New technologies are fast becoming the driving force of efficiency in GP practices. When implemented with consideration, digital technologies can assist GPs to deliver consistent, high quality care, at a time when budgets are being cut and workloads are increasing.
Whitstable Medical Practice is a multi-speciality community provider and, with the technological help of HP Technology, has designed an approach to care for complex, immobile patients in their community. Very often these patients end up in hospital without seeing a GP because their health issues have escalated before a GP has been able to make it out to see them. Whitstable Medical Practice has combined mobile technology with professionals with untapped or underused clinical experience.
Six paramedic practitioners provide a home visiting service during GP surgery hours and all home visits are triaged by a GP. The paramedics carry an iPad tablet with EmisWeb, giving them access to electronic medical records as well as secondary care correspondence, medication lists and test results. They can communicate with GPs through EmisWeb messaging, working together on patient plans during surgery hours and updating medical records immediately.
Cloud technology is also allowing Whitstable to explore the potential value in sending GPs images of conditions, such as skin rashes or using videos to share evidence of symptoms, for example with respiratory distress in COPD patients. This is a relatively new project but one that could be revolutionary in decreasing the impact on A & E services.
What Whitstable Medical Group’s projects show us is that investing in innovative technology can provide huge benefits. Investment can improve efficiency, improve patient care and improve the use of skill across the NHS.
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