Signpost AI

What is Signpost AI?

Signpost AI shows messages to patients when they submit a request that may be more appropriately dealt with by themselves or another health care provider. There are three types of signpost message:

  1. Emergencies: Patients submitting a request that could be a medical emergency are shown the 'Emergency signpost message' and advised to call 999 or go to A+E.
  2. Urgent OOH: Patients submitting a request that could be medically urgent on a weekday outside 08:00 to 18:00, or on a weekend or bank holiday, are shown the 'Urgent OOH signpost message' and advised to call 111 or go to 111.nhs.uk.
  3. Non-urgent: Patients submitting a non-urgent health problem request are shown the 'Non-urgent signpost message', which aims to support self-care or the use of other non-urgent care providers, such as pharmacies or opticians.

Each message may show up to five information links from NHS.uk to provide further context and detail to the patient. After seeing the signpost message, patients have the option to either cancel their request or continue to submit it to your practice:

  • Cancelled messages are still viewable by the patient in their 'My requests and messages' page. You can also view them at any time in your 'Cancelled' inbox..
  • Submitted messages come into your Unassigned inbox (or Clinical inbox if you have Assign AI switched on) as normal.

When you see a signpost message you able able to provide feedback on each information link shown to the patient and the appropriateness of the signpost message overall.

By default, Signpost AI does not block patients from submitting requests, even in potential medical emergencies. If patients choose to override Signpost AI messages and continue to submit their request to your GP practice, they agree to do this ‘at their own risk’.

You can change this setting by unticking 'Enable patient override for urgent / emergency requests' in your 'Feature settings' tab. In this situation, when patients see an emergency or urgent out of hours Signpost AI message, they can only cancel their request – there is no option for them to submit their request to your practice at their own risk. Based on the experience of NHS Digital and research evidence, this introduces new clinical risks. Patients who would have previously overridden the message may now:

  1. Submit another request with different answers so it is not picked up by Signpost AI as urgent or emergency. This is a risk because you will not know the patient’s true symptoms.
  2. Telephone your practice causing queues and creating delays in care for both themselves and others
  3. Not seek care at all.

Because of these new clinical risks, this feature is currently only available to practices on request.

Signpost AI video

What is the Emergency signpost message?

Based on the information you have entered, you may need emergency medical help. If this is a medical emergency you should cancel this request and call 999, or go to your local A&E immediately. Click the links below for information from the NHS related to your query. (Please note, some may not be relevant.)

  • NHS.uk link 1
  • NHS.uk link 2
  • NHS.uk link 3...

If Signpost AI messages can be overridden:

Would you still like to submit your request to your GP practice at your own risk? [If OOH: Please note, your GP practice is currently closed and will not see your message until they are next open. Their opening hours are 9am till 5pm Monday - Friday.]

[No, I will call 999 or go to A&E] / [Yes, I would still like to contact my GP practice at my own risk]

If Signpost AI messages are mandatory:

Your cancelled request will not be reviewed by your GP practice. Do not go back and submit another request giving different answers. This is because your GP practice won’t know your true symptoms, and your request may not be dealt with quickly enough or with the right treatment you need, which could result in your injury or death.

[Cancel request]

NB these are example opening hours - your practice's actual opening hours will always be displayed.

What is the Urgent OOH signpost message?

Based on the information you have entered, you may need urgent medical help. If you need urgent medical help you should cancel this request and call 111, or go to 111.nhs.uk immediately - because your GP practice is currently closed. Click the links below for information from the NHS related to your query. (Please note, some may not be relevant.)

  • NHS.uk link 1
  • NHS.uk link 2
  • NHS.uk link 3...

If Signpost AI messages can be overridden:

Would you still like to submit your request to your GP practice at your own risk? Please note, your GP practice is currently closed and will not see your message until they are next open. Their opening hours are 9am till 5pm Monday - Friday.

[No, I will call 111 or go to 111.nhs.uk] / [Yes, I would still like to contact my GP practice at my own risk]

If Signpost AI messages are mandatory:

Your cancelled request will not be reviewed by your GP practice. Do not go back and submit another request giving different answers. This is because your GP practice won’t know your true symptoms, and your request may not be dealt with quickly enough or with the right treatment you need, which could result in your injury or death.

[Cancel request]

NB these are example opening hours - your practice's actual opening hours will always be displayed.

What is the Non-urgent signpost message?

Would you like to see information from the NHS that could help you resolve your query?
(You will not lose your place in the queue when reading the information, and will still be able to submit your request if the information does not help.)

[Yes / No]

[If Yes...]

Click the links below to see the information. (Please note, some may not be relevant.)

  • NHS.uk link 1
  • NHS.uk link 2
  • NHS.uk link 3
  • NHS.uk link 4
  • NHS.uk link 5

Would you still like to submit your request to your GP practice? [If OOH: Please note, your GP practice is currently closed and will not see your message until they are next open. Their opening hours are 9am till 5pm Monday - Friday.]

[No, this information has resolved my query] / [Yes, I would still like to contact my GP practice]

NB these are example opening hours - your practice's actual opening hours will always be displayed.

What are the benefits of Signpost AI?

The aim of Signpost AI is to help patients get help from the most appropriate place sooner. This can improve patient safety and relieve workload on your GP practice.

How does Signpost AI work?

Signpost AI uses predictions from Urgency AI to determine the urgency of the patient request. It then searches for the most relevant pages on NHS.uk to present to the patient based on their request.

Providing feedback on Signpost AI

You can provide feedback on Signpost AI in three different ways to improve the quality of its future messages to patients:

1. The appropriateness of the signposting message. If you think the patient was correctly shown a signposting message (e.g. they were correctly advised to go to A+E or to self-care) then click the green 'thumb up' icon. If you think they were incorrectly shown a signposting message (e.g. advised to self-care when they should have spoken to a GP, or advised to go to A+E for a self-care condition) then click the red 'thumb down' icon.

2. The relevance of each individual NHS.uk information link. Click the green 'thumb up' icon if you think that particular NHS.uk information link was relevant to the patients' query, and click the red 'thumb down' icon if you think it wasn't.

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3. Triage decision. When answering the question ‘Ideally, who do you think should havedealt with this message?’ you can choose the most appropriate outcome e.g. patient themselves, pharmacist, OOH service, or A&E / 999.

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