Healthier Together Online Consultation Process

Healthier Together enables practices to better manage on the day urgent demand into primary care for young children.

The Healthier Together website and App have been developed around the principle of reducing anxiety amongst parents of young people and avoiding unnecessary A&E and GP visits.

To use the service, practices must first sign up by completing the Healthier Together registration form.  As part of the onboarding process, practices can configure the age range of patients that are eligible to submit electronic requests along with timeframes to receive and respond to requests, patients outside of the age range will need to call their practice.

Parents can submit an online request to the practice using the Online Consultation feature on the Healthier Together App. The window for these can be set as per practice preference. The Online Consultation request arrives at a nominated mailbox which can then be work-flowed into the Clinical System or via Docman. The Amber symptoms have been carefully assessed by local clinicians to be appropriate for same day primary care disposition.

An overview of the patient flow process is shown below:

Patient flow diagram

Process Summary

  • Parent submits an online consultation request to nominated mailbox. Relevant amber symptoms captured. Amber disposition options can be set to online consult or telephone or both.
  • Admin staff will file the request and add to duty triage list.
  • Duty doctor or a nominated clinician will review the request and decide further action e.g. Call back | F2F appointment.

Considerations for practices

Healthier Together team have previously decided against integrating with eConsult or other online consultation solutions.

Practices that use the eConsult Smart Inbox would need to monitor both the Smart Inbox and the separate mailbox that they have designated to receive requests from Healthier Together, making this a dual process and separate workflow for practices.

eConsult Smart Inbox process flow:

eConsult smart inbox process flow

However, if they are not using the eConsult Smart Inbox, practices can use the same mailbox to receive both requests from Healthier Together and eConsult towards managing the workflow.

With Amber disposition patients requiring same day appointments, practices may need to protect consultation slots for this purpose.

Practice admin staff may experience an increase in mailbox volume and should plan mitigation to avoid requests not being actioned within the appropriate time.

Potential Future Developments

Healthier Together are currently evaluating the following options, although estimated timescales are not yet available:

  • Building a performance dashboard to show activity through the Healthier Together App.
  • Create a digital banner that can be displayed on practice websites to promote the service and increase patient awareness.

Healthier Together are also exploring opportunities to push into the Smart Inbox and are currently considering approaching eConsult to discuss options.

Why use Healthier Together in your practice?

  • Provides a triage tool for parents to make informed decisions about accessing healthcare services when their child is unwell
  • Enables an online consultation route to avoid unnecessary presentations.
  • Identifies the children who need to be seen in primary care through the carefully selected amber pathway
  • Provides a trusted safety netting tool
  • Provides consistent trusted advice for both professional and patients

Healthier Together App Benefits

 tick sign.pngMobile App promotes timely A&E/GP attendances and avoids delayed presentations

tick sign.png66% of patients end up in the self-care pathway

tick sign.pngPilot phase showed a 10% reduction in GP presentations despite 1% rise in patient population over this period

tick sign.png100% of patients were appropriate to be seen in primary care that day that came through the amber pathway.

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