Digital solutions should be introduced in every GP practice, according to an independent review.
The GP Partnership Review, chaired by practising GP Dr Nigel Watson, was tasked with looking into the challenges faced by the current GP partnership model.
The report argues that digital solutions could help support GPs and others working in primary and community care “in their roles and career choices”.
The review adds: “This must include mobile working solutions. For example, smartphones enable real-time video consultation and, if used appropriately, can help both the patient and the GP. Additionally, tablets can enable clinicians to remotely access and input into electronic patient health records.”
Interoperability also gets a mention with the review recommending that “there should be acceleration of current work to ensure universal, paperless and interoperable systems”.
It suggests practices would “would benefit from a streamlined digital platform which could be used to access and share common documents and information”.
Overall, the review concludes: “While digital solutions were not always the first solution that came to mind for those responding to the review, the current key challenges for GP partnerships are workload and workforce.
“The provision of both essential IT equipment and innovative digital services could help to lessen these pressures and allow general practice to flourish.”
Matt Hancock, who welcomed the review, also recently promised to shake up IT systems being used in GP practices via the introduction of a new framework.
The secretary of state for health and care said it would move away from having principal and subsidiary systems and instead support modularity.
The idea is to make it easier for new market entrants to provide services to primary care, so creating more openness and competition in a market currently dominated by two main providers – EMIS and TPP.