A new online triage system introduced by Egton, which is part of EMIS Group, has allowed a GP practice in east London to reduce admin and cut the time that patients wait for an appointment from up to four weeks to just one day.

The GP IT software supplier introduced clinical triage as well as video consultations to its Patient Access system earlier this month.

However, GPs at Stratford Village Surgery in east London had earlier access to a pilot version of the programme and has been using it since August.

Since then, the surgery has said the clinical triage programme, which asks patients to fill in an online form before a GP appointment is allocated, is allowing GPs to deal with patients more effectively.

Of the 2,500 patient who have used the service, only 25% needed a physical appointment.

The majority of requests for appointments could be dealt with in writing or by speaking to the patients, said EMIS. Some were sign-posted to alternative services or self-help information, which enabled them to directly access the services they required. Local direct access services are made available on Egton online triage.

GP Bhupinder Kohli, who is medical director at Stratford Surgery, said clinicians were getting through 30 online patient queries in the time it took to do 18 face-to-face consultations ­- making life easier for patients, clinicians and admin staff alike.

He said: “The team are able to identify which patients require a face-to-face appointment and which ones can be dealt with by referring them to a pharmacist or other specialist, or by simply sending them out paperwork.

“This means it’s much easier to provide appointment slots as we’re able to quickly redirect patients who don’t need to be seen in practice.”

The updated version of the Patient Access app forms part of EMIS’s next phase of GP IT software, which also includes its new web platform, EMIS-X.

The cloud-based platform, which uses Amazon Web Services (AWS), aims to create an ecosystem that supports NHS Digital interoperability standards, where applications are allowed to share selective live data with others.