GPs should embrace new technologies to save time and get answers more quickly

While the practice of medicine is still very much in the hands of trained professionals in surgeries, doctor offices, and hospitals, technology is making its way into the hands of patients and, in some cases, helping the system.

Technological advancements have been crucial to medical professionals' ability to diagnose and treat almost every condition under the sun. However, it seems that there's now a turning of the tide, with patients in some cases gaining access to technology able to help diagnoses before they even enter a medical practice.

Technology will continue to be utilised by medical practices, with a shift to the cloud by the NHS seeming like the next big step. Now, with publicly accessible technologies and services becoming more readily available, tech can help both doctors and patients. This can primarily be looked to on the ground, with tech that can potentially help GPs and patients both save time and find answers much more quickly. As such, the following technologies could be embraced by GPs.

The potential time saving of doctor apps

Mobile apps that connect patients to doctors via messaging and video conferences have existed in the United States for several years – mainly because there’s so much money and so many billable expenses in the US health industry. These ‘telemedicine’ apps are becoming available in the UK and could help the patient-GP relationship a great deal.

Provided that the apps have a strong level of screening in place – such as through the use of tick-box questions on entry to determine the necessity of a call or other actions – and a schedule is established, video calls as appointments with doctors could save both parties time. Walking to and from waiting rooms, waiting on patients to arrive, and travelling to and from surgeries could all be greatly reduced. Equally, a different team could be established to act as a helpful filter for such calls. The app Lemonaid has a US-based medical team at the ready to follow up with questions and send out medicine to users.

Then there's also the potentially game-changing NHS Track and Trace app. The app emits low-level Bluetooth signals which record an anonymous ID of anyone which they have come into close proximity with. So, if the person is diagnosed with the virus, the app will automatically send out a message to inform others that they've been close to someone with the virus and should self-isolate. This kind of technology and its necessary adoption by the public could have tremendous implications for the future of identifying the spread of contagious diseases, saving doctors a lot of time with people knowing if they've come into contact with the pathogen or not.

Uncovering the possibility of existing conditions

There’s a reason why doctors ask patients if their family has a history of any diseases: because it could mean that the patient is predisposed to the condition themselves. Many need-to-know conditions can be passed down and lay all-but dormant until later life. Knowing about the potential of the condition sooner can help patients mitigate the risk of the condition developing and help GPs diagnose and treat them early on.

In light of this, services that were formerly purely for the recreational purposes of discovering one’s ancestry have become potentially very useful tools for patients to use and GPs to suggest. There are many DNA testing kit services which utilise cutting-edge technologies to unlock a person's heritage. For example, according to the in-depth review of 23 and me, you can get a comprehensive health and ancestry review with one of the company's DNA testing kits.

Patients willing to explore their DNA via such testing services could help GPs obtain a much clearer picture of any potentially inherited conditions that the patient may have much more quickly. This can be helpful at any stage, with it being found early on to help guide a patient’s plans to mitigate the problem, or when the patient is unwell to potentially offer a quick diagnosis.

Medical technology, or rather, publicly accessible medical technology can be very helpful to patients and GPs, particularly when it comes to one of the most critical factors: time.