New technology helps speed up triage process at hospitals in West Sussex

A new digital triage system at hospitals in West Sussex has resulted in sick patients being treated more quickly.

Thursday, 29th October 2020, 5:04 pm
West Sussex staff with the eTriage technology

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is one of just two regions in the UK to have rolled out the new eTriage technology.

It is currently being used at both Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester.

Patients entering the emergency room now register on a tablet which uses ‘Doctor Intelligence’ - like artificial intelligence, but using insight from emergency room doctors.

West Sussex staff

It means there is no waiting time for patients to be triaged and patients can be prioritised within minutes.

Colin Dewar, an A&E Consultant at Worthing Hospital, said the technology had been ‘a success’ for the hospital so far.

“We wanted to find a better way to prioritise patients attending our emergency department, which is why we brought in eTriage,” he said.

“Patients now provide a documented record of their symptoms through a tablet at the front of the department which they can complete themselves.

“This means we get an understanding of their own perception of their condition, such as how much pain they are in, and of how urgent their needs are.

“This helps us ensure they receive the right care, first time.”

Since its implementation, there have been ‘immediate benefits’, he said.

“We are triaging patients more quickly, meaning sick patients are receiving care at an earlier point than they were before,” he said.

“During COVID-19 it has also allowed us to identify any potential patients at risk of having the virus and decide where best to treat them.

“eTriage has been a success for us so far and we are still developing our use of the platform to further maximise its benefits and improve the care we provide to patients.”

Krista Burslam, Clinical Director for Urgent and Emergency Care, eConsult Health and Former Emergency Department Matron, said: “Urgent and emergency care departments face a range of challenges including waiting time targets, crowding in waiting rooms and rising demand for services, which is why we developed eTriage.

“Harnessing our expertise in digital triage from general practice, we have created a platform that helps address these challenges by improving flow through the emergency department, speeding up the patient journey and reducing the time patients spend in the department.

“Being able to automatically check-in and prioritise patients upon arrival means that the sickest patients are identified quickly and can be cared for at the earliest point, while low-priority patients who could receive care from other settings, such as their GP, are picked up and redirected to more appropriate care.

“This helps relieve pressure on emergency departments and staff, freeing them up to focus on providing care to those that need it most.

“St Richard’s and Worthing Hospitals were two early adopters of eTriage and its fantastic to see that the platform has helped staff and patients, ensuring they can give and receive the best care possible.”