- 3 mins read
During the pandemic, patients had to isolate themselves from their GPs due to the lockdown which led to a big change in the ways patients received care. Some of these changes are still being utilised by GPs and patients in post-pandemic times. Communication technology helped people stay connected during the pandemic and it did the same for GPs and their patients. Remote consultations were always available, but during the pandemic, the number of patients using this option shifted from thousands to millions in less than a month. There is a program that continues to help thousands of patients and GPs manage remote consultations realistically and safely, that program is askmyGP. askmyGP is an NHS-approved remote consultation supplier that took things to the next level. askmyGP ensures that all triage and treatment decisions are not automated diagnoses made by AI, but are clinical decisions made by professionals in the practice. GPs can retain control over their opening times and availability which manages patient expectations and keeps GP work expectations realistic. askmyGP also has patient identity management, allows secure communication, continuity management, and prioritises patient demands and cases. askmyGP has a network management feature that connects care providers to the wider healthcare economy for referrals. Tools and developments like this are a natural step in the evolution of general practice and the pandemic greatly accelerated the utilisation of tools like this.
The pandemic has hit the healthcare sector hard and left the nation with the biggest backlog of patients in recorded history. The backlog will keep medical and healthcare professionals extremely busy for years while patients on the ever-expanding waiting list slowly get the care they need. The backlog has led to a dramatic rise in the demand for GPs as the nation turns to its healthcare providers to aid the NHS in tackling the long list of patients on the waiting list. Demand has risen so high that there are not enough GPs to fill every available position. Newly qualified GPs are finding work faster than ever. This sounds good thing in theory but, there are a lot of drawbacks that are weighing down on GPs across the country. The two biggest concerns faced by GPs is the hefty workload and demanding expectations. GPs across the country are struggling with staff absences, burnout, and a seemingly endless list of patients to tend to every day. These pressures are a big part of general practice and the healthcare sector in a post-pandemic world. Now more than ever the future relies on the dedication of GPs and encouraging young medical students to pursue careers in general practice.
The future of general practice is paved by technological developments and the utilisation of patient data. Much like how askmyGP has changed how patients and GPs interact, more developments could revolutionise the future of general practice in a post-pandemic landscape, they are point-of-care testing (POCT) and digital data collection. POCT is defined as medical testing done at or near the point of care. During the lockdown, the point of care for most patients was their own home due to the restrictions on movement enforced by the lockdown. A major advantage to POCT is its ability to produce fast and accurate results for patients without the need for a laboratory. POCT has also been shown to positively influence patient satisfaction and patient compliance thanks to the convenience and accuracy of POCT devices. The development of POCT technology can lead to equipment that can run more in-depth tests on patients and increase the accuracy and detail of patient data that can be collected without the need of a lab. In this way, POCT may be able to revolutionise how GPs can diagnose and administer treatments to patients. POCT may be a major influencer in collecting patient data, but what we can do with the data it collects relates to the next big breakthrough for GPs. Digital data collection, personalised patient care and utilising real-world data are all contributing to the rapid development of a new and improved healthcare landscape. Creating a central data system that not only stores patient data from GPs and patient records, but also stores data gathered by POCT devices would maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of GPs. Having access to patient data that is both accurate and regularly monitored is why many believe POCTs, and digital collection is the future for GPs.
In a post-pandemic world, there is a lot that GPs need to tackle, but with the new technology on the horizon, the future looks bright for GPs and their ability to help patients stuck in the backlog receive the care they need and reduce the waiting list.