This article covers:

What is care navigation?

‘Care navigation’ describes the way we signpost/direct patients from their initial point of contact e.g. a GP to the most appropriate point of care for their need e.g. a different health service provider. The best person or role in the practice to care for their need might not match the role they ‘want’ or request to get help from. It is the practice’s role to guide them to the right care for their needs.

Who is a care navigator?

In theory, anyone patient-facing can be a care navigator. Our blog post can help you to identify the most appropriate staff members within your practice to do this role, for example, your current receptionist(s). Staff identified would be known as your care navigators, fulfilling the definition above. Moving forward you may pick to advertise specifically for this role.

Care navigation plays a crucial role in helping patients access the right care, at the right time. This in turn drives safe efficiency.

Find out what makes a good care navigator on our blog.

How does care navigation help?

Care navigation enables improved access to primary care. If patients are seen by the appropriate clinician or service this will reduce pressure on GPs, allowing them to see the patients that they need to see the most.

Effective navigation is a key element of delivering coordinated, person-centred care and support. Right care, right place, right time.

How does eConsult’s care navigation tool help?

There are several tools used by practices to help administration teams feel comfortable and upskilled when it comes to triaging eConsults.

Our free-to-use care navigation tool, shown below, is available to use and is completely customisable to your practice.

It’s essential that your clinical team completes this document in order to ensure it’s felt to be safe and appropriate, taking into account your local directorate of services.

We understand that no two practices are the same, which is why we provide a blank canvas for your team to build the ideal care navigation model for your practice. We want to support your practice to empower and build confidence within your administration team and feel that a pre-populated model may deter this.

You will find a GIF of the care navigation document below. This gives you an idea of how it will look and how to select the content most appropriate to the relevant eConsult template.

What do the different tabs do?

We have created the spreadsheet with easy-to-follow tabs to help you use this in practice. Once the document has been read and understood it should then be used as a tool in practice, meaning the ‘Navigation Tool’ tab will be the main tab used.

  • Instructions - Here we explain how to use the document, as well as the last date the care navigation document was updated. It is your practice’s responsibility to keep this document updated once downloaded and in use.

  • Example sheet - Dr James Perry, a GP Partner and eConsult’s Clinical Transformation Lead, has pulled together some examples of how this can be used in practice to support care navigation (please note these are examples and your local practice needs to agree on your care navigation protocol).

  • Navigation tool - This is the main tab for your practice to work through together to agree on your patient presentations and pathways. This will help with creating a care navigation framework. This document should change or adapt with learning.

  • Options - This tab contains the drop-down lists and configuration options which can be amended if needed. Any cells with dark grey backgrounds will become your available drop-down options in the ‘Navigation Tool’ tab.

If you have any questions about using this tool in your GP practice please email

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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