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  • Writer's pictureKen Blackie

Ready for AI...

 

Reading Rewired 2024: AI in NHS and UK healthcare ‘finally coming of age’ (digitalhealth.net) and the changing role of doctors within the system I recalled a recent study in Primary Care.


When asked, as part of the study, what concerned them about patient appointments, one GP answered that it was the patients they weren’t seeing rather than the patients they did see that worried them the most.


‘I can sometimes imagine a silent queue of patients – needing as much, if not more, attention – looking through my surgery window as I treat the person in front of me.’

Addressing capacity issues through organisational, procedural, technological or policy changes has been a focus of Primary Care for many years.  From the introduction of Primary Care Networks to the clinically designed IT systems that enable integrated care provision, decision support and data rich reporting – there has, and continues to be, dramatic strides in the capability and complexity of services provided through General Practice and Primary Care.


And now the next revolution is at our doorstep.  Artificial Intelligence has the potential to provide intelligent predictions, prevention and decision making for patients at every step of their care journey.


For that silent queue of patients highlighted by the GP - it will help identify those most at risk and bring them into the care system to be diagnosed.  For those already being treated there will be the opportunity for each step in their care to be assessed and personalized to their requirements.  Where their monitored results and conditions create a risk: AI will help identify and flag the need for clinical intervention. And for the network of resources, services and logistical and financial constraints, AI will provide the opportunity to dynamically coordinate and optimize every activity. 


In an ideal world that’s great news for the GP as the community they serve will be assessed, triaged, tracked and prioritized.  Their work will deliver more value – having the most urgent and complex cases directed towards them for their clinical expertise.

But can that ideal future be made real?  The increased administrative burden that is being put on GPs to manage all aspects of their clinical sessions is seen as a cause of burnout and a prime reason for medical students considering alternatives to full time GP roles. This is no simple goal. 


Practical solutions to new approaches must be clearly thought through and the impact on individuals and teams identified and assessed. Working collaboratively across organisations to gain consensus and support is crucial to delivering sustainable change. 

At AtScale we believe that building capacity now and preparing for an AI enabled future should be on every Primary Care Network and Integrated Care Board’s agenda.  We understand how staff across Primary Care work.  Our approach to service design is based on many years of experience managing, commissioning and reviewing Primary Care services. From diagnostic review to service design and implementation, we can help you realize the benefits of innovative new ways of working.  

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