NHS App Integrates eConsult for Online Consultations
eConsult, the UK’s leading online triage provider to the NHS, has become the first online consultation service to be integrated with the NHS App. Patients whose GP surgeries use eConsult can use the NHS App to ‘Ask your GP for advice’ and are prompted to complete clinically validated eConsult questions. This is known as an online consultation and allows the GP Surgery to decide how best to advise the patient. Where possible the online consultation will be passed to the patient’s regular GP or member of the team who will then respond. The NHS App, owned by the NHS is a simple and secure way to access a variety of NHS services from mobile devices. Now eConsult is integrated into the NHS App for initial, online triage with efficient use for patients and doctors. Further detail can be found via our supporting video here.
eConsult, a healthtech company founded by NHS GPs, supports a safer service in primary care across the UK during COVID-19 through its online triage service. It has become increasingly frequent for patients to use online consultations first, rather than call or show up to their local GP surgery. eConsult is enabling patients to receive online consultations quickly and easily, supporting the NHS in prioritising urgent cases.
The eConsult integration in the NHS App enables the patient to quickly and easily access online consultations to get help from their GP surgery, allowing their doctor to undertake initial triage as the patient answers the same questions that their doctor would ask. It saves time waiting for an appointment or going to your GP surgery. After their online consultation is submitted, their GP will follow up with either an electronic message, phone call or video consultation (video call) or a face-to-face appointment with the necessary treatments and results.
By enabling GPs to prioritise and treat patients online, eConsult is helping GP surgeries to reduce the amount of people who are physically seeing their GPs, which has become essential due to the risk of contracting COVID-19. Before the crisis, approximately 70-90% of patients in primary care were seen face-to-face, now this number is matched by the consultations resolved digitally. National figures show that 70-75% of patients do not require an in-person consultation following a digital triage. Some eConsult users have reported that over 90% of patients are now being treated remotely.
eConsult has worked closely with the NHS App project team to integrate eConsult into the app and is constantly updating and re-evaluating these functions ensuring that patients receive the most effective service. It is currently available at around a quarter of GP practices in England.
eConsult’s Chief executive, Dr Murray Ellender, commented, “As COVID-19 continues to keep us in lockdown, we want to make sure that everyone in England is receiving the best medical care possible. The eConsult integration with the NHS App is allowing people above the age of 13, whatever their level of capability to have easy access to important medical advice when they need it. This is vital for eConsult patients during COVID-19 as people are more reluctant to seek medical advice for other illnesses due to fear of catching the coronavirus. As people are using healthcare apps more frequently than ever before to seek medical advice, this integration among providers is a step in the right direction for efficiency between patients and doctors”
Ian Phoenix, NHS Digital Director of Citizen Health Technology, said: The NHS App is one of a number of tools that allows patients to access NHS services digitally. People can order repeat prescriptions, manage appointments, check symptoms and view their GP medical record safely and securely. It’s great news that the first online consultation provider has been integrated into the NHS App, enabling more people to access even more health and care services using the app as the digital front door.”
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