Written evidence submitted by eConsult Health Limited (CBP0025)





About eConsult


Recommendation 1: Rapidly enforce open interoperability standards, much happened in 2017 when open banking regulation was transformational for fintech. This would stimulate innovation and accelerate health tech transformation.

Recommendation 2: Invest in both technology and also the transformation required to embed the technology. This includes both information campaigns for the public and transformation support on the ground for HCPs.

Recommendation 3: Ensure suppliers build solutions that can bridge the gaps in the system and operate across primary, secondary, mental health and social care. This can be achieved by creating solution specifications that consider the whole patient pathway, rather than isolated segments. This innovative commissioning should happen at the ICS or NHS regional level.


Submission response

What is the anticipated size of the backlog and pent-up demand from patients for different healthcare services including, for example, elective surgery; mental health services; cancer services; GP services; and more widely across the healthcare system?

Size of backlog:

The solution:

What capacity is available within the NHS to deal with the current backlog? To what extent are the required resources in place, including the right number of staff with the right skills mix, to address the backlog?

Digital capabilities



Skills (HCP)





How much financial investment will be needed to tackle the backlog over the short, medium, and long-term; and how should such investment be distributed? To what extent is the financial investment received to date adequate to manage the backlog?

How might the organisation and work of the NHS and care services be reformed in order to effectively deal with the backlog, in the short-term, medium-term, and long-term?

Using digital capabilities to redesign care, such as delivering integrated care and using population health data to drive predictive interventions, offers fantastic opportunities to improve health outcomes over the short, medium and longer term. The aim should be to ensure people can access appropriate health and care services consistently as and when they need to in a way that meets their needs.


Care pathways



Joined up primary and secondary care








What positive lessons can be learnt from how healthcare services have been redesigned during the pandemic? How could this support the future work of the NHS and care services?

The rapid adoption of virtual consultations has dramatically accelerated the delivery of digital-first primary care. Momentum needs to be sustained with the view to develop long-term sustainable care pathways. eConsult are not only providers but thought leaders who can be called upon to add insight into any conversations around the future of care.

Virtual consultations

How effective has the 111 call-first system for A&E Departments been? What can be done to improve this?

111 First has not had the impact on the system that it was hoped to have have. 111 is an excellent “from home” system that directs patients on the phone to the right place, based on need. However, it tends to be risk averse and so when used to screen all emergency calls, it pushes many into the “safest” place – the Emergency Department. This has the potential to put undue pressure on the ED, routing cases there that could have been handled by ‘own GP’ or ‘GP out-of-hours’ services.

eTriage can improve NHS Emergency Departments and enable them to work at their full potential. It was designed from the ground up to be used in this specific environment and for this purpose.

eTriage speeds up the streaming process, takes robust and consistent patient histories and improves patient flow. This enables clinicians to spend more time with their patients, getting them to the right place at the right time. eTriage automatically identifies urgent care cases based on their clinical need reducing, emergency department waiting times. It holds the key to safely managing the front door into the Emergency Department, as well as safely redirecting patients away to other more appropriate points of care.

Administrative benefits of eTriage

Patient benefits of eTriage

What can the Department of Health & Social Care, national bodies and local systems do to facilitate innovation as services evolve to meet emerging challenges?

Department of Health & Social Care

National bodies

Local systems

To what extent is long-covid contributing to the backlog of healthcare services? How can individuals suffering from long-covid be better supported?

Long-Covid is contributing to the backlog – it’s a new area of care that needs clinicians and resourcing.

Sept 2021