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Electronic tablet allows self check-in and triage of patients at emergency departments

eTriage system aims to cut time to treatment at Sussex trust
Patients checking in using the eTriage tablet

eTriage system aims to cut time to treatment at Sussex trust

Patients can check themselves into emergency departments at one NHS trust by using a new electronic tablet system, which also triages them to the appropriate healthcare professional.

The eTriage system launches this week at Worthing Hospital and St Richards Hospital, which are part of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Swift information gathering and assessment

The triage process takes around four minutes, cutting the current triage times which can vary from 15 minutes to more than an hour.

After entering basic personal details, the patient is asked specific questions about their symptoms, the same questions a clinician would ask when seeing the patient.

eTriage system aims to cut time to treatment at Sussex trust


Patients checking in using the eTriage tablet

Patients can check themselves into emergency departments at one NHS trust by using a new electronic tablet system, which also triages them to the appropriate healthcare professional. 

The eTriage system launches this week at Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital, which are part of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Swift information gathering and assessment

The triage process takes around four minutes, cutting the current triage times which can vary from 15 minutes to more than an hour.

After entering basic personal details, the patient is asked specific questions about their symptoms, the same questions a clinician would ask when seeing the patient. 

The system automatically triages the information into five priority categories based on the patient’s clinical need.

This information is then sent to the hospital’s clinical system, and is assessed by a triage nurse before they see the patient.

Individuals with the most urgent need are flagged on the clinical system and will raise an alert so clinicians can act immediately.

Proven reduction in time to treatment

The eTriage system was developed by emergency nurses and doctors working for eConsult, an online consultation platform used by the NHS.

The system was piloted in the urgent care centre at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup, Kent, between January and June 2018.

An independent report on the pilot, from strategy consultancy Candesic, showed that the time to treatment had been reduced by an average of seven minutes.

The eTriage system safeguards patient privacy

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief medical officer George Findlay said: ‘eTriage provides multiple benefits for our patients by reducing waiting times, flagging life-threatening conditions more quickly and taking history on arrival to ensure the right care is given to those who need it first.

‘Patient dignity and privacy are also key considerations as the new tablets avoid people having to divulge their condition or concerns in front of others at reception.’

A spokesperson for the trust said regular cleaning of the devices is taking place, and bottles of hand sanitiser are widely available for patients.

There are plans to roll out eTriage in University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Central Middlesex Hospital in London in the coming months.


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