In a bid to tackle lengthy queues, Loughborough Urgent Treatment Centre will soon be using the eTriage system from eConsult.

The digital solution will see multiple patients booked in and assessed at one time, while those who are most in need of treatment will be quickly identified and prioritised for care.

Loughborough Urgent Treatment Centre will be the first in the region to introduce the digital electronic triage system. The centre, which is managed by DHU Healthcare, will have five eTriage kiosks installed. They will use algorithm-based questions about symptoms and medical history to help prioritise patients.

The implementation of the eTriage system will help to speed up assessments, reduce queues for the reception team and free up a clinician who would normally triage individuals. In addition, it will help to flag up the more serious cases much earlier.

During the booking process patients will respond to specific questions about their condition. The questions have been written and designed by urgent and emergency care doctors and nurses to help ensure clinicians have the information they need to ensure the more serious cases are seen first.

Adele Peck, clinical service lead for DHU Healthcare, said: “It really is an excellent system that will improve and streamline the booking-in and triage process for patients. The way our main entrance is structured means that at peak times we can see patients queueing out of the door. But being able to effectively book in and triage patients – five at once in a short space of time – will greatly reduce that risk and improve the experience for patients.”

Using the kiosks should take just a few minutes for patients, and they are equipped with a privacy screen to ensure patient confidentiality and dignity. There will also be a receptionist on hand to answer any questions and support people using the kiosks if needed.

Working to manage queues

Sophie Frearson, clinical operation lead at eConsult Health, said: “The system will have a positive impact on patient care at Loughborough, particularly during busy periods when queues can develop, supporting the team in quickly identifying seriously ill patients.

“It also ensures all of the detail is captured digitally, with very little risk of error as the patient is in control of the information they provide.”

As well as recognising those patients who need more immediate attention the kiosks will also be able to direct some patients to the pharmacist instead of the urgent treatment centre, or provide simple reassurance or self-care advice.

The kiosks are to be installed this spring, with one being designed specifically for patients with accessibility needs.

In February last year, Homerton University Hospital’s emergency department rolled out the same electronic check-in service from eConsult Health.