Study shows online triage technology is reducing the burden on GPs and saving the NHS thousands
Economic analysis of a new model of primary care has shown that online triage technology has helped ease the burden on under-pressure GPs and made capacity-releasing savings equivalent to more than £300,000 in 12 months.
Researchers from the York Health Economics Consortium (YHEC) looked at how the prioryCARE model, developed by York’s Priory Medical Group (PMG) to help it manage patient demand, performed with and without Klinik’s AI-driven triage system in two 12-month periods.
And it found that Klinik helped to save huge amounts of time and money for PMG.
Estimated capacity-releasing savings made available for reinvestment were worth an equivalent of £143,000 through shifting GP appointments to pharmacists, £104,000 by cutting the use of NHS 111, and £82,000 by reducing the tasks required of clinicians and reception staff.
The study compared the performance of the prioryCARE model for the year before, and after, the system was introduced.
It found that many patient enquiries could be dealt with by pharmacists rather than GPs.
With Klinik in place, we have been able to turbo charge our prioryCARE model and deliver holistic, patient-centred care that better meets patient demand
As a result, the number of consultations offered by a pharmacist grew by 256%; from 151 consultations per 10,000 contacts without Klinik, to 539 with the system in place.
More than eight out of 10 practice staff said patient queries were better directed to the right place quickly with Klinik, which can support enquiries that come in over the phone, online, and face-to-face.
And more patients turned up for their appointment with Klinik in use, with the rate of Did Not Attends, which costs GP surgeries over £200m a year, falling by 6%.
By helping to provide care that better answered patients’ needs, fewer patients also needed to use NHS 111.
The PCN’s percentage of unused NHS111 slots grew from 49.4% to 57.4% and staff were also put under less pressure; with the number of tasks required of clinicians and reception staff falling by 20%.
PrioryCARE is an innovative ‘total triage’ healthcare model designed by PMG, a primary care network that serves more than 58,000 patients across nine sites in York.
The PCN developed the model to actively manage demand and maximise staff capacity by ensuring patients get the right care for their needs.
The group has been enhancing the model with Klinik’s AI-driven triage and patient flow management system, which is used by hundreds of health centres across the UK and Europe to improve access to care and to support more effective demand management.
With the system in place, and alongside further organisational improvements, researchers found that Priory could offer 258,627 appointments with Klink versus 177,883 without – an increase of 45% and without the need for additional clinical resources.
Consultation slots were used more efficiently, too.
Without Klinik, pharmacists filled 88% of their consultation slots. With Klinik, this grew to 99%.
The modest costs of implementing Klinik are balanced with the ability of the system to improve the efficiency of practice operations, such as dealing with patient contacts, managing workflows, and allocating resources within the practice
And costs per pharmacist consultation fell from £10.28 to £9.10, with nurse consultation use increasing from 89% to 96%, and the cost per nursing consultation falling from £10.30 to £9.53.
“With Klinik in place, we have been able to turbo charge our prioryCARE model and deliver holistic, patient-centred care that better meets patient demand,” said Priory Medical Group managing partner, Martin Eades.
“People are receiving quicker responses, we are selecting more-appropriate clinicians for appointments, and we are cutting the time spent organising care for everyone.”
Jo Hanlon, YHEC project director, added: “The modest costs of implementing Klinik are balanced with the ability of the system to improve the efficiency of practice operations, such as dealing with patient contacts, managing workflows, and allocating resources within the practice.”
And Ben Wood, Klinik UK’s managing director, told BBH. “GPs are under immense pressure to boost capacity and cut costs.
“By working together with the innovative Priory Medical Group, we have been able to show how Klinik can support a new model of patient-centred care that is both efficient and effective for everyone involved.”