Online consultation provider Doctorlink has launched an urgent care triage platform for A&E departments.

The platform aims to reduce waiting times by helping patients more quickly access the correct form of clinical care.

To use the platform, patients will be asked to answer a set of questions about their condition on a touchscreen in the A&E, which will help hospital staff to prioritise visitors.

Patients whose symptoms do not indicate a need for A&E consultation will be offered other forms of care based on their symptoms and medical history, including face-to-face GP appointments, pharmacy consultations or safe self-care.

It’s hoped this will help A&E departments to work towards their target of treating and discharging, admitting or transferring 95% of patients who arrive in A&E within four hours.

Rupert Spiegelberg, chief executive of Doctorlink, said: “We’ve already seen impressive results from the use of our online triage tool in general practice.

“Doctorlink’s new Urgent Care Platform will help people who need A&E attention be seen by clinicians faster than they do now. Other patients will be directed to other local services best suited to their medical history and symptoms.

“This can include GP appointments, pharmacy consultation, mental health services and other community health organisations.

“It is a great example of how technology can help and assist healthcare professionals for better outcomes. This is exactly what NHS emergency departments need, especially in the run up to winter and with the potential for another wave of Covid-19 demand.

“By directing patients to the correct form of care, practices save valuable time and money and patients get the care they need in a fraction of the time.”

Doctorlink’s GP online triage currently operates in more 1,500 GP practices, covering 12.5 million NHS patients.