This article covers


The safety features built into our platform

  • Urgent and Emergency redirections, for when patients present with concerning symptoms that can’t be safely assessed online and need prompt assessment, either directly back to the practice, via 111 or if an emergency then direct to 999 or A&E.

  • Two levels of flagging on the eConsult report, to highlight key patient responses to your clinicians.

  • eConsult-developed templates based on structured question sets, allowing us to adapt the questions asked based on previous responses and to stratify patient risk.

  • Limited free-text answers, allowing patients to express concerns and expectations in their own words, just as they would in a typical face to face consultation in primary care.

  • Some language recognition tools to catch important information in free-text answers (for example thoughts of self-harm).

  • Validated scoring systems for example all the mental health pathways include a PHQ-9 and a GAD-7 questionnaire, assessing the severity of symptoms of depression and anxiety.


Emergency medical response redirections

The medical emergency response will trigger a message to the patient signposting them to either contact 999 or attend their local emergency department.

This is triggered by the patient responding that they are experiencing any of the symptoms in the emergency disclaimer screen shown:

If triggered, either by answering 'I am experiencing some of these' to the above question or by triggering any other Emergency medical response redirection during the consultation, this is the message shown to patients:

If the patient chooses to end the consultation, this message comes up:

In the Microsoft Excel usage reports sent weekly to nominated practice contacts, you can see the ‘diverted’ number which tells you how many eConsults were diverted by these redirections.

There are different alerts and warning screens for patients who express thoughts about suicide or self-harm. Find out more about our suicide checking mechanism.


Urgent issue redirections

The urgent issue response will result in a message that signposts the patient to either urgently contact the GP surgery (if open) for an urgent appointment or to contact NHS 111 or an appropriate out of hours service.

If the patient triggers this redirection, they see the below message (it varies slightly depending on if the practice is open or closed and where the practice is located):

If the patient chooses to end the consultation, this message comes up (again, next steps advice varies depending on practice location):

If the redirection has been triggered because of a mental health concern, they are also suggested to speak to the Samaritans by email or telephone.

In the Microsoft Excel usage reports sent weekly to nominated practice contacts, you can see the ‘diverted’ number which tells you how many eConsults were diverted by these redirections.


Coronavirus screens and alerts

After the emergency screener question, patients are asked about symptoms associated with COVID-19:

If they answer 'Yes' they are shown this screen:


Flags in reports and email subject lines

Red flags and caution flags are shown in several places, to alert the practice to the fact that this submission needs to be prioritised.

  • Email report subject line

  • They key in the eConsult report

  • As an icon next to the patient's answers

Red flag answers will allow the consultation to be submitted to the practice and a red flag icon will be shown next to that answer on the eConsult report that the clinician reviews.

This flag has been put in place to highlight possible cancer flags which may require a 2-week referral.

Caution answers will allow the consultation to be submitted to the practice and a yellow exclamation mark icon will be shown next to the answer on the eConsult report that the clinician reviews.

This is to guide the clinician to this answer that may require further investigation or questioning as the answer may not be as expected in that questionnaire.


If you have any questions or you feel that this article could be improved, please feel free to give us some feedback by emailing us, pressing the emojis below or using the chat button on the bottom right-hand side of this page to speak to one of the eConsult team.

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