eConsult has partnered with Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust to deliver a patient management system that will reduce the waiting list backlog.

The system is the UK’s first blueprint for the Trust’s 48 speciality outpatient departments and will allow the hospital to ask referred patients a specialist list of questions, triaging them at the outpatients referral stage, in turn reducing the waiting list backlog, joining up care and improving patients’ experience.

The six-year partnership between eConsult and Mid and South Essex, will enable the latter to improve efficiencies by introducing clinically safe remote patient management at scale via a browser or desktop toolbar.

Patients will have more control over their appointments as they will be able 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 and the Trust can prioritise their waiting lists by implementing triage at every stage of the patient pathway, meaning they can find and remove any unnecessary appointments and free up clinicians’ time.

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.”

eConsult’s technology is allows its users to switch between either a phone call or a video call, removing any concerns that calls will be disrupted by connection issues or technical difficulties.

The collaboration is the first roll-out of this technology across the complete outpatient stack, however eConsult Health has also been working with the Cardiff and Vale acne clinic on deploying a smaller scale version of the project.

In digitising the department, eConsult was able to reduce the predicted waiting list clearance time from 20 years to three years using pre-screening questionnaires, whilst also decreasing non-attendance from 40% to nearly zero.

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.”

There have been numerous examples of eConsult’s work to advance the presence of technology in healthcare, such as Homerton Hospital signing a deal that combines eConsult’s eTriage with Cerner’s Millennium electronic patient record (EPR) to tackle waiting times in A&E.

eTriage is a platform for NHS Emergency Departments and Urgent Treatment Centres designed to automatically check-in and prioritise patients upon arrival.

Last June, eConsult also acquired video consultation and SMS platform Q doctor, which brings together digital triage, video and SMS in a single platform for GPs and hospitals.