Urgent care centres to relieve pressure on A&E

Over the course of 2014 and providing much of the focus for 2015, Black Pear are working towards providing eReferral solutions for Urgent Care Centres, with these services aligned to the objectives set by the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund.

GPs are best placed to manage patients with long term conditions but are spending much of their time dealing with acute cases. Equally, patients with urgent, acute problems can’t always get same day appointments. A practice-based telephone triage system allows a GP to decide whether a patient needs to see their own GP or whether it would be appropriate for the patient to visit an urgent care centre. Black Pear provides a web-based eReferral portal allowing GPs to view all available appointments and book a convenient appointment in an urgent care centre. Integrating with the GP system, a summary record is produced and sent to the centre in advance of the appointment. Updates to the patient record as a result of the consultation are messaged back to the main GP record.

The solution is currently being implemented in single and mixed economies of EMIS Web, Vision360 and SystmOne practices with EMIS Web sitting at the Urgent Care Centre. Interoperability between systems is being implemented using the standard HL7 FHIR.

With the increase in capacity for same day appointments, it is expected that this transformation of service will:

  • Reduce waiting times for routine appointments
  • Allow longer consultation times for those patients who will most benefit from the expertise, continuity and experience provided by their own practice
  • Reduce the pressure on primary care
  • Reduce A&E admissions as patients obtain same day appointments
  • Promote sustainability and increase patient satisfaction

As an extension to this service, Black Pear is also currently developing solutions for walk-in centres. This will enable patients to turn up to a walk-in centre without a prior appointment and for their notes to be pulled from their GP irrelevant of the clinical system.  Appointment outcomes will be transferred back to the master record held at the GP surgery.

In light of the overload placed on A&E during the course of this winter, we hope our solutions will contribute to diminishing the pressure over the course of the next few years.  A demo can be viewed in YouTube.