Guest Blog by Dr Ishani Patel: The Digital Revolution in Primary Care

May 31 2018

Adopting collaborative technology accelerates the pace of change towards the goal of general practice at scale

It is currently felt within NHS primary care organisations that sustainability and meeting the demands of the ever growing and ever complex population can only be implemented if providers can deliver certain elements of it at scale. NHS England’s GP Forward View is encouraging providers to become ‘larger scale’ either through joining forces or through growth to cover larger population groups.

Primary care is undergoing a second wave of a digital revolution with the advent of online consultations as well as using technology to improve ‘back-office’ functions such as the mobilisation of clinical / locum staff across multiple sites including primary care access Hubs, GP lead A&E streaming and everyday general practice!

In 2014 through Tower Hamlets Care Group (THCG), an established federation running a hub and spoke model, I met Virginia Patania, THCG Transformation Lead, at a local practice and demonstrated the vision for workforce engagement and retention using technology and systems improvement approaches. We decided to create a central or local staff bank using a workforce engagement technology platform that multiple practices could also utilise to resource their GP workforce.

THCG invited 200 GPs into their staff bank and to use the technology. This led to tens of thousands of pounds saved for the federation as it saved on locum agency fees. Beyond this, it is worth noting the one-stop-shop ease of filling sessions centrally and ensuring CQC compliance without the hassle of collecting paperwork and references. In terms of ensuring quality this system facilitated continuity of care, as local doctors who knew the local landscape and referral pathways would fill the shifts.

“Previously staff banks have been the reserve of large organisations, and which smaller providers have not been able to benefit from, leading to duplicating effort and high agency spend. With utilising a workforce engagement technology platform, we have found that we have been able to join together and build scale, saving time and money for practices”, Ms. Virginia Patania, Transformation Partner, rated CQC Outstanding 2016.

Tower Hamlets Care Group continue to engage 200 GPs from within their digital bank, using Lantum technology to publicise available shifts for which bank GPs are prioritised. What’s more, the system has payroll and compliance document management functions, saving hours every week for management teams and improving back office efficiency.

When thinking about the shortage of GPs in England and of local evidence around population segmentation in terms of acute needs versus the management of long term conditions, and then considering seasonal variation on top of this, Lantum can offer a flexible working platform to enable meeting patient need and demand in the most flexible, cost effective approach for organisations of any size.

Adopting collaborative technology accelerates the pace of change towards the goal of general practice at scale without compromising quality. Some federations I have worked with who are less advanced in their development are finding that adopting Lantum is speeding up their journey to federating and spreading the culture of collaboration. Its a fast way to start sharing resources and a huge step towards formally joining forces.

 

Dr Ishani Patel, GP Executive Partner, Lonsdale Medical Centre, Co-founder Lantum

ishanipatel@nhs.net

ishani@lantum.com

Dr Ishani Patel is a GP partner in NW London, former RCGP e-learning fellow and QI early diagnosis lead and Co-founder of Lantum, a workforce engagement technology platform (NHS innovation accelerator programme) and she will be participating in the RCGP CIRC entrepreneur-innovation mentoring programme. @drishanipatel @wearelantum email: ishani@lantum.com

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