This article covers:
The default view for the Smart Inbox
When you log into the Smart Inbox, your default view is the ‘All Open’ folder for your primary practice. This is where you will find every eConsult that has been submitted to that practice that has not yet been ‘Completed’.
This ‘All Open’ folder will show a mix of clinical and administrative eConsults. This view is useful for your practice to understand upcoming demand but we don’t expect that this will be the main view that members in the practice work from.
Below, we’ll introduce you to the main ways that you can customise the view of eConsults, either alone or in combination, by using:
Folders and subfolders
Please note that any filters and sorting that you apply will remain in place until they are cleared or a new Smart Inbox session is started.
The eConsult Transformation Team have popped a short video together with more information about navigating in the Smart Inbox:
Smart Inbox folders
In the navigation bar on the left-hand side, under the ‘All Open’ folder you will find additional folders. One of these is a folder named ‘Complete’ - this shows you all of your completed eConsults, regardless of their type.
There are two other main folders that will help to manage the workload within your practice teams. These are the ‘Admin’ and ‘Clinical’ folders. The ‘Clinical’ folder contains eConsults submitted using the clinical templates and the ‘Admin’ folder contains eConsults submitted using the admin templates.
Each of these folders contains subfolders split by the status of the eConsults within them. If you want, you can collapse these subfolders. To see the eConsults in any of these folders or subfolders, just click on them from the navigation bar.
When you are navigating through the Inbox without a selected eConsult, you will see that the consultation panel shows 'No message selected'. This screen updates to show you which folder you are in and how many eConsults are in that folder. As soon as you select an eConsult summary card, the consultation is visible.
eConsult Inbox statuses and their meanings
eConsults, whether they are administrative or clinical, can be manually assigned one of a number of statuses in the signposting panel located on the right-hand side. This will allow you to collaborate with other users in your practice.
Waiting - the default status for all new submissions. This is the view that we recommend your triager should mainly work from. Once a different status is selected it will move to the appropriate folder status.
Snoozed - status manually assigned to an eConsult that cannot be completed due to a time-bound request.
Awaiting patient response - status can be manually assigned when more information is needed from the patient in order to be able to ‘Triage’ or ‘Complete’ their request. This will automatically be applied if you send a two-way message to the patient asking them to provide more information.
New response - the default status when a response is received after an outbound request from the Smart Inbox for additional information from the patient.
Triaged - a decision has been made in the signposting section about which role can handle this patient request, the urgency it needs to be dealt with and the method of patient communication/next steps needed. You might expect any non-triaging roles in the practice to filter this view based on their role so that they can see what eConsults they need to pick up.
Complete - the patient’s request has been actioned and no more activity is expected within the Smart Inbox; this should only be used where all relevant information or actions have been processed in the patient’s record within the clinical system.
These statuses dictate which folder that eConsult can then be found in.
We recommend that your clinical triagers mainly work from the 'Clinical, Waiting' folder. Once they have triaged the eConsult, they then change the status of the eConsult to 'Triaged'. Other clinicians can then work from the 'Clinical, Triaged' folder.
These statuses do not follow a specific order and so they can be assigned to the eConsult at any time. If a mistake is made in applying a status, it can be changed from the signposting panel and a log of these changes is made for audit purposes in the Activity Log. It is important that any changes made are saved.
Should the eConsult be marked as 'Complete' (and automatically moved into the 'Complete' folder), it is important to note that it can be moved back to any other folder by changing its status, should something change.
This move would be documented in the Activity Log, and a comment can then be added to explain why the status was changed.
Sorting the Smart Inbox
Each folder or subfolder can be sorted to aid with workflow or triage by using the functionality at the top of the queue (see below). By default, the folders will be sorted from ‘Oldest > Newest’ by the time of submission.
When applying sorting rules these will only be visible to your personal Smart Inbox view and not any other members of staff logged in. This means that, for example, if you want to sort the ‘Triaged’ subfolder of eConsults by ‘Urgency’, this will not impact other Smart Inbox users.
Once you have selected the sorting functionality you would like to view, press ‘Apply’. You can clear any applied sorting rules by removing the sort option or by clicking the ‘Back to default’ button.
What does this do?
Suggestions for when to use during triage
Time received - Oldest > Newest
The default view. This will display the eConsult queue in order of submission, with the oldest at the top of the queue and the newest at the end.
To ensure patients are not waiting too long for a reply.
Time received - Newest > Oldest
This will display the eConsult queue in order of submission with the newest at the top of the queue and the oldest at the end.
If you are searching for patients who have just submitted an eConsult.
Age - Youngest > Oldest
This will display the eConsult queue by age, with the youngest at the top and the oldest at the end.
To ensure that paediatric patients or children can be managed appropriately.
Age - Oldest > Youngest
This will display the eConsult queue with the oldest at the top and the youngest at the end.
You might use this after triaging paediatric eConsults up to a certain age and then switch to managing older and potentially more complex health needs.
Flags - Least > Most
This will display the eConsult queue so that patients with the least number of total flags are at the top.
