical component for any web based business. The web security is very important when developing something which is web based, the developer should consider this. The user must be fully satisfied that all the data which is given is confidential. The web security will detect threats and it will take more time to recover threats. The client and also server both side have to be secured while they are working with web security. But there are the positive side which is providing two protocols to secure the accessibility on the web through Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Secure HTTP. “SSL uses public key authentication and encryption technology and the SSL handshake protocol has to be completed before an application is transmitted or received. Secure HTTP is related to security over the general socket based communication and facilitates encryption methods at the application layer.

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Chapter 3 Research Methodology

3.1 Available Researches

The research method is that how the data is going to collect for project. This part will show the method which has been used to carry out whole research. There are many research methodologies available such as quantitative research, qualitative research, exploratory research, primary data collection, secondary data collection and empirical research.

3.2 Primary Data

The primary data collection is collect a data from real world which include focus group, taking an experimental approach, experience gained from past. It also include the formal and informal interviews and mixed this with the data which collected from secondary method ie, books, journals and internet etc.The data which is collected through observation is given less importance because observation is not perfect always

Research Method Used

The research method is important and research method which is used for project is Action Research Method. This methodology means simply “learning by doing”, identify the problem. The action of system will be considered and if outcome is fine that is good otherwise it will start process from same point again. The research method is secure and efficient in way of accuracy. This research method is mostly used. This research method will continues working until problem solved. This kind of research method is also called qualitative research method. In this method feasibility study will be carried to setting up interviews and discussions with organisation as they are users.

Chapter 4 Design

The design of project is important so design will be made before start developing a project i.e. the tools like use case and also use entity relational diagram to show relation.

Use Case

The use case is a interface between user and a system. The use case diagram use to display a relationship between actors and use cases. The main components of use case diagram are actor and use case, an actor in this system is the patient who uses this system to booking appointment.

The user access a web page (home page) which uses to inform a user about effectiveness and efficiency of the system. The user then can click on health news, opening time and appointment booking to log in and choose date and time and also choose of doctor to book their appointment.

Register Details

Choose Date and Time

Web Page

Make appointment

Log In

Patient Details


GP Or Hospital

In this diagram shows that patient can Register their details with GP or Hospital, Log In, Visit web page and main thing is that they can make appointment where they can choose date and time which are available.

4.2 Entity Relation Diagram











User name





Primary and foreign keys are also established between the entities, in the account table primary key has been defined to username As a unique number is allotted to each and every Product in the database it is taken in to consideration for the primary key. In book table primary key has been defined to ref has been allocated to each appointment. In registration table also ID is primary key.

Screen Shot of Main Page

The screen shows the main page of web design.

Chapter 4 Timeline

It is obviously important to estimate the time for the whole project which shows us how long the project will take to be completed (Dawson, 2005). Since the project will require lot of time it is also very significant to do the planning very well. Figure 2 shows the Work break down of the entire project and duration for each tasks and it outlines the basic path all the way from the initiation to the closing of the project.

Figure 2 Gantt chart for the whole project

As showed in the Gantt chart the project is planned to be finished in fourteen weeks and six days time which is 73 days in total. There are ten milestones that need to be achieved during the whole project life cycle. After every milestone is achieved the project will reach the closing phase and thus the planning is done.

Chapter 5 Documentation:

The project is divided into these phases to develop

Definition, Planning, Design and Analysis, Code/structure and Testing.


The definition is first step of project where the problem is defined and then finds a way for further progress.


The Planning step is very important because planning of any project to lead success of project. In this step the planning is done of project to solve problem.


The next step is design of system which is also important in this phase different tools to be used to design the system (use case, ERD, Photoshop).


After designing is done then programming language used to develop a system.


The testing will be done when the system is completed and it is in working condition. The testing will be done to make project error free.

(Dawson, 2005)

Chapter 6 Implementation/Testing

Once the project is completed or some function is working than testing will be carry out to check if the function which is created is working. The testing will be done while developing web pages because at the end if testing will be done than it will be hard to find errors within project so error detection will be done at each stage and sort them. For Implementation and Testing For example if Registration Page for patient has been created than it will be tested to check if it is working as it should be, The screen shot of working function of registration page is followed.

Screen shot of Registration page


There were a number of limitations in this project, as it is difficult to find the managers and staff to interview. The other limitation was an access to resources and the main limitation was a time which was less. If the time is given more than the project could be better in performance it could be more stuff to research and implemented. If the time is given more than can get help of people to editing.

Chapter 6 Conclusion

The conclusion is that online appointment booking system will be benefit for the GP’s or hospitals. The system will be developed and will fulfil the user requirements and as well system requirements. This research also describe the solution of problem which GP is facing and it will solved by the proposed system. It will also be time saving and accessing system will be easy because the services provided through the database design and methodology implemented. The system also supports multiple users at a time so it will be also helpful to the users and administrators of the organisation.

Although the developed system may be come across with problems in everyday life examples, it is significant to store the associated documents carefully so that the future researchers can get more knowledge into it from their experience. Particularly for this paper, it will help the reader to understand that how to chose the methodology for the underlying research, how to plan for that and how the design should be done as a developer.

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