I’m a new member of the Primary Health Care group of the British Computer Society. Last week was only my second annual meeting but it’s been going over 35 years. Strikingly it doesn’t have a geeky feel, with only one ponytail and no sandals in evidence.
The debate is all about how IT can serve the purposes of primary care, both patients and doctors. Members of the group have been influential in shaping the advances in IT which have put UK GP in the international forefront over those years. But there are concerns.
One GP complained of the endless popups on the screen, reminding him to do something for QOF, meds review and so on. Annoying perhaps, but is it worse? Suggesting an action that he felt was not in the best interests of the patient risks that fundamental requirement “first do no harm”. Because it can be done by IT, it is being done, and there’s a feeling that the GP-patient relationship is subverted to feed the beast.
The BMA and the governments of the four nations seem to agree that QOF should wither away. I want my GP thinking about my needs not the points and popups.
Now let’s reclaim IT for the right purpose. It’s not an end in itself, and must not steal the agenda from care. It’s a tool, a means to an end, not a replacement for professionals but to make their working lives easier, producing better quality care in less time.
Last week a phenomenal 297 readers clicked on the link to Neil’s back pain. I realised the huge interest in the clinical content of a patient generated history. There’s now a poll, and most GPs decided to see Neil. Here’s another one, a real patient who would have had to book 10 minutes of GP time in a traditional model: skin rash, what would you do?
Founder, Chief Executive
GP Access Ltd