Health May 16, 2019
With sustained pressures on primary care, we must turn to digital solutions for the answer

By Andrew Gardner - Accountable Care Journal

As shown on this week’s Panorama, primary care is under immense strain across the UK. GP numbers are falling, marking the first sustained drop for 50 years. The effect is being felt by patients and GPs alike, with some patients reporting waits of up to seven weeks for a routine GP appointment and GPs on average completing eleven hour days.

According to the Nuffield Trust, the number of GPs per 100,000 people is now 60, down from nearly 65, five years ago. With such pressure, new solutions must be found to solve the problem.

For me, technology must be counted among some of the solutions that can make an immediate, beneficial impact. The use of digital apps, platforms and technologies are already helping to meet growing patient demand and reduce pressure on GP practices.

With increasingly more healthcare commissioners and clinicians looking to digital solutions, healthcare is beginning to catch up (at a very early stage) to other sectors such as retail or banking, which have led the way in embracing technology. Recent policy announcements by Matt Hancock and NHS England have been encouraging but we must keep up the pace in delivering digital transformation.

The need for digital solutions in healthcare is primarily what drove me to found Doctorlink, a digital health solution that helps people engage in their health and wellbeing. It guides them to the right care and information when they need it and reduces demand on primary care services by directing people to the most appropriate care pathway.

Over 15 per cent of patients are being recommended homecare for their treatment, who previously would have presented for a surgery appointment. It’s through changes like this, but only on a sustained, system-wide level, that we can begin to make progress towards alleviating some of the chronic issues within primary care.

Find out more about Doctorlink here.

Andrew Gardner is the founder and CEO of Doctorlink.

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