Pulse+IT Magazine - May 2014

Page 44

PULSEITMAGAZINE.COM.AU

044

Feature

AN IT APPROACH TO GP CARE Paper-based systems are no longer enough when it comes to the collaborative care required when caring for patients in residential aged care. GPs working in these settings should take a strategic view of their IT requirements – whether using remote access, cloud services or interacting with the facility’s clinical systems.

DR HENRY KONOPNICKI MB BS (Hons), FRCPA, MBA, BSc General practitioner henry.konopnicki@gmail.com

Contemporary primary healthcare in residential aged care facility (RACF) settings needs to be collaborative. For GP involvement to be effective, it needs to address the holistic biopsychosocial model. The ageing process involves multiple pathological pathways needing a range of health professional inputs. Therefore, rather than a reactive process, a more proactive approach is needed to support and manage physical and psychological decline. This requires multiple modalities of medical interaction resulting in a range of outputs, from consultation notes to comprehensive assessments incorporating a multitude of inputs and observations. This is further compounded by the setting being at a distant point of contact from the classic consulting room.

About the author

In order to address such an approach, the GP needs to stand aside and take a strategic view in formulating an appropriate solution to address these needs and information flows.

Dr Henry Konopnicki is a GP with a background in clinical chemistry. He is currently a member of a committee assessing use of antipsychotics in dementia. His main focus is aged care and communitybased practice utilising smart technology incorporating real-time communication with health providers, patients and their families.

Considerations need to take into account information inflows, timely access to data, the ability to record and transfer information, and the production of documentation of value to a range of stakeholders in the RACF setting.

In the context of service provision, general practice needs to consider whether hosting extensive IT infrastructure is a core activity. A paper-based solution will not be able to deliver the needed outcomes, so a digital system encompassing electronic inflows needs to be considered.

Modes of electronic access and storage In terms of system components, GPs active in providing care in RACFs need to consider the primary storage of data for real-time access. There are several modes of electronic access that GPs can look at. 1. Practice server with remote access In this model, considerations should include: IT support and access; timeliness of response; software updates, security and maintenance; back-up strategies and interruption to services. 2. Cloud-based solutions Considerations when using a cloud model include: integrity and business sustainability of provider; terms of service, ownership and access of data; support, back-up and service interruption; virtualisation and redundancy. Cloud providers also need to have niche experience and understand the needs of a medical model and timely access.


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