Blue Shield of California has rolled out a new digital triage tool to assist network hospitals manage inflow of patients seeking advice on coronavirus Covid-19.

The new tool called Covid-19 Screener and Emergency Response Assistant (Covid-19 SERA) will help patients guide to the appropriate medical settings based on their health situation.

Patients can access Covid-19 SERA through their smartphones, laptops or tablets on a participating hospital’s website.

The tool will categorise patients based on their replies to a basic questionnaire. Accordingly, it will enable the hospitals to reduce burden at frontend and expedite treatment processes.

Developed by GYANT, the Covid-19 SERA service can be implemented on a hospital’s website in 48 hours.

Blue Shield will bear all the implementation costs for three months during the pandemic period.

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Blue Shield Healthcare Quality and Affordability executive vice-president Terry Gilliland said: “The tool provides relief to hospitals’ overburdened call centres and front-desk resources.

“It can direct low-acuity cases to the appropriate medical settings and provide relevant information to patients affected by Covid-19 so that they can quickly receive medical care and help curb community transmission.

“These are trying times for everyone and we believe this system can make a difference for hospitals as they do their best to provide medical care for patients.”

Blue Shield of California is a not-for-profit organisation and member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association with over four million members.