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Is this the GP practice of the future?

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The GP practice is catching up with technology. EHR records will connect practices, hospitals and consultants like never before. Patients will be given the opportunity to interact with their medical records, putting people in control of the own health and care. But how will the practice of the future look, and how will patients be able to interact with their records and take control of their own care?

Wearable technology will provide real-time interaction

Wearable technology, like the Fitbit, is increasing in popularity. While the 'number of steps' figure is questionable, they certainly give wearers an idea of calorie burn, sleep patterns, and heartrates. As the technology's deficiencies are ironed out, there will be opportunities for GPs to remotely monitor patient health. In-house systems could be set up to alert the doctor of abnormalities. Doctors will have a greater knowledge of a patient's actual daily activity, rather than rely on what the patient wants them to know!

Virtual appointments will become the standard

An appointment with the doctor disrupts lives. It means time off work, travelling and parking. In the future, the traditional appointment is likely to be increasingly replaced by virtual appointments. Video technologies like Skype make it easy to connect for initial appointments – time and disruption are reduced.

Easier access to these technologies will allow doctors to deal with minor ailments more easily, though you will need to remain vigilant about the rules that govern photography and remote consultations in the practice.

Waiting rooms will disappear

The waiting room is a place where ailments are transferred, patients get impatient, and frustrations flow. The patient experience will start sooner – earlier screening in the appointment process will streamline appointments. Technology will enable the patient to conduct their own blood pressure test, for example. Results will be automatically transferred to EHR records, and available for the doctor's consultation immediately. Actual time in the treatment room will be reduced.

The waiting room will still exist, but technology allows it to become an integral part of the appointment process.

Patients will interact with their health records

As the use of EHR increases and GP websites get smarter, patients will be able to access their own health records through dynamic portals. This will enable patients to enter more detail on their own charts – lifestyle, alcohol intake, etc. Questions with drop-down menus will standardise records, and make it easier and faster for patients to add required information.

GP practice transformation

Technology could transform your GP practice in the next ten years. We could see:

  • Wearable devices that connect to EHR
  • A streamlined waiting room in which patients begin their appointment experience immediately
  • Virtual appointments that reduce time and cost for the GP practice and patient
  • Patient interaction will transform the way they take responsibility for their own care and better inform GPs before consultations

How will you embrace technology? What training might staff need to take advantage of new technologies? And what about your patients – how will you 'educate' them to use GP practice technology to their advantage?