Not all online consultation solutions are the same

Doctorlink News article

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the NHS to adopt digital solutions more quickly, with the need to deliver remote and virtual consultations to patients, to help prevent the spread of the virus. In addition, online consultation solutions provide a wide range of services that benefit both practices and patients. But the solutions vary from provider to provider, with each offering different functionality.

An online consultation solution can generally be divided into two options:

1) Information Gathering
Patients complete an online form which is sent to their Practice for review and the practice team decide how to support the patient with their clinical need. Responsibility remains with the practice, and in some cases providers offer patients the ability to opt for selfcare if appropriate.

2) Automated Triage
Patients complete a symptom assessment, through an interactive questionnaire. Based on the answers given by the patient, the question sets follow various care pathways depending on the symptoms that the patient is experiencing, just as a clinician would in a standard consultation. The information provided by the patient enables the solution to signpost the patient to the most appropriate place for treatment: pharmacy, dentist, sexual health clinic, the Emergency services, GP practice etc.

“Practices are trying to run their services in line with the patient demographic that they look after, and quite rightly so, but one size does not fit all – practices need choice and digital services need to be flexible to support both the practice’s individual operational model and their patients.” Keith Nurcombe – NHS Managing Director, Doctorlink.

At Doctorlink we provide our NHS clients with a single online consultation solution that can be configured to suit individual practice operating models. Our solution improves the patient experience and access to healthcare, while also supporting practices to manage the demand for their services.

“One practice can use Doctorlink to gather information and remain fully responsible for every patient journey, others may need support with patient demand management and can opt for our fully automated triage service,” explains Tara Scott-Sowter – NHS Client Services Director, Doctorlink. “Clients can be assured of our automated triage quality, as the Doctorlink service is in line with National, NICE and best practice guidelines, and ensures that patients get signposted to the right place, at the right time and for the right type of care based on their clinical need.”

“One user in particular was told to take her husband to hospital, following an assessment, which was the right place for him.” Blake Foster – Practice Manager, Chapelgreen Practice.

Through Doctorlink’s range of functionality including direct appointment booking, repeat prescription requests and admin tasks; and its integration with various clinical systems, we also support reception and admin teams with workflow management, and allows patients to access GP services at a time that suits them.

“We’ve also seen a good amount of usage outside of core hours, which is surprising to see, it’s not just people who are going onto Doctorlink because they can’t get through on the phone, they’re going on at their convenience.” Blake Foster – Practice Manager, Chapelgreen Practice.

Doctorlink’s Online Consultation with automated triage helps practices to manage the overwhelming and increasing demand for services by safely signposting patients to other healthcare services where appropriate. Learn more about how Doctorlink supports GP practices: