Trust the digital transformation of general practice

This story first appeared in the August 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Many general practitioners are still reluctant to fully embrace digital technologies in their day-to-day work, often as a result of a lack of trust in the effectiveness of IT in improving patient care. However, the RACGP is working to improve uptake of these technologies by highlighting the benefits of IT in patient care delivery.

New technologies are pivotal to the continuation of improved healthcare for all Australians. Under the current Australian healthcare system, most general practices operate as private businesses. GPs who choose to establish their own private practice recognise they often do not possess the appropriate business and technology skills to successfully manage a small business, with little education on business development and information technology provided at medical school.

In the age of a rapidly emerging digital economy, it is vital that practice principals and GPs have the right tools and resources to embrace new technologies within their practice.

The digital revolution is transforming workplaces within the healthcare sector. In general practice, the use of practice management and clinical desktop systems, the internet, eHealth and mHealth technologies have consequently increased the use of PCs, laptops, remote access devices such as smartphones and tablet devices and increased the demand for wireless (Wi-Fi) connections, resulting in widespread uptake of broadband internet and secure external data transfer.

Patient privacy, information security and clinical safety are overriding imperatives with the introduction of many new eHealth initiatives and the implementation of the national eHealth record system.

Core to digital technologies is the security, storage and retrievability of business and clinical information. Patient privacy and information security must be considered during the delivery of evidence-based care by informed and educated clinicians and the sharing of critical business and clinical information.

General practices often lack the specialist knowledge to deal with both internal and online risks.

To read the full story, click here for the August 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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