Doctorlink, the leading online triage provider to NHS general practice, has today launched an Urgent Care Triage platform for Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments. The new service will reduce long waiting times by helping patients more quickly access the correct form of clinical care for their symptoms.
Research has shown that 4 million A&E appointments each year are not clinically urgent. These non-urgent attendances – where symptoms and medical history indicate patients should receive care from a GP, pharmacist or other community service – represent a sixth of annual A&E visits.
By directing patients to the best form of clinical care for their needs, the Urgent Care Triage platform will reduce waiting times in A&E departments and improve patient flow, in turn benefitting the overall patient experience and offering A&E departments cost savings.
To use the platform, patients will answer a set of questions about their condition on a touchscreen, which will help hospital staff to prioritise visitors. Patients whose symptoms do not indicate a need for A&E consultation will be offered other forms of care tailored to their symptoms and medical history, including face-to-face GP appointments, pharmacy consultations or safe self-care. This will help A&E departments to work towards their target of treating and discharging, admitting or transferring 95% of patients who arrive in A&E within four hours.
Doctorlink’s general practice online triage currently operates in over 1,500 GP practices, covering 12.5 million NHS patients. Practices and patients typically benefit from a 32 per cent reduction in demand for appointments and a drop in calls by over a third, with 40 per cent of patients making use of Doctorlink’s 24/7 care feature by accessing the platform out of hours.
Rupert Spiegelberg, CEO of Doctorlink says: “We’ve already seen impressive results from the use of our online triage tool in general practice. Doctorlink’s new Urgent Care Platform will help people who need A&E attention be seen by clinicians faster than they do now. Other patients will be directed to other local services best suited to their medical history and symptoms. This can include GP appointments, pharmacy consultation, mental health services and other community health organisations.
“It is a great example of how technology can help and assist healthcare professionals for better outcomes. This is exactly what NHS Emergency Departments need, especially in the run up to winter and with the potential for another wave of Covid-19 demand. By directing patients to the correct form of care, practices save valuable time and money and patients get the care they need in a fraction of the time. Our Platform will help Emergency Departments to manage demand, reduce costs and improve performance over this challenging period.”