Care navigation and triage in general practice

GP triage case study: AccuRx

Audience: GPs
Updated: Thursday 13 April 2023
Topics: GP practices

Wilmslow Health Centre uses a patient triage tool powered by AccuRx, which patients can access through the practice website. If patients are unable to complete the online form, they phone the practice and care navigators follow the same process as patients to fill out the form on their behalf.

How it works

RAG (red-amber-green ratings)

The on-call GP triages patients to the appropriate HCP (healthcare provider) in a timely manner by using RAG ratings:

  • Red: urgent appointments to be seen in the same session
  • Amber: appointments within one or two weeks
  • Green: next routine appointment.

Once a rating is assigned, a self-booking link is sent to the patient who can choose to see the GP face-to-face or speak to the GP via telephone (unless the practice defaults all appointments to face-to-face). The practice can switch off access to the triage tool once they have reached full capacity. 

Clinical triage by GP

  • There is usually 1 duty GP for each morning and afternoon session. There are sometimes 2 GPs on Monday mornings.
  • The GP focuses on triage during this session and also completes quick tasks/consultations such as fit notes, uncomplicated UTIs, conditions or requests that only require brief phone calls.
  • The GP can request further information from the patient (e.g., a photograph).
  • The GP can divert patients to other HCPs (practice nurse, first contact practitioner, clinical pharmacists, community pharmacy, acute eye service).

Managing red appointment slots

‘Red’ patient appointments are meant to be seen by the duty GP in the same session.

Once all the ‘red’ or urgent appointment slots for all other practitioners have been filled, the GP on clinical triage is responsible for addressing any additional i.e.`red excess` appointments for patients whose cases are triaged as red during that session.

As ‘red’ or urgent appointment slots are limited, patients should only be assigned to these slots in the same session. If practices assign red or urgent appointments to later sessions, this can cause an imbalance of red slots throughout the week, having a knock-on effect on access. The system needs monitoring and tweaking to determine the correct proportion of red/amber/green slots available each day.