The system, Electronic Data Interchange, takes the required information from the treating hospital's computing system and sends it to the United States. Here it is put in the correct form before being returned to the hospital for processing.
It is based on a product developed in the United States by Health Communication Services, which operates the US side of the BUPA service.
Not only is the processing speeded up dramatically, the accuracy of the information is improved. And the hospitals, as well as the patients, benefit because they can see, on a daily basis, the progress of all claims submitted.
BUPA is so confident of the appeal of the concept that Datahealth, the company set up to operate the service for its three million subscribers, will offer it to other insurers and hospitals.
Charles Waudby, Datahealth managing director, said: 'Hospitals have long had a problem getting claim forms filled in properly - adding time, administrative costs and frustration. This system is a vast improvement.'