eConsult Online Triage Now Offered by 3,000 NHS GP Practices
· Calsayseat Medical Group has become the 3,000th practice to go live with digital triage provider eConsult
· Online triage improves the flow of primary care patients and directs patients to the right treatment first time
· The availability and usage of eConsult’s online consultations has surged during COVID-19 and is now available to more than 26 million NHS patients
Today, eConsult Health announced that its GP-designed online consultation and triage service is now offered by 3,000 NHS GP practices and available to more than 26 million patients.
The popular eConsult online system is now widely used by GP surgeries in the NHS around the country. During the COVID-19 crisis it has had a surge in both demand and usage, safely allowing patients to be helped remotely and enabling GP practice staff to remain protected from potential infection. Online triage has been proven to reduce waiting times for contacting the practice and receiving help, increase the time and quality of face-to-face GP consultations, when they are necessary, and improve overall patient care.
The majority of patient requests submitted through eConsult can be safely resolved remotely (e.g. response via text, email, telephone call or video consultation), without requiring a face-to-face GP appointment (70% before COVID-19 and over 90% during COVID-19).
eConsult uptake in NHS GP practices and patient reach: August 2013 – June 2020
This is the latest milestone for eConsult, which was recently selected as the primary remote care provider for the Ministry of Defence and is currently the only online consultation service directly integrated into the NHS App.
On reaching 3,000 GP practices, eConsult’s Digital Triage service is now available in two-fifths of all GP practices in England, reaching more than half of all patients in England. A total of 2.5 million eConsultations have been completed so far during 2020, with a prediction of 5 million by the end of the year.
Dr Murray Ellender, CEO of eConsult said, “As a healthtech company run by NHS doctors, we are proud to be supporting GP practices during very difficult times. Our technology has helped keep GP surgeries operational and safe during the COVID-19 crisis, with our team working around the clock to get GP practices up and running with eConsult.”
Dr Neil Adam, GP at Calsayseat Medical Group, said; "We are all looking at new, innovative, ways of working in current times and beyond. We have so far been conducting video and telephone consultations but the implementation of eConsult will help us effectively manage patient demand, the 24/7 nature of digital consultation means it is the most convenient for patients but also gives our team of GPs more control over appointment management and prioritisation. So far the response from patients has been very positive and we're confident this will continue."
How eConsult works.
With eConsult, registered patients no longer have to wait for the surgery to open to get the advice they need from their GP.
Patients submit symptoms through the eConsult system, an easy to use interface on the website homepage of the GP practice, or through the NHS App in England, at any time of the day or night through their computer or smartphone. eConsult allows GPs to prioritise patients and deal with patients’ queries more effectively. In many cases, patients may be saved an unnecessary trip to the practice.
Where an appointment is necessary, the GP will have detailed information about their patient before the appointment, giving the patient increased quality time with their doctor.
The new method also helps patients better manage long-term conditions as the doctor can respond to the patient’s query without the need to book a face-to-face appointment. The system gives patients more choice, including the option to self-manage conditions or symptoms at home, or to find their nearest pharmacy for advice on how to manage conditions themselves.
eConsult is an online platform which allows patients to consult with their own NHS GP by completing a quick online form that is sent and reviewed by the practice. Patients can get help via eConsult anytime, even outside of surgery hours. It takes clinicians only 2-3 minutes to process an eConsult query. The clinician can determine who is most urgently in need of help, including a face to face appointment if necessary, and the platform can also redirect patients to self-help, pharmacy advice and local self-referral services.