eConsult Health was recently announced as one of twelve MedTech companies awarded a share of a £1.13 million grant by SBRI Healthcare, a body that works with businesses to identify and create health technology solutions for the NHS.
The pressures on hospital emergency departments are well documented in the NHS, and with the added complications of COVID-19, emergency departments are under intense levels of pressure on a global basis.
The competition invited funding applicants to develop solutions to these challenges in urgent and emergency care, addressing the issues of reducing demand and length of stay in emergency departments. Our share of the grant focused on eTriage, our digital triage solution which allows patients to check themselves in and be automatically triaged upon arrival into an urgent treatment centre (UTC) or emergency department (ED).
This gives clinicians full visibility of the clinical risk that is currently in their waiting room by ranking patients’ acuity. This allows them to quickly identify patients who need immediate assistance or those patients with lower priority scores that can be redirected to more appropriate healthcare services, such as their GP. This is also increasingly important during COVID-19 as maintaining social distancing can be challenging in crowded waiting rooms.
Developed over several years by our clinical experts and launched in 2018, this platform triages ambulatory patients based on a clinical priority scale of 1-5 and integrates fully with clinical systems such as Adastra/SystmOne and Cerner.
Over nine sites across the UK are currently using eTriage with an adoption rate of over 80%. This demonstrates that patients of all ages and backgrounds are able to use this self-service check-in and triage platform to provide their personal details as well as why they are seeking help from the NHS.
Our project is supported by SBRI Healthcare, an NHS England and NHS Improvement initiative, supported by the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs).
It will explore the feasibility of rerouting lower priority patients, in categories 4 and 5, from UTCs or EDs to a more appropriate point-of-care. This is done by harnessing the existing eTriage software platform to allow:
- More effective triage and streaming of patients within the department,
- Avoidance of unnecessary attendance at the department if not the most appropriate location based on their needs,
- The potential to automatically route a digital consultation back into a GP practice.
Benefits felt across eTriage sites include improved patient experience in the department due to increased privacy and reduced waiting times. The collection of robust and structured patient information, including the collection of Emergency Care Data Set (ECDS) information, is also helping departments to meet requirements, as well as improving key performance indicators such as time to initial assessment and time to treatment.