To support primary care clinicians in triaging patients, Cinapsis connects them within seconds to consultants from their local NHS Trust, says Dr Owain Hughes.

With intensive care staff exhausted from weeks of relentless shifts and an increasing number of clinicians unable to work, primary care has a vital role to play in helping shoulder the burden.

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Reducing the number of patients arriving at hospital is an immediate priority if the NHS is to continue to cope. Leveraging the power of technology is one way we can do this. We must enable clinicians to make decisions quickly, even when working remotely, to keep patients safe at home and lighten the load on front line teams.

I built Cinapsis in 2019 to fix inefficiencies in the referrals system and make it easier for GPs to access specialist expertise immediately. Through a dedicated platform they could seek real-time second opinions: slashing accident and emergency referrals, reducing unnecessary appointments and dramatically improving patient experience.

As a qualified surgeon I knew valuable NHS time could be saved by streamlining this broken process; avoiding the frustration felt on both sides when, after a long and stressful wait for a hospital consultation, patients were told no treatment was needed.

The value of this capability and connectivity has never been clearer than in our fight against covid-19.

At the moment primary care clinicians and paramedics are being required to make quick and critical decisions as to which patients need hospitalisation. GPs and community nurses make such decisions all the time, but what used to count as caution has now been inverted. Offering care within the community has never had such a vital role to play in keeping people safe. A hospital referral to reassure an anxious patient or err on the side of caution is no longer the safest option. That’s why we’re putting specialists in the palms of GPs hands for free.

To support primary care clinicians in triaging patients, Cinapsis connects them within seconds to consultants from their local NHS Trust, enabling them to assess patients in real time via text, voice, image or video consulting. Calls are recorded and outcomes are sent to both GP and practice, then added to a patient’s medical record. This simple process via an app means assessments can be made quickly in situ.

From acute paediatrics and respiratory medicine, to covid-19 emergency care, Cinapsis is reducing unnecessary referrals, whilst sharing the burden of responsibility between clinicians at a time when every decision to hospitalise is critical. In Gloucestershire we’ve already reduced A&E attendances 83 per cent and enabled 32 per cent of patients with covid-19 to be successfully cared for at home.

Our bespoke covid-19 solution is free for Trusts to use and can be onboarded in 48 hours. We can help by facilitating the deployment of emergency transportation, palliative care and Rapid Response teams to manage end of life care; and by enabling specialists to remotely advise GPs and paramedics on non-emergency care in the community.

We’re doing our bit to help the NHS tackle the job of their lives. As a surgeon, I understand how tough it can be. We hope that by lifting the burden on frontline teams we’re making it easier for NHS staff to do what they do best. With primary and secondary care teams connected and empowered by tech, they can focus on what’s important: providing the best possible care for the patients who need it most.

For more information and to find out how we can help, visit