IT – the solution and a problem… Every patient deserves an examination. GPs must not be robots..

On the wall above the patient in my trainers office, in large capital letters was written “Every Patient Deserves and Examination”.

IT or Information Technology has been a great failure in the Health Services so far. There are potential benefits, and high risks.

If there are going to be too few doctors, and especially GPs they need to work smarter. New symptom checker systems could improve speed and access if used properly. What the doctor offers is a differential diagnosis, judgement in use of tests to determine the exact diagnosis, and treatment options. To achieve this he needs to Examine the Patient. If your GP never examines you he is reducing his specialist skills to those of a computer and/or robot. GPs need to retain the skills to do all appropriate examinations, including rectal and internal examinations. It could save a lot of resources if a member of each practice learned to do endoscopy and sigmoidoscopies, and another to do Ultrasound Scans. These examinations/tests would increase speed in diagnosis. Unfortunately the trend is going the other way. Male doctors in particular are not doing internals when they could help assess the possibility of ovarian/uterine causes for symptoms. They refer on, either to a colleague or a specialist and this wastes time. USS and other (CAT and MRI) investigations and out patient appointments all have waiting times…  Ray Charles has his opinion, but its not mine (Ray Charles I Don’t Need No Doctor – YouTube).

If the risks are to be addressed then the Health Services will need a team of experts, constantly trying to break in, just as the big public companies have, and insurance is another matter!

Richard and Daniel Susskind opine in the Harvard Business Review October 2016: Technology Will Replace Many Doctors, Lawyers, and Other Professionals

Mark Bridge in the Times 28th April reports: Hospitals held to ransom as state hackers step up attacks

Do you really have confidence in your records being confidential? Do Hospital Trusts have cyber insurance?

NHS data-sharing project scrapped – another opportunity missed..

Incompetents lead IT change into vast cash losses, and need to be disbanded. This is one area which should be privatised..

Increasing incompetence: Another NHS crisis looms – an inability to analyse data

Electronic Medical Records A Disappointment In The USA

Jeremy Hunt has enlisted a US professor to review the digital future of the NHS to keep it from falling into “elephant traps”

Doctors should have electronic records everywhere possible. It will reduce mistakes and litigation. GPs have been paperless for 20 years..

The Future for our Health Services

Health & Social Care Information Centre

The worried well demand more in a free service.. More information is good, it’s the perverse nature and philosophy of the health services that needs to change.

Too much technology? Its no good protesting – but it would be good to discuss exactly where spending is best directed.

Evidence basis is needed for all treatments – and confirmation by independent third party. Hospitals and pysicians collude to waste money.

How the NHS Wales wastes money on bureaucrats in non-jobs yet has lethally long waiting lists that would shame a Third World country

Ditching ineffective ways of working (Work Smarter in GP)

Symptom Checker | The one the doctors use

Image result for robot doctor cartoon






This entry was posted in A Personal View, General Practitioners, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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