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Increasing efficiency in your practice. Part 3: DocMan

The volume of administrative tasks GPs have to carry out on a regular basis is a real problem - but one software system is aiming to alleviate some of that workload.

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

While these statistics are quite staggering there are some technological innovations designed to address the issue and free up GPs time to concentrate on the level of care they’re providing.

Going paper free

The Docman programme is an example of electronic document management software. The platform lets users electronically store, capture and track thousands of documents, while helping to coordinate the referral process. The platform also enables healthcare providers to send and receive clinical and non-clinical documentation electronically.

Completing administrative tasks is a massive strain on GPs. However, it’s thought that delivering paper-free care will enable more efficient management of important documentation, so patients’ follow-up care can also then be monitored and effectively managed.

Docman GP offers a complete electronic document management, collaboration and workflow solution, while Docman Hub is an electronic postal service to send information throughout the NHS, enabling users to share records.

The software is used in 120 NHS Trusts, at 6,000 GP practices and by 200,000 users. At the Ash Trees Surgery, Lisa Jones, the Data Team Leader, said “We have saved each of our staff around one hour a day because of the automated workflow processes we have set up across our practice.”

Ultimately, 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. Indeed, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has previously suggested the NHS should be paperless by 2018 as part of the ongoing effort to improve services.

Next week we look at how the implementation of web conferencing could create a more efficient GP practice.

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