A workload management solution that uses artificial intelligence to intelligently triage and route patient requests to the most appropriate contact within GP surgeries has been successful in the latest (second) round of the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award, as a Phase 4 project.
eConsult Health was one of 38 organisations to receive the funding, which was announced by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, on the 16th June 2021. The AI Award is making £140 million available over four years to accelerate the testing and evaluation of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.
It means that eConsult Health will be able to work with expert partners to develop the AI that reduces the administrative burden of triaging online consultations and ensures that patient needs are matched to a clinician’s scope of practice, taking the technology one step closer to being used in the NHS to benefit patients.
This workload management solution will benefit practices by automating the triaging and routing of online consultations to the right practice team member, such as a clinician or administrative team member. This ensures that patients are helped by the most appropriate person within the wider primary care workforce, reducing overall costs and freeing up resources within GP practices.
For patients, this means a better experience of seeking care from their GP practice. Patients will be helped by the most appropriate person based on their needs, first time and every time. This will mean they can avoid potentially unnecessary visits and have their needs better met and faster, whilst facilitating early identification of serious symptoms that might otherwise get worse. Other cost savings realised in creating efficiency within primary care will allow for rethinking of current practices and capacity, for example by allowing extended appointments for patients with more complex needs.
eConsult Health’s CEO, GP and co-founder Dr Murray Ellender, said, “We’re delighted to be among such great company in this latest round of the AI Award. We’ve been exploring how we can use machine learning and AI technology to enable the delivery of faster, more accurate and more effective healthcare for a while. Working with world-class partners and the NHS to share expertise will allow us to test, learn and develop platforms that benefit all patients and the NHS. We want to build bodies of evidence to prove that this technology can be used safely and to create efficiency, continuing our track-record of creating innovations that tackle real-life problems from within the NHS.”
The AI Award is one of the programmes that make up the NHS AI Lab, led by NHSX and delivered in partnership with the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
Dan Bamford, Deputy Director AI Award, Accelerated Access Collaborative, said, ‘Congratulations to eConsult Health on their success as one of our winners in Round 2 of the AI Award. We look forward to working with them as they develop and test their technology further so that more patients can benefit from this cutting-edge artificial intelligence.’
Dr Indra Joshi, Director of AI, NHSX, said, ‘With this latest round of AI Award winners, we now have an incredible breadth of expertise across a wide range of clinical and operational areas. Through this award, eConsult Health will be at the forefront of applying artificial intelligence in new ways to transform health and care.’
eConsult Health Limited provides the most widely used digital triage systems in the NHS across primary and secondary care. The company’s platforms include:
- eConsult – An award-winning online consultation platform for primary care
- eTriage – A platform for NHS Emergency Departments and Urgent Treatment Centres designed to automatically check-in and prioritise patients upon arrival by clinical need
- eSpecialist – A newly developed solution for outpatient care to ensure clinicians have the right information to be able to triage, manage and treat patients at the earliest point
All of eConsult Health’s platforms are guided by patient safety and clinical governance, developed by NHS clinicians and overseen by the company’s award-winning Clinical Governance Board. This enables safe and effective triage and ensures patients receive the right healthcare at the first time, every time. www.econsult.net
NHSX is a joint unit of teams from the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England and Improvement, driving forward the digital transformation of health and social care. www.nhsx.nhs.uk
The Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) is a unique partnership between patient groups, government bodies, industry and NHS bodies, working together to streamline the adoption of new innovations in healthcare. www.england.nhs.uk/aacThe National Institute for Health and Research (NIHR) provides the people, facilities, and technology that enable research to thrive. www.nihr.ac.uk
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