Scottish health board rolls out technology system
NHS Grampian is providing its GP practices with a new digital triage system that helps doctors prioritise who needs face to face help.
The health board and the three integration joint boards that provide health and social care services in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray have procured the online consultation solution eConsult. The platform allows patients to submit their symptoms or make a request to their GP online by completing a quick questionnaire.
Patients can access eConsult at any time, even outside of surgery hours.
Practices receive the patient’s history in a concise document, which they can review within three minutes.
The clinician can then determine who is most urgently in need of help, including a face to face appointment if necessary, and the platform can also redirect patients to self-help, pharmacy advice and local self-referral services.
The aim is to reduce waiting times and ensure that those who need Near Me or face to face consultations receive them at the earliest point.
To date, 51 of NHS Grampian’s practices have adopted eConsult and the health board hopes more will consider using online consultations to assist them in providing care, particularly in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Simon Bokor-Ingram, chief officer of health and social care in Moray, explained: “Our practices were facing a range of challenges, such as high volumes of calls, long appointment wait times and now finding ways to support patients during COVID-19. We wanted to find a solution for them that would help ease this burden and ensure that they could provide the best possible care.
“eConsult has allowed patients to receive care wherever they are, at any time, and doesn’t require them to phone or visit a practice unless they have to. For example, whereas before patients would have to attend the practice for long-term condition reviews, they can now quickly complete a form online updating their doctor on their condition, who can then review this and decide on the best course of action remotely.
“This has eased pressure on staff who can now prioritise their patients and their workload. It has also benefited patients. Those in rural areas who would have to travel long distances to their practice can now access care from home and patients no longer have to make unnecessary trips to their surgery. For those who don’t have internet access or need to speak to or see a clinician, they can now get through to the practice quicker as other patients are being treated remotely and not taking up as much time.”