If only my office was as advanced as my operating theatre

This article first appeared on www.thefilemakers.co.uk, 3rd March 2015.

The UK’s medical industry is a complex beast; incredibly departmentalised, incredibly varied. Differences in care can be very pronounced based on geography, type of illness, whether you’re a member of BUPA or whether you rely on our brilliant NHS and everyone’s experiences differ. But, today the underlying belief is there that whatever your affliction, you’ll get the treatment you need to get better. Or at least the doctor will give it a good go.

Why is this?

The talent of healthcare professionals is a significant reason for excellence in healthcare. But those lifesaving practitioners also need help. To do their job each day, they rely on highly advanced medical technology. Be it in the chemical-synthesisation methods of the pills we swallow, or the fibre optic camera that allows diagnosis without a painful biopsy; technology and medicine are fused together. And this bond is only getting tighter.

It’s the driving force behind what classifies us as a first-world country in terms of our health service. From diagnosis, to treatment, to aftercare, technology in 21st Century healthcare is playing a vital role and it’s keeping hearts beating.

So what about the role of the General Practitioner? How is your local surgery utilising the latest technology to aid patient care?

Well, chances are it’s not… at least, not much beyond booking appointments online. Back of house, many small surgeries and one-man-band consultants are still relying on outdated paper processes, clogged up phone switchboards and pages of scruffy handwritten notes. How do we know this? Well we’ve been told by industry professionals, who have come to us to ask for help in streamlining the way they do business.

For example, an endocrinologist based between two surgeries in Hertfordshire and London recently needed help coordinating his schedule, providing information to his patients and keeping his secretary (also based in Herts) in the loop with all his engagements. Using FileMaker, we built a custom business solution that, via WebDirect, allows him to log into his system at any time, anywhere (via the internet). This has freed him to check the status of his ongoing patients, where he needs to be and when, along with any actions he needs to carry out.

The other side of the coin can also easily be catered for. We built a patient-facing service into the same FileMaker system, allowing people to log into an area of the database and check their recent test results, or what dosage of medication they should be taking. As with all personal and medical information, privacy is paramount and via the advanced security of FileMaker, patients are provided with their own bespoke portal ensuring that only they have access to their data.

Prescribe your office some rest

With so many incredible innovations happening at the frontline of the medical world, you might expect the ‘easy win’ of office admin to be absolutely slick and streamlined. Sadly it often isn’t. Day-to-day operations, and accurately conveying and interpreting information are vital to all businesses, and these elements can’t be neglected.

GPs are under increasing pressure to take on more and more work, hours are getting longer and time more precious. That’s why employing a custom software solution can help doctors and consultants work smarter, reducing admin-neglect and meaning they can get on with the things that really matter - making people better.

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