eConsult launches paediatric online consultation tool
eConsult has launched a paediatric version of its online consulting tool, previously only available to patients aged 18 years or over. The tool opens up remote NHS GP consultation to children aged 6 months to 18 years. The specialist platform will cover 19 of the most common paediatric presentations in general practice, including diarrhoea, rash and sore throat (full list below).
The paediatric version of eConsult allows parents and guardians to seek advice online from the child’s NHS GP at any time and from anywhere, for free, as part of their normal GP service. Each e-consultation is reviewed by a GP within one working day and followed-up with a phone call or face-to-face consultation as appropriate.
As with eConsult’s standard digital triage system, the paediatric version is embedded with inbuilt safety features designed to red flag serious symptoms and signpost patients to seek urgent medical attention when needed.
All functions within the paediatric tool have undergone rigorous evaluation by an expert clinical governance team, consisting of 26 NHS clinicians with extensive experience in general practice, emergency medicine, paramedic, intensive and paediatric care. It is fully covered by standard GP indemnity.
eConsult is simple to access via the patient’s NHS surgery website and provides round-the-clock self-care and pharmacy advice as well as the ability to consult online with a GP. Online consultations for children under 16 must be completed by a parent or guardian, but patients aged 16 to 18 have the option to complete their own.
Dr Murray Ellender, a south London GP and co-founder of eConsult, says: “Following a successful pilot in key GP practices around the country, we are excited to launch the paediatric version of eConsult, making it easier for parents and guardians to access fast, reliable healthcare advice for their children.”
“Patient safety is always our primary concern. We’ve worked very closely with expert clinicians and medical insurers in the development of our paediatric platform to ensure it is unequivocally safe and effective. We’ve found that busy parents welcome the opportunity to seek reassurance from their GP at any time, day or night, without having to leave the house.”
Dr Sid Deshmukh is a GP partner at Sidcup Medical Centre, London. He has been using eConsult in his surgery for the past six months and took part in eConsult’s paediatric pilot. He says: “If a child is unwell at 4am, parents can now complete an e-consultation in the knowledge that any serious symptom will be immediately red-flagged. If not, they know we will review their e-consultation as soon as the surgery opens, saving them waiting on the phone for hours or coming into surgery unnecessarily. The paediatric tool provides a level of support that we could not previously deliver, and feedback so far has been very positive.”
“eConsult has truly revolutionised the way we handle urgent and same-day appointments. It allows us to use our clinical time much more effectively, reducing our workload and making time for patients who really need to be seen face-to-face. Opening up online consulting to children and young adults seems a logical next step.”