Intended Audience for this Document

This document is intended to be used by staff that have been trained how to administer Engage Consult.  It therefore makes some assumptions about the level of knowledge of the reader, in terms of their understanding of how Engage Consult works.

If nobody at your organisation has the level of knowledge required to implement this feature please get in touch using the contact details at the end of this document.  We’ll be very happy to help you.


Collaboration is a new Engage feature which allows organisations to share requests from patients with other organisations.  This will help patients to access the right care, at the right time and place that meets their needs and makes the most of valuable NHS resources.  

Organisations can choose to share requests with colleagues or groups in other partner organisations with whom they have a data sharing agreement in place.  This feature supports collaborative working in PCNs and other community  services for example; Extended Hours, community nursing teams and local pharmacies. 

When a group or colleague from another organisation is shared with your organisation you can assign requests to that group or colleague. Organisations can share and cover colleagues and groups in the same way they do for groups and colleagues at their own organisation.  This will considerably increase the value of Engage Consult within networks of practices, and with other providers.  A request can be shared multiple times, so a practice might share it with a PCN care home team, who then share it with the local frailty team.

You may also find it helpful to watch this video about the collaboration feature before you read this document.  The video explains the type of scenarios where you may find the collaboration feature helpful.

Patient Confidentiality/Consent

Implementing Collaboration requires organisations to have robust information governance procedures in place.  We recommend that before using collaboration, organisations have a data sharing agreement in place between all parties. 

At all times Engage Consult takes account of the patient’s data sharing preferences which they configured when they created their account.  They can change these at any time by logging into their account and editing their preferences in their profile.  

If a patient decides not to share their data with other healthcare organisations then only the organisation they send the request to will be able to see the request.  Should that organisation feel they need to override the patient's preference not to share their request, it can, but will be prompted to provide a reason for overriding the patient’s preference.

If you have a data sharing agreement between the parties you can add them in the Engage Client which will then override a patients data sharing decision automatically click here to find out more.

Organisations can also restrict the view of shared requests. This ensures that organisations that have sent requests to another organisation only see their requests and not those of other organisations that may have also shared requests with that group or colleague.  

For ease of example this document will just refer to Groups.  Anything shown for Groups is also applicable to Colleagues.

Step 1 - Agreement to Share

The first step is for organisations to work out what they’re going to share, and with whom.  We recommend that organisations start a dialogue with each other and create a workflow which they all agree with before they configure collaboration.  Once they’ve done that and have the appropriate governance in place they can proceed to Step 2.

Step 2 - Share Groups or Colleagues

Once you’ve decided who will share what with whom, you need to login to your Engage Management Console (  Go to Groups in the Engage Client and click Share next to the group you wish to share.

Then start typing in the organisation name or ODS code.

When you’ve selected the organisation you want to share with, you can click Restrict View if you want to, and then click Share, or just click Share if you don’t want to restrict the view.

Restricting the view means that if an organisation decides to cover a group they’ll only be able to see requests which they’ve assigned to that group.  This can be helpful, for example, if a clinical specialist has shared a group for a few organisations to assign requests to. 

If you do not restrict the view to whoever you share the group with they will be able to see all requests assigned to that group. So the requests will show in their 'All' requests folder. So this is important to do if you don't want them to see other requests from other organisations in the shared group. 

It’s helpful to leave the group unrestricted if, for example, you have a team of people at different organisations that are working as a virtual team and need to be able to manage requests that have been assigned to a group.  For example, a PCN care home team or PCN pharmacy team.

When you share the group with another organisation it will initially be shown in a grey colour.  This denotes that although you’ve shared the group, the organisation with whom you’ve shared it hasn’t accepted the share yet.  This additional step is a governance protocol which helps to minimise the risk of organisations accidentally sharing groups with the wrong organisation.  When an organisation has accepted the group you’ve shared, it will be shown in green.  You can also see that the Extended group has been shared with Camelia Surgery with no restriction, and the Admin group has a restriction (denoted by the icon shown).

To edit or remove a share with another organisation click on the organisation’s name in the list of “Shared with” organisations.  You can only edit the Restricted View property.  If you want to share a group with multiple organisations repeat the process of Sharing until you’ve shared it with all the organisations you wish to.

Step 3 - Accepting a Shared Group or Colleague

To accept a shared group, once the sharing organisation has advised you that they’ve shared the group, login to the Engage Management Console and click on External in the Engage Client section.  Find the group you want to accept the share for and click on Enable.

To stop staff from being able to assign requests to, or cover, an external group click on Disable.

Step 4 - Assigning Requests

Once the first three steps are complete, staff using the Engage client will be able to assign requests to groups which have been shared with you in the same way they can assign requests to groups in your own organisation.

Step 5 - Covering a Shared Group or Colleague

Once the first three steps are complete, staff using the Engage client will be able to cover groups which have been shared with you in the same way they can cover groups in your own organisation.

Please Note: In the first release of Engage Consult Collaboration there was a group called “Other Organisations” automatically added to the list of groups and colleagues you could see on your Messages page.  With this release of Collaboration this group has been removed and is now called “Sent Externally”.  You can cover Sent Externally if you want to see requests which are currently assigned to other organisations.

Step 6 - Monitoring Requests Sent to another Organisation

At all times if you’ve sent a request to another organisation you can view the progress of that request in the “Sent Externally” group.  You can cover this group in the same way you cover any other group.  When you view a request which has been sent externally at all times you can manage it in the same way as if it was at your organisation.

Once a request has been assigned to another organisation, that organisation will always be able to view it (even when it’s closed) in case they need to audit their activity in relation to that request.

More Information

For more information about the collaboration feature please contact our Training team