General practice still struggling to adopt digital says Patient Online lead Ralph Sullivan

General practice still faces significant challenges in adopting digital tools that could help keep the system running, Dr Ralph Sullivan, clinical lead for NHS England’s Patient Online, told the Health Plus Care conference in London.

“General practice is in crisis with increasing caseloads, negligible investment and GPs leaving the sector. We need to keep general practice on its feet and IT is in a position to make a difference,” Sullivan said.

General practice is in crisis and IT is in a position to make a difference

He pointed out that 9% of practices are still unable to send or receive larger patient records. These are likely to be those relating to patients with long term or complex conditions and therefore most in need of smooth transitions through the system, making it even more Important that they can be shared.

Referring to the GP2GP system, Sullivan stressed the importance of full transfer of records, saying: “Anything less than 100% transfer is a patient safety issue.”

There are also major issues with loss of information when a practice closes down if patients do not register elsewhere quickly.

Sullivan stressed the role of Patient Online in engaging patients with the management of their conditions and supporting self-care.