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How can GPs use technology to boost productivity?

GPs in England are currently spending 11% of their time on administrative tasks according to a recent report by the Primary Care Workforce Commission. If just half of these were handed to other staff, it would free up the equivalent of 1,400 GPs every year.

As well as the burden of admin, other research by Citizens’ Advice shows that GPs are having their consultation time taken up by patients increasingly raising social related issues such as relationships, housing and work.

It’s a big problem for the NHS, with more than 1 in 3 GPs feeling that their workload is simply unmanageable – despite 9 out of 10 regularly working beyond their normal hours. Worryingly, a massive 93% of GPs say that this workload pressure negatively affects the care they provide.

While there’s no straightforward solution, here’s our take on how technology can go some way to boosting productivity in the practice.

Video consultations

Video consultations enable GPs to consult with patients over a secure online video call, making health advice and support more accessible than ever. Patients can literally access a consultation anywhere, any time, on any device. This represents a significant step towards easing the pressure on an already busy waiting room as it allows patients to speak to their GP, regardless of location, with a touch of a button or swipe of a screen.

Text message services

Now appointment reminders and even test results can be delivered straight to the pockets of patients. For example, instead of patients booking appointments to receive results from non-urgent blood tests, they can be sent a text message telling them if they need a prescription or a follow-up blood test. In the future this could potentially be rolled out to include ultrasound scans and X-rays.

Digitisation of patient records

Digitising medical records can offer some important benefits to GPs as well as having a direct impact on improving patient care. Using digital records can enhance efficiency at practices because a patient’s notes will always be available immediately, with all of their clinical information held in one place. The government’s vision is that patients themselves will eventually have full access to their own digital records.

Ultimately, applying the right innovations can improve the patient experience but, beyond that, it can also help make life much easier for GPs and practice staff alike.

To find out more about the statistics and solutions around creating a more productive practice take a look at our infographic.

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