by Steve Lillywhite

eConsult are winners at the HSJ Awards 2017

The eConsult team were part of the HSJ Awards last week, the largest ceremony of its type in the world. This year saw fierce competition for the coveted awards with over 1,600 entries across 23 categories. We were nominated for two categories, the Primary Care Innovation award and the Acute, Community and/or Primary Care Services Redesign award.

We were delighted to win the Primary Care Innovation award and had a memorable evening, with the event showcasing some of the best examples of forward thinking the healthcare sector has to offer. Kathy McLean (Medical Director and interim COO at NHS Improvement) reported that the judging panel said “[the eConsult] approach is the model for the whole of the NHS. It focuses on the future, is clinically led, evolving and responsive to patient needs”.

eConsult was developed by practising GPs within The Hurley Group, initially seeking to solve an internal problem of managing ever-increasing demand with finite resources, but now supporting patients and practices across the country. The award process required us to present to a heavyweight panel, who sought robust evidence of the efficacy of our digital triage tool, which after much guidance and learning, is coming of age.

Nevertheless, we are still early in our journey, the eConsult platform has evolved significantly over the past 24 months and will continue to evolve to meet the needs of our patients and practices. We strive to continue to support general practice delivery through the use of our system, improving access for patients and easing pressure on clinicians.

For example, the Hurley Group’s eHub is now closing 75% of econsultations remotely, freeing up clinician time for the most needy and complex patients. From the perspective of the admin team it improves efficiency and provides flexibility, for the clinical team it allows a degree of headspace, and reduces the time taken to review a patient’s case.

Thank you HSJ, and thank you to all the practices and patients who have kept faith while we continue to learn the lessons that will deliver an unbeatable service.