Tech For GPs – What’s On The Horizon?


Technology is changing many industries for the better, so is it any wonder that it’s transforming the medical community too? New technology is being developed all the time to help provide treatments and cure diseases, but it’s also being used to improve general medical care. Could technology help benefit GPs? And how will this affect patient care?

Transforming the NHS

The new Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, has recently pledged to invest £500 million in digital technology for the NHS, a move which would “help jump start the rollout of innovative technology aimed at improving care for patients”.

It is hoped that the technology will not only help to improve patient care, but boost safety too. Among the expected improvements include digital systems for recording and storing data for better accuracy than existing paper-based systems. While the funding will help provide several benefits to medical professionals, adoption is a key factor for ensuring that GPs and patients benefit.

Technology could even enable patients to take more charge of their health from home, thanks to services such an online appointments and symptom checkers. The Government is also working with Amazon to make sure the NHS Choices website is suitable for use with voice-activated devices, to further improve digitisation.

Tech for GPs – what’s out there?

The NHS has already been working to find solutions to help improve patient care. As part of its five-year plan, it is aiming to make it easier for patients to:

  • access the help they need online,
  • improve 111 services,
  • help patients to better manage their health through apps,
  • give the healthcare industry better access to patient data as its needed.

New technology also enables patients to book video appointments through an app, GP at Hand, a move which has led to some criticism from GPs. However, it’s hoped that these types of services will enable patients to get the medical advice they need in a shorter timeframe – instead of having to deal with long waiting times, or having to take time off work to attend an appointment. Having this kind of technology in place could help doctors to diagnose problems sooner too, which in turn may improve diagnostic rates and help patients to get the urgent care they need.

This technology not only benefits those with busy lives or minor conditions, but also those for whom accessing a GP surgery can be difficult. Using technology can help people with disabilities or mobility issues to get assistance for issues that might not require a GP visit or hospital appointment.

While still very much at the beginning of its development, improvements and adjustments to this technology could have a big impact on future patient care.

GP technology – friend or foe?

There are two sides of the story when it comes to tech for GPs. GP at Hand has been criticised by some in the medical community, while others believe that the diagnostic features of the app are ‘on-par’ with a GP. Meanwhile, some argue that an app could never be a true replacement for a GP. However, many accept that the app would require a follow-up with a GP in many instances.

While tech for GPs presents a number of challenges, there are also several positives that could revolutionise patient care. As people begin to use GP at Hand from December 2018, it will be interesting to see what the effect is for both patients and GPs. In the meantime, if you’re a GP looking for a new challenge, why not consider switching to out of hours working instead? Out of hours provides a flexible working pattern, a different kind of case management and a different pace to regular GP work. Take a look at our jobs pages for the latest out of hours GP vacancies.