Pulse Live 2014 panel discussion summary – the role of technology

Even the tube strike didn’t put GPs off attending the Pulse Live panel discussion about the role of technology in improving practice efficiency.

We were delighted to be joined by Dr Amir Hannan, Dr Shaun O’Hanlon and Dr Andrew Whiteley for what proved to be an informative discussion. The panel members gave some background about their specialisms and particular interests in technology, followed by a question and answer session.

Summary of key discussion points:

Access to online records is helping patients to build knowledge about their health and reduce the need for appointments. This includes access to online prescription ordering and information about how to manage common conditions such as back pain and hypertension    There was a question about children accessing their notes and a discussion around the challenges that poses. One of the most difficult issues is in the transition from child to adulthood. Dr Hannan discusses this on You Tube

Do CCGs want to fund technology? Most recognise value of technology but funding of IT projects does vary from area to area. Dr Andrew Whiteley explained about working with CCGs to improve practice efficiency and take up of Choose and Book. For more information see Lexacom’s website

With an ageing population, how do you bridge the gap between those who use technology and the people who need care most? We see evidence that families are helping other family members. There’s often a “health manager” within the family who may not only be responsible for managing their husband/wife and children’s health but that of their parents too.   While technology may be right for some, it’s not the answer for everyone and there needs to be alternatives to ensure people are able to access the help they need in the way they want to.

Does voice recognition work? If it’s implemented correctly then it can have major benefits. It’s a technology which is improving all the time but there is still margin for error. Its success depends on multiple factors – user’s voice, the way they speak, the local environment and background noise. It relies heavily on the accuracy of the person dictating and making sure they’re carefully check their work afterwards and doctors are not well known for doing this. Tiny differences in the sound of certain words, such as hypo and hyper, can have a significant impact if not picked up correctly. However, while it doesn’t suit everyone, there are examples where it’s working well.

What are the issues with using email to support consultations? There are real issues with security using emails. Secure messaging systems are far safer but you can’t attach images as yet – that’s something that may be being addressed. See an example of secure messaging service at the Haughton Thornley Medical Centres

Is there a plan for systems to talk to each other better? There needs to be much more integration between suppliers. This is an ongoing challenge and something we work hard to overcome (see https://www.lexacom.co.uk/our-products/lexacom-3/clinical-integration/)  There was discussion about working with all partners to help improve integration for example building links with pharmacies. Dr Shaun O’Hanlon highlighted that pharmacists are great untapped resource in healthcare – CCG’s need to include them in service redesign and managed care.

See the follow up discussion on twitter between @amirhannan and @drshaun

We would like to say a special thank you to our panel members and to the Chair, Steve Brown. Also thank you to the delegates who battled through the tube strikes to attend the event!