eConsult implements UK’s first blueprint for virtual outpatient departments to reduce waiting list backlog

 eConsult, the UK’s leading digital triage provider, has entered into a six-year agreement with Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust to deliver the UK’s first blueprint for its 48 specialty outpatient departments, virtually. eConsult’s end-to-end digital patient management system will empower the hospital to ask referred patients a specialist list of questions, triaging them at the outpatients referral stage, to reduce waiting list backlog, join up care, and improve patients’ experience.

With a record number of people waiting to start treatment on the NHS and four in five people now on waiting lists for hospital appointments rather than surgery, the partnership will enable Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust to improve efficiencies by introducing clinically safe remote patient management at scale via a browser or desktop toolbar.

This digital-first approach will enhance the patient experience by empowering them to take more control over their appointments. The system will allow them to send in information ahead of a visit and pre-book tests and appointments with relevant specialists before attending a clinic. It will also reduce the total number of visits they need to make to the hospital.

The patient management system will enable the Trust to prioritise their waiting lists by implementing triage at every stage of the patient pathway, identifying and removing any unnecessary appointments and managing appropriate patients remotely where possible, freeing up clinicians’ time.

eConsult’s technology is the only solution allowing its users to switch between either a phone call or a video call. This means that if there are connection issues or the user has any technical difficulties, the call will not be disrupted.

Whilst this collaboration serves as the first roll-out of this technology across the complete outpatient stack, eConsult Health has also been working with the Cardiff & Vale acne clinic on deploying a smaller scale version of the project. In digitising the department, eConsult was able to reduce the projected waiting list clearance time from 20 years to three years using pre-screening questionnaires, whilst also reducing non-attendance from 40% to nearly zero.

Charlotte Williams, Chief Strategy and Improvement Officer at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our partnership with eConsult is a demonstration of our firm commitment to implement digital solutions and innovation so we can provide the best outpatient care for our patients. By combining our Trust’s specialist clinical expertise with state-of-the-art technology, we will be able to assess our patients’ needs better and transform our services.”

Dr Murray Ellender, practising GP and co-founder of eConsult said“We remain focused on using our patient-first digital triage technology to deliver a safer and more efficient experience within the NHS. Therefore, to be chosen as the innovation partner for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust is testament to our clinically led approach, and our experience providing triage services to 40% of the UK population in a primary care setting. We strongly believe that this will form the blueprint for the future, and usher in a new era of delivering a better level of care in outpatient departments.”


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