Decision support specialist Plain Healthcare has launched a self-assessment tool to enable patients to assess their symptoms before seeing a GP.

The company has also announced the release of a web-deployed version of its triaging software.

Odyssey SelfAssess is designed to enable patients to assess their own needs instead of or before consulting a health professional.

The company has been running trials of the software with 500 patients at three pilot sites including Coventry University Health Centre, where students have been able to assess their symptoms in the waiting room before seeing a GP.

The software has also been tested at the Walkergate GP surgery in Beverley, Hull, and the Encompass walk-in centre in Washington, Tyne and Wear.

Plain Healthcare said the trials had been very positive and shown that the product provided appropriate levels of guidance. This, in turn promoted high levels of user confidence.

Sue Bovill, lead nurse at the Encompass walk-in centre, added: “Odyssey SelfAssess made patients more aware of the questions we may ask so answers were already prepared, making consultations faster.”

Plain said that as well as making the self-assessment tool available in GP surgeries, pharmacists, A & E departments and walk-in centres, it was developing Odyssey SelfAssess to be used online and via smartphones.

The company has also launched a web deployed and cloud enabled version of its Odyssey TeleAssess triaging system, which is widely used by clinicians in out-of-hours services.

The product has also been integrated into EMIS and TPP’s clinical systems. Plain said it believed this would significantly extend the potential, use and customer base for its decision support products to UK and international markets and assist the integration of Odyssey products into partner products worldwide.