Priory Medical Group in York has implemented a new model of primary care driven by AI triage tech and as a result made over £300,000-worth of capacity releasing savings.

Priory Medical Group developed PrioryCARE to actively manage demand and maximise staff capacity. It then enhanced the model using AI-powered triage technology from Klinik, as well as a patient flow management system.

Researchers from the York Health Economics Consortium were able to determine that the new model and AI tech has helped reduce the burden under-pressure GPs are facing and make significant savings.

Martin Eades, Priory Medical Group managing partner, said: “With Klinik in place, we have been able to turbocharge our prioryCARE model and deliver holistic, patient-centred care that better meets patient demand.

“People are receiving quicker responses, we are selecting more appropriate clinicians for appointments, and we are cutting the time spent organising care for everyone.”

Alongside the capacity-releasing savings, the model has also supported greater staff productivity and reduced the number of unnecessary tasks staff have to carry out.

By using the AI triage patients were better directed to the most relevant person for their needs, cutting unnecessary appointments, and freeing up capacity.

Key findings include:

  • Savings of £143,000 were made by shifting GP appointments to pharmacists, and consultations offered by a pharmacist grew by 256%.
  • Savings of £104,000 were made by cutting the use of NHS 111, with unused NHS 111 slots reaching 57.4% – up from 49.4%.
  • The number of tasks required of clinicians and reception staff fell by 20% representing a £82,000 cost saving.

In addition, more than 10 practice staff said that Klinik enabled them to better direct patient queries to the right place quickly.

York Health Economics Consortium also noted that Klinik helped to increase appointment capacity without the need for additional clinical resources.

With the system in place, and alongside other organisational improvements, the Priory Medical Group could offer 258,627 appointments, compared to 177,883 without Klinik.

Jo Hanlon, project director of the York Health Economic Consortium, said: “The modest costs of implementing Klinik are balanced with the ability of the system to improve the efficiency of practice operations, such as dealing with patient contacts, managing workflows and allocating resources within the practice.”

Earlier this year, a trial was implemented across Staffordshire to determine how AI technology could use existing patient data to predict who would most likely need hospital care.