Is technology ruining the GP's surgery?.

  spuds 11:44 AM 22 Jun 13
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No links just a curious question on this seemingly quiet Saturday morning.

There are many complaints about overworked GP's and perhaps other people of professional status, but modern technology was or is suppose to take care of all that.

Yet why is it that the people who are suppose to benefit are finding it more difficult?

  Chronos the 2nd 12:23 PM 22 Jun 13

Not related to GP but my health board spent seven and a half million on a Internet-based Healthcare Information System, this one Trakcare. Installing PC's and necessary connections and peripherals and yet it is under used by some 70% according to a freedom of Information question I posed. And this system cannot talk other systems used by different professions within the hospital.

The reason I posted the FOI in the first place is I needed to get a copy of my records and on receipt I realised that there was d=so much I could not read or understand due to poor handwriting which I though that in the 21st century was inexcusable and then it occurred to me in all the time had spent in many different rooms in hospital whilst undergoing treatment or cancer I never ever saw a computer on let alone used.

My own GP has all records now computerised and mine go back to when I first came to Scotland in 1974. He was telling me of a couple who moved from France who bought the complete medical history on a USB drive. If you change doctors in this country it can take weeks for your medical history to be transferred,so in my surgery technology has improved my practice. I might add I can order my repeat prescriptions online and I also get a couple of text reminding me of appointments. Most useful.

  chub_tor 13:11 PM 22 Jun 13

Is technology ruining the GP's surgery? - certainly not at the surgery I attend (rarely I am glad to say). My biggest gripe is the delay between the booked time and actually seeing the doctor himself. Getting an appointment is straight forward over the phone, although this may mean a wait of 2 weeks to see your doctor of choice, but it is after arrival at the surgery when the problem always occurs. No matter what time I have been given I have never been seen on time, the minimum over due time is 20 minutes and on my last appointment I walked out after waiting an hour past my appointed time. I did inform the desk staff that I could wait no longer and they apologised by saying "the doctor is running late". When I pointed out that they could have told me that when I booked in they just looked at me blankly.

I subsequently wrote to my doctor and suggested several methods of advising patients when delays were occurring so that action could be taken by me to inform others expecting to see me but I never had a reply. Technology could easily be employed using electronic notification but not in deepest Devon it would appear.

  Chronos the 2nd 13:28 PM 22 Jun 13

Whereas I respect what you say chub_tor concerning delayed appointment times I do sympathise with doctors because it was decided, way back when, and by whom, I know not, that 10 minutes was more than enough time for a consultation. This 10 minutes is invariably not long enough particularly if you are a little older and have several ailments,medical problems, to be treated.

I myself when being treated for cancer had many extreme side effects and the oncology clinic where I had my treatment did not want to know and their manta was, any problems see your GP. Now I have an excellent GP and very supportive medical practice but I was aware that I was taking up far more time than my allotted 10 minutes but sometimes or rather quite often I needed more time to explain the difficulties I had been having. So if I have to wait 10/20 or even 30 minutes to see my GP then that seems more than reasonable.

  spuds 13:30 PM 22 Jun 13

Going on technology, my regular hospital visits to different departments for different things, I still notice how Windows XP logos are still in abundance.

The GP practise I have used or been registered to since 1968 have recently been going through a change of three new GP's, replacing the previous resigned or retired four GP's. Even the reception staff have had a fairly noticeable makeover with new replacements. Now whether these younger new members to the team are bringing in new modern ideas, I wouldn't really know, I haven't asked yet. Booking yourself in for appointments as been introduced, but you still need to speak to the reception staff to get an appointment in the first place.

Going to my local ENT department recently for an MOT, I was greeted with a large sign with a monitor nearby, telling people that they must now book-in themselves on arrival for their appointment. Only problem, I was unable to book myself in, and asking at reception, was informed "the system doesn't work, they are still trying to get it to work- name please and time of appointment". No mention in the area of the monitor, the system wasn't working, but I suppose the instructions like fine on entry.

  spuds 13:41 PM 22 Jun 13

The GP practise I use, had a few clear signs that stated "Patient, please be patient, the doctor is busy". Those signs have since been taken down.

The practise also as a 10 minute consultation period, and anything that may take longer as to be a double booking for 20 minutes (supposedly maximum).

Hospital appointments can be a total different thing, depending on who you see and for what. My ENT hospital department seems the worse for delays and crowded waiting areas.

  wee eddie 14:23 PM 22 Jun 13

I have to admit that I am all in favour of the development of IT within the Medical Profession.

In my case my Practice's, Post Employment, Specialist used an On-Line Questionnaire to identify the possibility/probability that I had a mild form of Asperger's Syndrome. Although, at 61 and about to retire, there was little point in attempting any remedial action (apparently there's not much possible, anyway), it has allowed me to make adjustments to the way I live and react to those around me.

I'm now 67 and, using some of the recommended coping tactics, have managed to mend a number rifts caused by my past misunderstanding of other people's actions and I have generally managed to become more outgoing. I have even been away on a Residential Course without having to overcome feelings of abject terror.

  Bing.alau 14:46 PM 22 Jun 13

The surgery I attend has a computerised booking in system on arrival. It works well, and informs patients how far behind the doctor is running. I've never seen it say that the doctor is ahead of schedule or even on time.

I have a big list of my conditions typed out for when I go to the doctor, it takes about nine minutes for him to read the list and then he picks one out which he then types out a prescription for. Sometimes I inform him which one should have priority.

Up until about six months ago I always booked with my favourite German Frau doctor, she would even phone me now and again to ask how I was doing and if I wanted anything. However because her husband was working for the Coastguard and was made redundant the whole family moved to New Zealand. So telephone consultations are now out. She was typically efficient as most Germans are. She used to laugh at my attempts to explain my symptoms in German. I got on famously with the whole family.

Now I find that there seems to be about five or six doctors working at the surgery and most of them are foreigners. One I can't even understand. Ah well.

  bumpkin 15:06 PM 22 Jun 13

As you enter my local GPs there is a monitor with a notice "Touch Screen to Arrive" you are meant to enter your DOB then wait your turn. Having waited some time I asked the receptionist jokingly if I had arrived. No she replied seriously, you have not arrived, I will arrive you now but you have now arrived too late for your appointment.

Like something from Monty Python but they did see me.

  bumpkin 15:27 PM 22 Jun 13

ON another occassion an elderly guy went to reception saying he had come to see his doctor and was told that he needed to "arrive"

"I am here aren't I"

"No I mean on the computer" she said

"I have to see a doctor not bugger about with that thing"

  Forum Editor 16:00 PM 22 Jun 13

Far from ruining the GP's surgery, technology has made it possible for doctors to manage the huge amount of admin that's associated with running a busy medical practice these days.

In 1966 the maximum number of patients allowed on a GP practice list was 2000. Today the average is 1600, but many doctors have over 3000 on their list, and some as many as 9000. With a vastly greater number of treatments and diagnostic tests available to them GPs need to have the time to keep up to speed, and without the aid of technology that just wouldn't be possible.

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