If you have a mixed triage team it may be useful for roles such as care navigators to signpost these patients to support outside of the surgery if relevant, for example to pharmacies.
Flags - Most > Least
This will display the eConsult queue so that patients with the highest number of total flags are at the top
Triaging the most clinically urgent patients first will allow you to ensure that these can be managed appropriately sooner.
Smart Inbox filters
Each folder or subfolder can be filtered by the user to aid with workflow or triage. By default, folders will not have any filters applied.
When applying filters these will only be visible to your personal Smart Inbox view and not any other members of staff logged into your practice's instance of Smart Inbox.
You can use filters and sorting in combination (only one of each at the moment), as in this example:
Once you have selected the filtering functionality you would like to view, press ‘Apply’. You can clear or cancel any applied filters by clicking the 'Back to default' button or removing the filter.
What does this do?
Suggestions for when to use
This will display all the eConsults that have been assigned to a specific team during triaging, e.g. ANP, GP, Physio, Practice Nurse, etc
When your admin team is looking to book a certain rota or slot type this filter can help narrow down the appropriate patients that require booking.
This will display all the eConsults that have been assigned a urgency time frame during triaging e.g. 24 hours, 4, days, 2 weeks etc)
When your admin team is looking to fill appropriate clinics and manage the triaged patients, filtering by urgency allows them to focus on the most urgent cases first, allowing slots to be appropriately managed.
Navigation in the Smart Inbox
At the top of your summary cards there is some helpful information so you understand which card you are viewing and how many eConsults (and summary cards) are in your folder of choice.
For example in the below image, we are currently viewing the eConsult number 12 of 16 that are in this folder. The small purple arrow lets you know that the summary card you are on relates to the eConsult you're currently viewing. You can navigate to the previous or next eConsult and its associated summary card using the ‹ and › arrows.
There are 10 summary cards per page, so in this example, you are on the second page of eConsults in this folder. To go back to the first page, or progress to the next page, you can use the « and » arrows.
Any message that fails to send due to an incorrect phone number or email address will be also appear in the Failed response folder. This folder will only appear if there is a failed message.
Once the folder and message have appeared the practice will need to contact the patient by an alternative means, there might be an alternative email or mobile number provided by the patient in the eConsult or in the patients clinical record.
Once a new message has been sent please Mark as resolved, the message and the Failed response folder will disappear.
We recommend the practice considers a workflow and how best to react to failed messages.
Searching for patients in the Smart Inbox
To quickly search for patients and consultations in the Smart Inbox, you can click on the 'Search Icon' and search by the patient's name or date of birth.
You can search for any online consultations in the Smart Inbox, both open and closed consultations.
To complete another search you can edit the previous search you completed. To get out of the search results you need to close Search by pressing on 'X Close' in the top right of the screen.
We are working to include the following criteria to search for consultations:
Patient's NHS number
eConsult Reference number
Practices can now customise their Smart Inbox using tags! Users can easily create tags, add one tag to an eConsult and click on the tagged folder to see all the eConsults associated with that tag. The tags are visible for everyone at the practice. This is super useful if you want to assign eConsults to a specific clinician to action!
To add a tag head to the navigation bar and click +Add tag. Enter the Tag name and press Save. You can access all the tags from the navigation bar.
Adding a tag to an eConsult is really easy, simply press +Add tag on the eConsult and click on the tag you want, you're able to search for the tag if you have a long list!
Please note you can only have one tag associated to an eConsult
To access all the tagged eConsults simply click on the tag and it will bring up a folder of all the tagged eConsults.
To remove a tag from an eConsult simply press the X on the tag. The tag will be removed and it will be instantly removed from the folder.
To delete a tag completely you need to ensure that the tag is not being used. Then head to the folder and click on the V next to the folder name at the top and press Delete tag
Please note tags are not exported as part of the activity log.
Ideas for using tags
A tag for a specific user at the practice e.g. doctor or clinician
A tag for a specific group at the practice e.g. doctors, nursing team, pharmacy etc
A tag for a specific action e.g. prescriptions
A tag for specific templates e.g. sick notes
eHubs and tags
Tags can be created at eHub level but these will only be visible in the eHub, same as tags created in the practices of eHubs these will not be visible in the eHub
How easily will you see new eConsults coming in?
All new eConsults will be added to your main Inbox and will also be within the 'All Clinical' or 'All Admin' depending on the template. You can decide whether you sort your eConsults by oldest at the top, or newest at the top. Each eConsult will be time-stamped so you know exactly when it was submitted. The summary cards will give you a quick overview of key information.
Can I apply filters and sorting rules at the same time?
Yes, at the moment you can apply one filter and one sorting rule at the same time.
For example, you may wish to see all eConsults assigned to a specific team, and then sort them by flags. In the example below we have done this in the ‘All Open’ view, resulting in 4 eConsults.
When switching to the ‘Clinical, Waiting’ folder, any applied filters and sorting rules remain applied. Here I can see there are no eConsults that match both my sorting and filtering rules (because ‘Waiting’ eConsults have not yet had a team assigned to them in the signposting panel).
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.