Beginning 2015 do you find yourself bursting with hopes, dreams and excitement about your practice and patients?
Or is it more a feeling that you’re dragging yourself around, weary and wondering how you’ll cope?
While I’m not doing prophecies for the year, the data spewing out of NHS analysts is all about rising demand, for primary care, ambulances, A&E and admissions.
Sadly there’s a lot less on what to do about it.
The prophecy business has been promising for years that technology would ride to the rescue. NPfIT came and went, NHS111 has failed to stem the flow (ambulance calls are up 25% in 3 years), and the telehealth demonstrators have simply gobbled up money.
I think the missing link is patients.
Against the tide, in our practices we are seeing demand absolutely flat. Patients are getting great service, and not asking for more. This makes sense – they don’t invent diseases. But for the majority of practices around the country demand is still so high that more of the same just isn’t possible.
The question is, how could we enlist patients to interact online, so GP time can be more productive?
I’ve seen no evidence that patient education works: what I do see is that patients do what works for them.
We know patients want rapid access to their GP, we know they want convenience (not having to stand in the cold at 7.11am, as the Daily Mail front page pictured last Monday). They don’t want to feel anonymous, fobbed off or diverted, they want a GP they know and trust.
It’s with these principles in mind, of responsive, relational and professional primary care, that we’ve designed our askmyGP service. The patient gives a detailed history online, so the GP can make an informed decision on how to help.
Every day some 700,000 patients use its sister services in the US, over half of patients in many practices. It works because it saves time both for doctors and patients.
We’ve had huge interest already from PMCF bidders who want to innovate, need to be more efficient but stay with the traditional values of continuity of care through the local GP.
I’d be interested in the views of you and your colleagues – more here at askmyGP.uk
Happy New Year – don’t stop at hopes and dreams, do something on purpose.
Founder, Chief Executive
GP Access Ltd