eConsult Health wins funding for intelligent triage support solution

AI-driven workload management solution wins NHSX funding

A workload management solution that uses artificial intelligence to intelligently triage and route patient requests to the most-appropriate contact within GP surgeries has been successful in the second round of the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award.

eConsult Health was one of 38 organisations to receive the funding, which was announced by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, last week.

The AI Award is making £140m available over four years to accelerate the testing and evaluation of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

And it means that eConsult Health will be able to work with expert partners to develop the AI that reduces the administrative burden of triaging online consultations and ensures that patient needs are matched to a clinician’s scope of practice, taking the technology one step closer to being used in the NHS to benefit patients.

This workload management solution will benefit practices by automating the triaging and routing of online consultations to the right practice team member, such as a clinician or administrative team member. This ensures that patients are helped by the most-appropriate person within the wider primary care workforce, reducing overall costs and freeing up resources within GP practices.

For patients, this means a better experience of seeking care from their GP practice.

We want to build bodies of evidence to prove that this technology can be used safely and to create efficiency, continuing our track record of creating innovations that tackle real-life problems from within the NHS

Patients will be helped by the most-appropriate person based on their needs, first time, every time.

This will mean they can avoid potentially-unnecessary visits and have their needs better met and faster, while facilitating early identification of serious symptoms that might otherwise get worse.

Other cost savings realised in creating efficiency within primary care will allow for rethinking of current practices and capacity, for example by allowing extended appointments for patients with more-complex needs.

eConsult Health chief executive, GP and co-founder, Dr Murray Ellender, said: “We’ve been exploring how we can use machine learning and AI technology to enable the delivery of faster, more-accurate and more-effective healthcare for a while.

“Working with world-class partners and the NHS to share expertise will allow us to test, learn, and develop platforms that benefit all patients and the NHS.

“We want to build bodies of evidence to prove that this technology can be used safely and to create efficiency, continuing our track record of creating innovations that tackle real-life problems from within the NHS.”

The AI Award is one of the programmes that make up the NHS AI Lab, led by NHSX and delivered in partnership with the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

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