Jakub JirsÃ¡k - stock.adobe.com
Online urgent healthcare service NHS 111 has handled more than one million requests since its launch in December 2017.
The service can be accessed through the NHS website or the NHS App. After answering questions about their symptoms, patients are then directed to the most relevant point for further assistance, from 999 to self-care advice.
According to NHS Digital, almost half (48%) of all NHS 111 online journeys direct users to contact primary care, and about a quarter (24.7%) of journeys end with instructions to ring 999 or attend A&E, while 13% of triages end with self-care.
Service uptake is growing steadily, according to NHS Digital, as 73.8% of visitors using the service on weekdays from 8am to 6pm and 70.4% of visitors resorting to the service during evenings, weekends and bank holidays are using NHS 111 online for the first time.
“This is a significant milestone for the programme and shows how the service is helping many patients across England. It’s great to see so many people using the service and the different clinical pathways that patients can access,” said the head of the NHS 111 online programme at NHS Digital, Debbie Floyd.
Online triage services were first announced by NHS England in 2017, as one of the steps outlined in its Five Year Forward View, which set out future technology plans for the health service.
Last year, a leaked report revealed NHS England is looking at the potential of handling millions of NHS 111 enquiries using algorithms by 2020.
According to the report, by 2020, 16 million enquiries could be dealt with online, while 37 million would still be dealt with using the phone service.
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