Our local health centre is seriously under strain. A number of local GP surgeries have closed as doctors have retired and, with more houses being built an no additional infrastructure being put in, there’s a few battered portacabins and an engaged tone when you call up.
In 2017, it’s pretty ridiculous. We’ve covered Push Doctor before as a way to get an appointment with a doctor online. Whilst it’s something you shouldn’t really have to pay for and it won’t be your local doctor, it’s a great alternative to being stuck on the phone trying to get through to your local GP at 8AM.
Seeing your doctor via a video link, on your mobile? It’s all very modern and there isn’t much in today’s world that hasn’t gone mobile.
However, if you do get to your local surgery it can often be a shocking mess of paperwork and filing cabinets. You seem to need a piece of paper for everything. A form for this, a form for that.
Luckily, in some areas, things are starting to change. The change is at a different pace depending on where you are in the world and whether you pay for private health care, but inside some surgeries there’s a new world of mobile technology helping out.
Using a smartphone or tablet, health care professionals can now access a mobile-friendly EHR system to quickly and easily attain information about a patient. An EHR is an electronic health record. It’s a digital version of your traditional patient paper chart. No need to file, update and replicate – all changes are updated in real-time and there’s the ability to send an email to follow-up with a patient afterwards. Plus, unlike an experience I had (it now seems to take two days to get a prescription sent through at my new surgery) a prescription can be sent out digitally.
Getting those records online, and securely accessible, means that health professionals can instantly see and update your records. They can also keep in touch with each other via secure messaging. This is a great benefit to you, the patient, and means that you get a more comprehensive level of care.
Other benefits include the ability for the doctor or nurse to update your records on the move via a
mobile app. A tablet can also be used, and emails, prescriptions and patient information can be available in a truly portable system. In theory this should free up more time to focus on patient care.
Along with efficiency and time saving, it will also mean lower costs due to the reduction of administration and filing. No shelves needed, no filing cabinets and time-wasting as staff try to locate and retrieve highly confidential and important paperwork.
There really is an app for just about anything these days and healthcare is no different.
Here a few ways you can use apps to improve patient care:
Access clinical reference tools.
Follow-up with patients.
There is also a multitude of health-tracking apps that you can recommend to your patients in order to help them take ownership of their own well-being.
Apps can help patients:
Track what they’re consuming.
Monitor general fitness.
Whether the NHS will push ahead with this in our local surgery soon is another matter. They seem to be stuck in the 1980’s there, with no electronic appointment systems and paper-based filing. Going mobile and using secure applications would mean a more productive and streamlined system which would free up staff to assist those in need.