How technology will power the future of general practice

22 May 2019 Latest news

This week saw the launch of the Royal College of General Practitioners’ vision for the future of general practice, the ‘Fit for the Future’ report. Over 3,000 people - GPs, healthcare professionals, system leaders, and patients – helped developed the vision, with additional consultation from the King’s Fund.

Technology forms a core part of the vision. The report acknowledges that GPs have always been a step ahead of the wider NHS in embracing digital technology and that many emerging technologies have already been adopted by digitally-savvy practices. In an article in the Yorkshire Post of January of this year, TPP stated its support of the strategy of the Department of Health to provide the best health care IT to primary care across the NHS.

Some key elements of healthcare IT need to be;

Artificial Intelligence

The extraordinary data created by over 30 years of digital health in General Practice is a fantastic opportunity for AI. TPP has invested heavily in developing machine learning algorithms to support smart appointment scheduling, advanced cancer diagnostic decision support, personalised care pathways, and risk stratification. These tools are already in trial and will shortly be made available free of charge across the NHS.

Interoperability

NHS-mandated interoperability standards are essential for new ways of working within the NHS, especially across primary care networks. TPP is leading the way in the GP national interoperability programme and is committed to implementing structured data interoperability. Using open standards - to bring the benefits of connected care to everyone – is the most effective way to achieve this.

Apps

TPP have developed a number of new smartphone apps for both clinicians and patients. The citizen benefits from personalised support for long-term conditions, smart symptom checking, and pre-consultation triage. The patient app integrates with both Apple HealthKit and Google Fit to incorporate wearable data into the lifetime electronic health record and supports direct messaging between patients and GPs, and video consultations.

Insights & Research – Open Data

All data recorded on TPP systems is available for daily data extraction. This is already widely used across the NHS for service evaluation, risk stratification and care insights. This is also supporting the emerging LHCR requirements for research and analytics.

TPP is committed to UK health research. We provide data and support for many national research studies, for example, UK Biobank, Born in Bradford, CPRD and Public Health England. TPP’s own ResearchOne database supports ethically-approved epidemiology research, working with many of the country’s leading universities.

Education

For several years, TPP has provided a free system to assist universities with clinical informatics training. The programme starting at the University of Leeds and has grown to encompass training across many disciplines in multiple leading establishments across the country.


The RCGP report is an important reminder of how technology needs to keep developing. With increasing stresses on clinicians across the NHS estate, good technology will help ease this burden. Data needs to be available in clinical systems, for patients and be used intelligently to create tools that empower care givers across the estate.