The Future of Primary Care | 56383

உடல்நலம் மற்றும் மருத்துவ ஆராய்ச்சி இதழ்


The Future of Primary Care

Namrata Rastogi

UThe last month saw a bull market rise in the adoption
of digital health tools by healthcare professionals to consult
with patients in Primary Care. Overnight patients
were asked not to visit their physician’s office and instead
advised to call their clinic to be triaged by telephone. Triage
swiftly progressed to video consultations along with
new ways of working to examine, diagnose and treat patients
remotely. This article highlights how telehealth has
transformed patient care and what lies ahead in the future
of Primary Care. As a Primary Care Physician or UK
General Practitioner (GP), my typical day now consists of
around thirty calls to patients. My patients are of all ages
and demographics with a range of health conditions. In
some cases, I ask my patient to turn on their camera, for
example to examine a child’s itchy rash or a plumber’s
painful knee, and in other cases, I ask them to instantly
share a photograph, like a diabetic patient’s infected toe;
all through a secure network. Using AccuRx video integrated
with EMIS Web electronic health records, I have
also visited an elderly lady at home with her daughter and
taken a young man through a guided abdominal examination
to diagnose him with gastritis. This change, from the
historical practice of seeing at least thirty patients a day in
the clinic, reflects the need to: protect both our registered
patients and the Primary Care team by reducing footfall
in the clinic, prevent avoidable transmission of Covid-19
in the waiting room and, increase access to healthcare
for high risk patients such as those having chemotherapy
who are shielding at home. Significant barriers to the
adoption of telehealth in NHS Primary Care have in the
past included: a lack of equipment such laptops and access
to secure networks remotely, a lack of training for
clinicians to carry out safe and effective remote consultations,
an unwillingness amongst healthcare professionals
to adopt new technology due to existing work pressures,
and inadequate legal protection for clinicians to practice
remotely. Leaving online consultations to innovative startups
offering direct to consumer services as well as out of
hours NHS cover. Over the past month, during the lockdown,
NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups have delivered
laptops to clinics across the UK, enabling some clinical
and admin team members to work from home. The
General Medical Council (GMC) and medical defence organisations
have also supported the transition of Primary
Care to telemedicine.