A group of GP practices in Hull and York are to begin using an AI powered online triage system that is already widely used in Finland.
Haxby Group, which manages 11 GP surgeries, has become the first in the UK to switch to the Klinik Access system following trials at two of the York practices.
The patient is directed to the system from the practice’s website and provides indications of their symptoms online, answering questions to feed into a medical AI algorithm and triage process which then goes to the Haxby Group’s urgent care team.
It provides support for doctors in making a diagnosis and sends requests to the team who can decide on the urgency of a case and how it should be treated. Doctors can then review patients’ enquiries and call them back on the same day with a plan of care, or to arrange a face-to-face review for those who need it.
Dr Thomas Patel-Campbell, GP partner and chief clinical information officer for the Haxby Group, said: “Many requests are simply too nuanced for the administrative teams to manage over the phone. For instance, paramedic and physio background members of the team are qualified to select who needs to see them, but a non-clinical receptionist can’t do that.”
The process involves some security questions to ensure a patient is registered with the practice, and they can request an appointment if they think it is necessary.
Ben Wood, director of operations and sales for Klinik Healthcare Solutions in the UK, described it as a demand management and online consultations tool.
“From a GP’s point of view it helps them get to see the people who really need to see them,” he said.
“And patients are generally happy as long as they get advice and care from a GP or nurse.”
Klink Healthcare said that in two months after the system was introduced to two York surgeries it accounted for 24% of weekly online queries and that 86% of patients rated it as good or excellent.
It currently used by over 400 healthcare centres with 1.5 million users in Finland.
Wood said: “We believe that tools like optimal triage systems that improve patient management and accurate data accumulation for future planning are paramount to primary care services.”
Image from Klinik