Empower Your Practice

Journal for Practice Managers

Digital Proficiency in Care: Skills for General Practitioners

In recent years, computer technologies have penetrated almost all spheres of human activity, including medicine. Why do we need a computer in the doctor's office?

It would seem that a large number of computer hardware and software functionality gives unlimited directions for application. The PC's functionality and the ability to optimize the doctor's work makes it an indispensable assistant in treatment. No one doubts this anymore.

Computer literacy has become a crucial skill for modern practitioners. In an office or remotely, general practice requires traditional and digital ones.

In our article today we will discuss the most common digital skills you need to become a salaried GP and adapt to the digital age. Moreover, we will give you a brief guide on how to become a GP and provide you with the necessary skills and competencies you need.

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How to Become a General Practitioner?

To become a specialist employed by the NHS you have to come through many stages of GP training.

GP salaries range from £60,455 to £91,228

First, you must complete a 4-6-year medical school program to receive a medical degree. To get enrolled in a school, you need to pass A level exams with three A passes.

Once a medical student is the lucky owner of a degree, his next step is a foundation training programme which usually takes up to 2 years. The programme gives you foundational skills and knowledge by providing placements in different medical specialties, including primary care, hospital settings, and community-based clinics.

After foundation training comes specialty training. Future GP must register with the Royal College of General Practitioners and spend the next 3 years undergoing a structured curriculum that covers clinical skills, diagnostic abilities, patient management, communication, and leadership.

Upon successfully completing the specialist training and passing the Applied Knowledge Test and Clinical Skills Assessment, a postgraduate gains the Certificate of Completion of Training.

To receive it, you must apply to the General Medical Council (GMC) and the RCGP. This certificate gives you the right to practice as a GP or start your own practice.

Technical GP Skills

Before diving into the digital era, let's review the skills that every good GP practice should possess. Here are some of the key technical skills GPs possess:

  • Clinical examination to inspect various body systems
  • Diagnostic skills to diagnose and differentiate common medical conditions
  • Medical procedures (wound suturing, minor surgeries, biopsies, casting and splinting, injections)
  • Prescribing and medication management to prescribe medications appropriately
  • Point-of-care testing to aid in diagnosis and management of certain conditions
  • Clinical documentation to maintain accurate and comprehensive medical records
  • Communication skills and problem-solving to explain medical conditions, treatment plans, and preventive measures clearly and empathetically
  • Time management to see an established number of patients and not burn out

Continual learning and professional development to stay up-to-date with the latest medical advancements, treatment guidelines, and evidence-based practices.

Along with these technical skills, GPs also need strong critical thinking abilities, empathy, and a patient-centered approach to provide comprehensive care.

What Problems Can Software Solve?

Healthcare professionals working in different specialties require the technical skills listed above.

But the GP is nearly always the first medical professional who sees a patient, listens to him and documents his complaints. Modern software can serve a specialist well if properly implemented and used.

Medesk helps automate scheduling and record-keeping, allowing you to recreate an individual approach to each patient, providing them with maximum attention.

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So, what tasks can be solved using software?

  • Save all information about the patient's visit in the database for further dynamic observation
  • Using ready-made templates to save doctors' time and standardize descriptions of conditions and studies
  • Create unified information networks, from local to large-scale global systems

And these are just some of the obvious advantages. Telemedicine is spreading more and more widely. This allows remote rural outpatient care centers and the largest scientific centers, metropolitan and district hospitals, scientific centers of different countries to connect into a single network.

Digital Skills for Perfected Work Experience

In today's digital age, GP benefits from acquiring various digital skills that enhance his medical practice and patient care. Here are some essential digital skills for GPs.

#1. Electronic Health Record (EHR)

You should be proficient in using electronic health record systems to document patient information, access medical history, order tests, and prescribe medications electronically. These include navigating EHR platforms efficiently and maintaining patient confidentiality and data security.

electronic health record png

#2. Telemedicine and virtual consultations

Telemedicine platforms and technologies provide remote consultations and virtual care. You should understand how to conduct video or audio consultations effectively, assess patients remotely, and utilize teleconferencing tools.

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#3. Health information technology

Health information technology systems, including practice management software, medical billing systems, and online appointment scheduling platforms have become an everyday part of health services workflow. A proficient use of these tools streamlines administrative tasks and improves efficiency.

gp schedule png

#4. Medical research and evidence-based medicine

You should be skilled at navigating medical databases, search engines, and online research tools to access up-to-date medical literature and evidence-based guidelines. Databases such as PubMed, the Cochrane Library, and clinical practice guidelines help make informed treatment decisions. Analyzing big data in medicine may be beneficial.

#5. Health apps and wearable devices

The latest health apps and wearable devices available to patients must be in your control zone. Understanding how to interpret and utilize data from wearable devices can provide additional insights into patient care.

#6. Online continuing health education

Learn about digital platforms offering online courses and resources. These platforms provide opportunities to stay updated on the latest medical advancements, guidelines, and research, allowing you to develop continually.

#7. Data security and privacy

A proficient GP has a thorough understanding of data security practices, patient privacy regulations (such as HIPAA compliance), and how to protect sensitive patient information when using digital tools and platforms.

If you believe that your technical and digital knowledge is enough, you can try a vacancy as a locum or self-employed online GP working full or part time.

What Does an Online Practitioner Do?

Online practitioners deliver healthcare services, diagnosis, treatment, and advice to patients using digital tools.

Online practitioners consult patients using video conferencing, audio calls, or secure messaging platforms. They assess patients' medical conditions, discuss symptoms, review medical history, and provide medical advice or treatment plans.

They can prescribe medications electronically, if appropriate and necessary. Not only that, but they consider the patient's history, symptoms, and any relevant medical information to determine the best treatment options.

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In addition to diagnosis and treatment, online practitioners play a crucial role in patient education, counseling, and health promotion. They offer information about managing health conditions, lifestyle modifications, preventive measures, and answer patients' questions.

If necessary, they make referrals to appropriate specialists or healthcare facilities for further evaluation or specialized care.

Online providers' specific roles and responsibilities may vary depending on the healthcare system, regulations, and the type of virtual practice they are engaged in.

However, if you’d like to try this career opportunity, you should be ready to provide quality healthcare remotely, ensuring patient safety and promoting accessible healthcare services.

We hope you have received all the necessary information about GP skills to work successfully in modern realities.

If you still have questions, visit our blog!

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