Case study

Helping eConsult scale its digital health offer


eConsult is a digital health company created by four GP partners to give NHS patients remote access to GPs through online consultations. The business has grown at pace and is now live in over 2,500 NHS GP practices and 10 emergency departments across the UK.

eConsult services benefit GP surgery patients as well as practice surgery doctors and administration staff Opencast has helped eConsult at key points during its growth – including during the pandemic lockdown, and more recently as it has grown and developed its service offer.


Rising demand for online consultations

The eConsult service proved invaluable to GP practices during Covid because of the restrictions on direct face-to-face GP consultations.

The lockdown saw a huge growth in the use of the eConsult digital health platform as NHS GPs shifted to remote consultation, allowing doctors to manage care without bringing patients into their practices. Demand for online consultations increased tenfold to 1.2 million per month by February 2021 – so eConsult required a significant restructuring of its technical architecture.

econsult logo in black


Opencast helps boost capability and capacity

Opencast has worked as an eConsult partner, sharing knowledge and increasing capability. The work has been key to eConsult scaling up, bolstering and improving delivery speeds in GP patient services.

eConsult embedded a team of Opencast consultants in agile scrum teams to accelerate the development of eConsult’s digital products. Software development expertise added specific skills in AWS Cloud, Java and microservices.

Opencast facilitated changes to eConsult’s ways of working that would benefit both eConsult and its service users. We also suggested organisational changes to improve the ways eConsult developed its software.

eConsult has followed a core Opencast principle of putting user needs at the heart of the process. Its office location above a GP practice has provided a live laboratory below to do user testing and iterate its services.

Colour photo of man sitting at desk facing the camera
eConsult chief executive Murray Ellender


Improved experience for surgeries and patients

With Opencast support, eConsult was able to improve its processes - and in turn help GP practices offer easier consultations to their patients. It also helped to ease pressures on GPs hours by introducing greater efficiency into the system.

The change also enabled eConsult’s management, development team and UX team to have clear requirements and expectations. We helped improve the resilience and stability of the eConsult platform through work on the cache service. This ensured heavier loads to improve performance for peak times between 8am and 10am. 

There was no unplanned downtime over the key few months of the pandemic as lockdown changed how NHS general practice handled care.

The eConsult business more than doubled the number of practices using its platform during the first few weeks of the pandemic. Monthly online consultations went up tenfold from 120,000 in February 2020 to 1.2m a year later.

The input of the Opencast team was key to eConsult’s success in managing this significant scale up – and we have supported the business during since during further periods of development.

Throughout Opencast's work, our presence and processes have been key to eConsult delivering services that work for patients in both GP and in its new product in emergency settings.


NHS practices


Monthly consultations


emergency departments

Opencast has been a key part of our journey as we've grown and scaled the business. We have some of the Opencast team with us again now, and it’s working really well.

Murray Ellender, chief executive