Care navigation and triage in general practice

GP triage case study: eConsult

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

eConsult/eLite digital triage system

Dr Baldock Partner in Hertfordshire uses the eConsult triage system.

How it works

To begin, patients complete an online form detailing their symptoms. If they are unable to complete the form online, they can come into or phone the practice and care navigators complete the eLite form on their behalf. An eLite form is a short eConsult template that the reception team use to record submissions from patients.

All daily eConsults and eLites are collected in two separate ‘duty lists’. A clinician (either a GP or Advanced Nurse Practitioner) triages these forms. There are same day, one-day and two-day appointment slots of conditions that require appropriate and timely triage for GPs and nurses. All GP appointments are 15-minute long. The eConsult and eLite systems are switched off once those appointment slots are taken.

Creating a 'vulnerable system'

The practice has created its own ‘vulnerable system’ to ensure that patients does not get turned away when they should be assessed by a GP.

In this system, care navigators inform the patient that they will speak to a GP and that the GP will contact them. The duty doctor continues to have responsibility and has the afternoon available to manage any patients who come in. There is also a pre-bookable system available which allows appointments to be booked 3 weeks in advance.

The ‘vulnerable system’ includes:

  • any child under 1
  • any adult over 65
  • anyone on cancer treatment
  • anyone on palliative care
  • anyone with significant mental illnesses
  • anyone with a medical need that results in them being vulnerable
  • anyone the practice GPs feel to be vulnerable (shown by a sticker attached to the front page of a patient's notes which allows care navigators to easily identify vulnerable patients for the duty doctor to triage by using the eLite template).