NHS digital triage provider to expand with £5m investment

Equity investor Gresham House has invested £5m into the NHS’s digital triage provider eConsult Health, allowing the service to expand to meet demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

eConsult provides online consultation services to NHS primary care organisations and will use the investment to maintain its position as a provider in GP surgeries.

COVID-19 has showed the need for tools to relieve pressure on surgeries.

The company says it has seen exponential growth of its services over the past year and will use the new funds to continue with the rollout of its digital triage platform.

The £5m investment, made on behalf of the Baronsmead Venture Capitalist Trusts, is in addition to further investment from existing shareholders and will support the expansion of eConsult Health into the secondary care market.

Beyond maintaining its position as the leading digital triage services in GP surgeries, eConsult Health will continue the rollout of its Urgent and Emergency Care triage product, eTriage, and outpatient referral software, eSpecialist.

Digital triage allows patients to be dealt with more effectively and efficiently, moving from a world where 90% of patients have no option other than a face to face appointment to one where the majority of cases are appropriate for remote closing.

This allows healthcare practitioners to prioritise face to face consultations with those patients in greatest and most urgent need.

Earlier this year, eConsult was added to the NHS app, a project launched by NHS Digital in 2018 as part of its push into digital health.

It has features including ordering of repeat prescriptions, appointment management, symptom checking and allowing people to view medical records.

The app offers an alternative to the 24-hour NHS 111 non-emergency helpline, which at the height of the outbreak was struggling to keep up with the volume of information requests.

Before the COVID-19 crisis around 70% to 90% of consultations were face to face, but the company said that has been turned on its head, with roughly the same proportion now conducted through digital means.

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