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eConsult launches new eTriage Service in Western Sussex Hospitals to reduce emergency care waiting times

Riccardo Garavani  | 29th June 2020

eConsult Press Release

On the 9th of March 2020, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will be the first to benefit from a new digital triage service in their emergency and urgent care units.

eTriage will be available from next week in Worthing Hospital and St. Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, with further plans to roll-out eTriage in Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Central Middlesex Hospital over the coming months.

eTriage, developed by NHS emergency doctors and nurses working for eConsult, is an automated check-in and triage platform for patients, which reduces initial triage times. This eliminates queueing at reception and results in faster movement of patients through the hospital’s system. After entering basic personal details, the patient is asked specific questions about their symptoms, the same questions that a clinician would ask when seeing the patient face-to-face.

The triage process takes approximately four minutes (the current triage times can vary widely from 15 minutes to over an hour) and the patients are seen according to the urgency of their condition. Following Matt Hancock’s recent announcement stating that A&E waiting targets are likely to be scrapped, there is a pressing need to focus on faster triage to identify sick patients quickly and prioritise patients with life-threatening illness or injury.

We are very excited for eTriage to go live in Worthing Hospital and St. Richard’s Hospital, and for its subsequent roll-out in other hospitals later this year. Digital triage allows doctors and nurses to focus on the face-to-face interactions with their patients and prioritises those who are most in need.

eConsult’s chief executive, Dr Murray Ellender, commented on the eTriage roll-out in West Sussex:

While NHS resources are stretched thin, and emergency doctors and nurses are under increasing pressure to see countless patients over a short period of time, eTriage can provide some much-needed relief on the current healthcare system.”

According to an Independent Candesic report, the time to treatment has been reduced by an average of seven minutes and a number of patients with life threatening conditions have been picked up within minutes of arrival. eTriage also highlights those patients that may be suitable for redirection to other, more appropriate health care services such as GPs, within minutes of their arrival, which can alleviate significant clinical and administrative pressures.

Candesic Report Results Summary

An independent Candesic report was commissioned to examine the effectiveness of the eTriage system at Queen Mary’s Hospital Sidcup as part of a trial in its Urgent Care Centre.

  • It assessed 28,417 records over a six-month period from January to June 2018
  • The service was used over 28,000 times and 99% of visits were check in and triaged using eTriage

To date, over 120,000 patients have used eTriage in Queen Mary’s Hospital Sidcup.

eConsult is the most widely used online consultation platform, and the first choice of the NHS. eConsult 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 GPs only 2-3 minutes to process an eConsult. The GP can determine who is most in need of an appointment, and redirect patients to self-help, pharmacy advice and local self-referral services. Research shows that 70% of requests are closed without the need for a face-to-face appointment. This alleviates pressure on GP surgeries and improves the doctor-patient relationship. eConsult is accessible and convenient for patients and removes the stress, admin, and bureaucracy from the healthcare system. eConsult is available in over 1,200 GP surgeries across the country.

eTriage is eConsult’s digital triage service used in Urgent Care Centres and Emergency Departments. Patients can sign in upon arrival via an eTriage tablet and are automatically triaged by clinical need. This eliminates queueing at reception and results in faster movement through the hospital system. eTriage has successfully reduced wait times and accelerated initial patient reception, allowing doctors and nurses to focus on patients’ needs.

Both eConsult and eTriage use technology to streamline the healthcare system and help healthcare professionals do what they do best.

What is eTriage?

eTriage is a digital triage solution for NHS Emergency Departments and Urgent Treatment Centres, developed by clinicians. eTriage was designed to automatically checks-in and prioritise (triage) patients upon arrival to an Emergency Department. eTriage speeds up the streaming process, identifying sick patients earlier, reducing the waiting time and time to treatment within the department and delivers improved patient journeys.